Village is as Old as History
The Game of Village arose from Cia Iselin's vibrant imagination, her love
of play and a visit she made to Madurodam. Of course if you asked her
she would have likely said "I didn't invent Village. All children play
village at some point. It was my next door neighbors growing up who first
showed me how to play." And then she might recount to you the following:
Founder Cia Iselin
Cia's Peep, Solomon Redgate
"In the City of the Hague in Holland, there is a little city with a big
heart. It was built in 1952 by a little lady with a big heart, Bertha
Boon van der Starp. She was not much over five feet tall, but had
managed to convince corpulent business magnates from the oil fields of
Curacoa, the Hallandische Bank, the Holland America Line and Royal Dutch
Airlines, that they should give their time, money and energy for the
creation of a "miniature reproduction of a "Dutch city with a great
past. A city that had grown up in Holland from ancient to modern times, a
city with proper town planning and with the very best of everything. A
town where people feel happy and where everything is equally beautiful."
The little city was built to support the Dutch Students Sanatorium,
which was desperately needed to rehabilitate thousands of young victims
of Hitler's war, who had been deprived of nourishment and education for
four long years. Within its borders is a perfect scale model of the
Peace Palace, build in 1912 in the Hague with money from Andrew
Madurodam also enjoys a royal blessing, for its first Mayoress was
fourteen year old Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands. Young people
continue to play an important role in Madurodam today. Each year 30 boys
and girls from the schools in the Hague are elected by their schoolmates
to be Madurodam's aldermen and work in it on their holiday, to keep it
fresh and bright.
There is beauty and continuity between the work of Bertha Boon van der
Starp in 1952 and what we are trying to do with The Game of Village
Village '71 (1971) was the first experimental Game of Village, and a
most enlightening experience for those who took part in it. The input
from the younger generation was particularly salutary. It was their
ability to play without conceits or inhibitions that created the PEEPS.
The miniature people they concocted bore little resemblance to
Barbie-doll like mini models that would have pleased the conventional
adult. They were real characters, with the most revealing
idiosyncrasies, and were to have a profound influence on how Village
would grow as a game. Two levels of activity were established in Village
lore: that of the Peeps who lived in the miniature world and that of the
homesteaders who created them in the real world.
Village '71 was responsible for another important tradition. With only a
dozen or so children and two or three adults playing the game in an
informal experimental mode it was discovered that is was easier and more
effective for everyone to work within rather than outside of the
game... adults (who came to be known as Commissioners) and homesteaders.
Everyone developed a Peep, took their roles seriously and shared the
responsibility of community building. To the Commissioners' surprise
playing the game with children not only increased their insights but
also established a rapport that enhanced discipline.
Village '95 - 2009 Sue Martin, a former teacher and social worker, at heart loves to
play .. almost any game but particularly Village. Living in a 1750 colonial house with a huge barn, Sue, along with her dog Solomon, directed the summer camp from 1995 to 2009. She was a dear friend of Cia's and continues to love the game in
Village '17 will be played again in beautiful Nelson NH, back at Kia's Chalet. This year's experience will be led by Jesslyn Mullett.
Venues of other Villages
Thanks to many schools, individuals and young people, Village is played throughout the United States and in several Eastern European countries.
Villages on the web:
Prairie Creek Village
Marlborough School Village
The Village Project
The Game of Village 2016
The Game of Village 2015
The Game of Village 2014
The Game of Village 2013
The Game of Village 2012
The Game of Village 2011