Updated: Jun 25, 2019
How a mentor and a mentee built !Mpact Players in 6 months. The story of the idea to the launch.
In all actuality, !Mpact Players was born somewhere around 2004. I was 19 years old and had zero experience in the world of after school programming, education, and team building activities. Instead, I was an amateur cameraman, fresh out of high school, looking for opportunities to develop my craft.
Then, my entire life changed. I was booked to go up to Los Angeles and film a guy named Ray Trinidad, who was running an after school training seminar for LAUSD's, Beyond The Bell.
Initially, the thought of filming a training seminar did not sound appealing to me. But from the moment the seminar began, I knew something special was about to happen.
Immediately, Ray began to teach the seminar through interactive games. The timid room quickly erupted into laughter and conversation. All of Ray's participants were having the time of their lives. After each game, Ray connected each activity to the real world and explained "why we played these games." At times, I got so caught up in listening to Ray speak, that I forgot that my job was to film.
By the end of the training seminar, I was mesmerized by Ray's work and became a true believer in the power of a simple team building activity. Ray took me under his wing and began to mentor me as I became his cameraman at his training seminars.
Before I knew it, Ray asked me to put down my camera and become one of his helpers- I was now supporting Ray and helping him to lead his activities and lessons.
From this, my career choice shifted. I ended up discovering a passion for education and began a 15 year journey where Ray became my mentor. I quickly grew from a part time after school youth leader, working 4 hours a day, to an After School Director at a public charter school, overseeing 400+ students each day. In addition, I became the school's Student Government Advisor, Pep Assembly Coordinator, Classroom Competition Organizer, Summer Program Director, Camp Director, and led the school's yearly Olympics. At each of these roles, I consistently used games, lessons, activities, and words of wisdom that I learned from Ray and his trainings.
Soon, I began to modify Ray's games and invent new ones. I was using these games literally everyday at every capacity.
At Monday night meetings, I began to teach these games to my own after school staff. On Tuesday's, I ran these games with my own students for lunch events and classroom activities. Wednesdays, I was teaching classroom teachers these activities for our weekly classroom competitions. On Thursday's, these games were being implemented with our student government. By Friday, these activities were the main event for every school pep assembly. Thanks to Ray, I was now known as the Activities Director for the school.
But demand was high and my supply was low. I needed a better way to teach everybody how to play these games. How could I teach Ray's games without having to deliver directions every day to multiple people? Colleagues suggested that I write a book with all of these games. My staff requested a binder with an archive of all games they had been taught over the years. Though these both sounded like great ideas, I was worried that another book or binder would just sit on a shelf, unread. I mean, educators are busy, and my team needed a simple solution that could give them content and ideas instantly. They needed something so convenient, that it would always be in their pocket and available at all times. They needed something that would update on a monthly basis so they would always have fresh content.
This is when and where !Mpact Players was born. At the end of 2018, I called Ray, my mentor, and asked him if I could stop by his house to pitch him an idea. We sat down for 30 minutes and talked about building an online archive of short, simple tutorial videos where we could capture Ray's games.
Without hesitation, Ray said, "yes" and !Mpact Players became a real idea, ready to be developed.
My job was to build a website and film tutorial videos where Ray could share his year's of games, activities, lessons, and knowledge in a very streamlined and contemporary way.
Ray's job was to write all of the scripts for all of his games and plan live trainings where we could film his games in action.
Within 6 months, we developed a plan, filmed 50+ videos, built a website, and launched !Mpact Players at the BOOST Conference in Palm Springs May 2019. Instantly, !Mpact Players went from idea to reality.
Ray Trinidad, my mentor, changed my life- And I can only imagine how many other lives he has affected.
I can now proudly say, that I am the "Co-Founder" of !Mpact Players, with my mentor, Ray Trinidad. After 15 years of mentorship, I was finally able to find a way to show Ray how thankful I was for his teachings.
I truly hope you enjoy our website.
-Gabe Ogilvie, Co-Founder, !Mpact Players