Foundations Asheville + Nintendo Switch Parties = Success!

Can Video Games Help With Tech Addiction?

It may seem a little strange to have a technology party, specifically video games, at a program that aims to defeat tech addiction in young adults. Often, the addiction stems from a lack of dysregulation and using technology as an unhealthy coping mechanism in managing stress and anxiety. Here at Foundations Asheville, we believe that, once you break the cycle of addiction and dysregulation, you can begin to develop healthy boundaries with technology. Reminding our students that technology is a tool and not a crutch, we explore our inherent relationships with these tools and how best to keep our interactions healthy and productive.

Switch Parties At Foundations Asheville

One of the ways we reinforce these new behaviors is by using The Nintendo Switch which has become synonymous with teens & young adults. But what is a Nintendo Switch? It’s a video game console that lets users play games with each other. So what would a video game console have to do with Foundations Asheville and helping young adults struggling with anxiety, depression, executive functioning, and experiencing challenging family dynamics? We sat down with Joel Coady, the Life Skills Instructor at Foundations, to share how he uses the Nintendo Switch to meet the treatment needs of his clients.

Why did you start Switch Parties at Foundations Asheville? How did the idea come about?

Video games and young adults go hand in hand, but how can we create a healthy balance between social interaction and screen time? At Foundations, we noticed there was a need to connect those two points and have collaborated with the clients to develop a community gaming program: “Switch Parties.” The Nintendo Switch is a gaming platform built for the couch co-op mentality. It’s packed full of multiplayer games that range from strategy to creativity in a team setting, this requires players to work together to achieve and complete game goals.

What purpose do you see it serves for students at Foundations & their success?

The goal of this program is to help clients develop a balanced lifestyle of sustainable community gaming alongside outside and interpersonal activities. Clients are able to build important life skills by creating a space where they have to coordinate time management, make inclusive group decisions, and dissolve group conflict independently. The hope is that they carry these skills into their life after Foundations.

Tell us a little bit about how Switch Parties work? Are they daily/weekly/monthly? Do all the students get to participate? Are there any rules in place?

Nintendo Switch Parties At Foundations AshevilleSwitch Parties are every Wednesday and Sunday night from 7:00-9:00 PM. Wednesday nights are creative team-based games where clients work together collectively in activities like Jackbox Party Packs & Mario Party. Sundays are more player vs. player games which encourage positive competition such as Super Smash Bros & Mario Karts Racing. Switch Parties take place at one house, clients from other houses come to join the party by signing up via the activities boards on Mondays.

Each client that wishes to participate in the event is required to sign a contract that was created by staff and clients collectively. The contract puts guidelines in place so that the clients can hold each other accountable in specific gaming settings and practice sustainable gaming. Guidelines include non-aggressive gaming behaviors only (no gamer rage), equal opportunities for all gamers to play (no bogarting), and practicing proper hygiene when using gaming controls (no eating while gaming).

What do students at Foundations have to say about the opportunity to have Switch nights?

Switch Parties have been a huge success among clients between the houses. This has been the most attended activity since the creation of the event and is continuing to grow. The inclusion of new clients gives them an opportunity to make new friends and alleviates the pressures of transitioning into their new setting. Client-led tournaments have been a popular topic that excites the clients, encourages them to participate, and promotes leadership skills among the coordinators. The teams created for this event promote positive relationship building and conflict management skills as well. Management of this program is client led and faculty has a hands-off approach in order for clients to take ownership.

About Foundations Asheville

Foundations Asheville is a young adult transition community located in the mountains of North Carolina. The program serves young adults ages 18-24 who are looking to acquire the tools to make the transition from adolescence to life as an independent adult. Foundations help young adults aspire to find meaning, direction, relationships, and self-reliance in their lives. At Foundations, we strive to create a full and rewarding life through an individualized combination of education, vocation training, community service, healthy lifestyle skills, relationship building, and participation in a genuine community of peers.

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