Matches with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Fraser Valley have been bonding over an online role-playing game and recently got together in person for a group photo. (Submitted photo)

Matches with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Fraser Valley have been bonding over an online role-playing game and recently got together in person for a group photo. (Submitted photo)

‘Bigs’ and ‘Littles’ bond over online role-playing game

Pairs from Abbotsford, Mission and Chilliwack find creative outlet during pandemic

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Fraser Valley recently came up with a creative solution to keep its mentors and mentees connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Matches from Chilliwack, Abbotsford and Mission have come together virtually to battle ogres, goblins, dire wolves and giants in an online role-playing game.

At the end of three months, the group adopted the name “the Royal Misfits” and were finally able to meet in person for a group photo.

Joel Marcotte, who has been working with BBBS as a practicum student, came up with the idea to try running a small Pathfinder game, which is a tabletop role-playing game similar to Dungeons and Dragons.

“What started as a one-shot turned into a few games, and eventually we had our own little campaign that we met for online every week,” he said.

RELATED: $221,000 in emergency support awarded to 18 Abbotsford charities

“It was great to see the matches at work, where in one case, the Big Sister helped her Little with the rules, while in the other match, the Little was the one to help out the Big.”

Marcotte said the activity also allowed the kids to step into different roles and be creative with their play as they developed stories for their characters and used creative problem-solving to get through obstacles. He said the nature of the game also made it easy for relationships to form quickly, since everyone role-played as adventurers who needed to work together in order to survive.

“Within the first session, the Littles were already teasing each other, joking around and building off of each other’s energy, and they haven’t calmed down yet!” Marcotte said. “I feel like this game really brought us together even through the social distancing since, even though we met virtually, we all created and participated in a story that not only has yet to be over, but that we will also remember for years to come.”

RELATED: Golf tournament raises $74,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters