Hi! I’m Trevor. I’m a passionate educator, husband to Cathy, and father to our seven awesome kids! I’ve worked with young people my whole life. I’ve been super fortunate to discover what inspires kids to want to fully participate in life and learning. I’d like to share with you how and why I became professionally involved with engaging kids through games. I’d like to share my triumphs and struggles during my thirty years of working with kids and how they keep me inspired to be my absolute best. Thankyou for checking out what I’m about. I would love for you to join us on our ‘Fun Youth Group Games for Kids’ journey.
My own kids range between the age of 9 years old through to my oldest who is 23. My children have been gifted with an upbringing that has fostered a huge appreciation to life. They see life to be full of opportunities and enjoyable challenges. My wife Cathy and I raised them to be entrepreneurial, to question their world and to think outside the square. We taught them that the ‘magic’ happens when you step out of your comfort zone. We taught them to hang with people who inspire; to think happy thoughts and find the good in people. We taught them about family, love and adventure. We taught them about the importance of integrity, leadership and self-belief. My family is my ‘Why’. To learn more about my kids entrepreneurial upbringing, check out our Enterpriseforkids blog.
I’ve been a school teacher for 25 years, working overseas, in remote Australia and in large city schools. I’m passionate about helping kids live extraordinary lives. My professional interests stem around sustainable healthy living, teaching kids to be entrepreneurial, project based learning and group games. In my spare time I enjoy everything there is to do with the ocean, exploring cultures and hanging out with my family.
Implementing Purposeful Programs to Aboriginal Kids
During my early days as a teacher I was fortunate to live and work in remote Australia (Northern Kimberley- Kalumburu), teaching Aboriginal kids the ways of the world. The kids I worked with all shared an ancient culture that revolved around family, the land, and spirit. These people lived for the moment, and prioritized family obligations ahead anything else. They were content with living very simple lives without many possessions, nor were they caught up in the worries and busyness of city life. I soon discovered that my middleclass values about what I thought was important didn’t rock their boats. They saw life so differently. Thanks to these kids I came to better appreciate culture, family, connection to nature and living in the now. Understanding that Aboriginal kids learn very differently to mainstream kids, I had to think outside the square and plan purposeful programs that interested them, were hands-on, suiting their learning styles. One such program was the establishment of an extensive Food Forest. Essentially this was a permaculture garden proudly built by and maintained by the kids. Fruit trees, vegetables, chickens, fish ponds, outdoor BBQs and more; providing a weekly bounty of healthy produce to be eaten by the kids. By being a part of the Food Forest program, the kids had a real purpose for learning, they developed pride in themselves, and the program taught them skills for living healthy sustainable lives. It went on to win an Australian National Award for its innovation. It also featured on TV and gained international interest with an Anthropologist publishing a series of articles about how it positively impacted on the whole community.
Developing a Behavioural Games Program to Engage Aboriginal Kids
Aboriginal kids don’t care unless they know you care. Building strong bonds with these wonderful people takes time. Gaining their respect is important. Without it, many kids simply won’t turn up to school, and those who do can be resentful, unruly and disengaged with learning. I was introduced to a unique behavioural games program that was getting excellent results in schools. After fully training with this approach, I help develop a comprehensive behavioural games program for the school. This perhaps was the beginning of my journey with implementing group games that would have a tremendous positive impact with so many kids. The Kalumburu School Behavioural Games Program was a tremendous success, with marked improvement in attendance, behaviour and student engagement. The group games built strong relationships, self-confidence and they were awesome fun!
Adventures of Living on a Farm and Impacting Kids Through Group Games
With seven kids of my own life was never boring in our household. Cathy and I have always sought adventures for our family. From remote Australia, we bought a farm with many happy farm animals, fruit trees and the Australian bush surrounding us. Kangaroos, emus and bandicoots shared our space. Life on the farm was wonderful!
I worked at a little school down the road from the farm. In my time there I led a Tribes program. Tribes was all about teaching the virtues through team building challenges and group games. I also trained in the well-accepted BluEarth program. I then ran this youth group games based program with the students and trained other staff. BluEarth incorporates yoga, mindfulness, decision making and group games. It teaches kids skills to get along, be confident, have resilience and to have the tools to manage their own actions, whilst having heaps of fun!
My roll at the school continued to evolve, with me taking on the role of whole school sport’s teacher. I would intertwine everything I knew about group games into fundamental movement games programs with the older students and perceptual motor games for the younger students. I’d use games to build physical skills and coordination; whilst fostering teamwork, leadership and self confidence in kids.
Kids Learning Through Gardening and Cooking
In addition to being the sports teacher, I was fortunate to be able to be involved in another project that was close to my heart- a Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program. Using my skills and experience with garden programs, I enlisted the help of the community and lead a team to build the program from the ground up, incorporating large nature play areas, permaculture gardens, chickens, fruit trees and a fully equipped kitchen. As you can imagine, this school was awesome fun for kids! They didn’t want to miss a beat! Students developed knowledge and skills around gardening; and cooking and eating healthy foods. They developed strong values of sustainable healthy living.
Family Adventures Exploring USA
Following on from our life on a farm, Cathy and I took our family to USA for a trip of a lifetime! Arriving in New York, we bought a ten birth motorhome, then journeyed around the country for six months. We visited almost all the states, including a stint up in Canada. At the time, our youngest was six months old and our oldest was a 16-year-old teenager. Together we shared an amazing experience. Snowy mountains, forests, deserts, great lakes, fun parks and big cities. We met many wonderful people along the way and built the foundations for adventure in our kids, later to play out in their lives. Check out our blog HERE.
Living on a Remote Tropical Island and Award Winning Cultural Program
Our next adventure was moving the whole family to a remote tropical atoll in the middle of the Indian Ocean. COCOS ISLANDS became our home, on and off, for eight wonderful years. Living on a beach in a small community with so many things to explore, was a dream come true. Initially, I worked in a culturally unique school, with kids who all spoke English as a foreign language. To engage the students in purposeful English I had to come up with programs that that were purposeful for these kids. One such program received recognition at a National level- the whole school Cultural Tours Program or ‘Tour Kebudyan Cocos’. This was a collaboration between the local council, the community elders, tourists and our school. The kids would deliver a Cultural experience to tourists who visited the islands through dance, storytelling, cooking, history, crafts and sailing. By doing so the kids built confidence with speaking English and a pride in themselves and in their culture that can be found nowhere else in the world.
The Birthing Of Wacki!
During another stint on the Cocos Islands, I became the teacher to a delightful group of exuberant kids. These guys had a zest for life like no other kids that I’ve worked with. Much of this exuberance I attributed to playing fun youth group games on a daily basis. In fact, every morning before school I would run a whole school game on the oval. Kids from aged 4 to 16 would join in, and quite often, so would their parents! I would run short indoor group games in the classroom between lessons. I had games specifically for leadership, games for team work, Icebreakers, educational group games and others were just crazy goofy games! My rapport with the kids was excellent, and they responded as a cohesive productive confident group. School for them was fun!
My repertoire of group games had grown enormously. I knew copious games, and I knew which ones were a hit with the kids and which games had the most impact. Teachers were astounded by the range of games we would play. Many colleagues sort my advice on games for their own classrooms.
I wanted to see kids’ group games in every classroom, in every school, across the globe! I believe fun group games make a tremendous difference to the lives of kids from any culture or background. I had an idea to create a tool for teachers, youth leaders, parents, coaches and corporate groups. A tool with all the games I had come to know, all on an app. My idea sounded wonderful, but I had no idea how I was going to make it happen.
I began filming the Island kids playing these games, then editing the footage into short ‘how to’ videos. This would take quite some time to do and I wasn’t sure what I would do with all these videos once they were made or how to get them on an app. The kids were super eager to be part of the project, as not only did they get to be the stars on camera, but they also were able to play heaps of games! We called ourselves Wacki… because many of the games were whacky, zany and goofy!
As things evolved, and more and more videos were coming together, I approached my friend Hugo to build a Group Games App. He was an experienced computer programmer and had the passion and creative skills to put all the Wacki games onto an app. If we could pull this one off, we would have the perfect tool for people seeking group games. He saw the vision, and Wacki evolved into WackiApp!
Fun Group Games for Kids- WackiApp
Today Hugo and I have 70+ games on our rippa little app. I’m continuously on a quest to discover new games and seek opportunities to film them with my Wacki team of kids. More games are being added to WackiApp each month. Our Fun Group Games community continues to grow through our following on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Wackiapp.com is where we showcase Wacki by providing access to all our group games online; and we have links to download the free version of Wackiapp. We offer a premium membership to Wacki, giving full access to all our current games and future games. We’ve kept this to a small cost of less than USD$1/week. funyouthgroupgames.com was created to help people, like you, find Wacki.
I’m really excited to see Wacki electrifying kids to live extraordinary fun filled lives all over the world!