If it is really true, as Ralph Waldo Emerson has said, that “Nothing Great was ever achieved without Enthusiasm” then it is no wonder that Sean Strachan is doing Great BIG things.
Sean Strachan is the man behind Winnipeg’s Big Games – and what are the Big Games? It’s a group of young adults who build life-size games that you can play indoors and/or outdoors.
How did it start? Jody Hopper prompted Sean to think about the Campground Art and Animation Crew that is selected every year at the Winnipeg Folk Festival and what they could do to become a part of it. One day it donned on him that he really wanted to play a large version of Jenga. He shared his idea with his friend Jody and the two of them started designing and building.
Jenga was indeed their first game and from there it just grew. They originally started construction in Jody’s basement and later moved to Sean’s parent’s garage and living room and even out on the driveway and front lawn when the weather was nice (the neighbours were curious and impressed to see often at one time up to ten energetic, enthusiastic and inspired young people sawing, nailing, sanding and painting away). There are now more than twenty friends on board with the Big Games.
They assembled a myriad of games – their versions of Jenga, Connect Four, Scrabble, Battleship ,Yatzee, Backgammon and Dominoes. They have thought of everything, by making special seating for the audience to sit, watch and cheer while the games are in session. The games are made from many materials; wood, plastic, fabric, glue, screws, and paint.
Sean’s original venue site to play the games was the Winnipeg Folk Festival Campground. As of last year, 2012, the Big Games have become an official part of the Festival’s Campground Art and Animation Group and Family Area Activities on the festival grounds. They have a team of enthusiastic volunteers – those who helped in their creation and who supervise and look after the games throughout the five days.
Sean was also invited to take the Big Games to the Harvest Moon Festival. He sees the games as a positive, challenging, and fun way for people to interact.
“To see how people react and how much joy they get out of the Big Games, it makes all the hard work worth it, and inspires me to do more,” says Sean.
Sean and his friends have organized a fundraiser in the form of a “social” to raise money to build more games and to donate money to CPAWS, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Manitoba Chapter. CPAWS is a registered charity whose vision is to keep at least half of Canada’s public land and water wild – forever. They focus on protecting large, connected areas of Canada’s wilderness – wildlife, parks, forests, oceans, freshwater, climate change and mountains.
The fundraiser social was held Sunday, February 17, 2013 at Whiskey Dix at 436 Main Street in Winnipeg, from 8:00 pm to 2:00 am. There was a silent auction and a live band (The JD Edwards Band)! To donate, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Sean at 204-471-8353. Help take the Big Games to the next level with bigger structures and more interaction and help the environment by donating to CPAWS.
Sean’s energy, drive and enthusiasm to see his dream come true has been so impressive, and to have recruited so many of his friends to become involved in this exciting project is outstanding!
This article was composed with files from Barb and Sean Strachan. Photos by Sean Strachan.