Level Up Esports

Level Up Esports formed in 2020 in response to COVID19 restrictions, a group of Palmerston young people missed the social interaction of attending school and began online gaming meetups to maintain their relationships and sense of inclusion. When restrictions lifted the young people decided to meet in person.

They approached Palmerston and Regional Basketball Association (PaRBA) to auspice a grant through the City of Palmerston (CoP) Community Benefit Scheme (CBS) and were successful. Through this grant they purchased second-hand gaming equipment and began meeting at the Palmerston Recreation Centre weekly. They started with four young people who were 16-17 planning the activities, event delivery, menu planning and online gaming and discussions.

The group has grown to assist CoP at their major events and worked with NT Game Designers to deliver a 9-week Game Development program in Palmerston, to mentor young people through the process of game development.

The Level Up crew were so successful at creating an inclusive and welcoming space for young people they now:

  • Host gaming sessions at PaRBA 3x3 events
  • Run Youth Drop In Gaming as part of the Palmerston Youth Activity funding for Territory Families, Housing and Communities on a Friday for 30-40 young people who are considered disadvantages or at risk of entering the juvenile justice system.
  • Host birthday parties
  • Ran four events in part of the Palmerston Youth Festival
  • Participated in the first Palmerston Game Development program which allowed them to develop four video games in 7 weeks, for other young people to play at the game testing station at Geekfest Top End 2021, supported by Dylan from NT Game Designers and Council Community Development Officers.
  • The crew delivered three sessions at the Young Change Agents Innovation Hub and worked with young people to demonstrate Esports and their potential future opportunities as career pathways.
  • The group has now ventured into the Northern Suburbs and are delivering at The Shak as a school holiday activity with the opportunity for further engagement
  • Attend events for local businesses - such as Halloween for Event Cinemas

The four young people (Ben Fosdick, Lachlan Foweraker, Jack Bartlett, and Jayden Wrenn) operate Level Up Esports as their own social enterprise. They do all their own planning and operations. Their sessions are adult free zones, and they manage the logistics and day to day requirements of the equipment. Demonstrating their capacity to deliver youth programs run by youth for youth.

The young people have created a beautiful space that is inclusive and has high expectations of acceptance and working as a place of safety. The crew delivered an International Women's Day Event and led by example of changing the culture of gaming, negativity to women and toxic masculinity.

They have assisted in running Geekfest 2022 with CoP. They hosted tournaments for middle school, high school, and all ages to be inclusive of Palmerston’s diverse age demographics. The Level Up crew also assisted in providing all ages entertainment of the second day of Geekfest 2022.

The Level Up crew are creating their own succession plan. With two members completing Year 12 they are conscious of their commitment to education. They have recently hired the newest crew member Sarea Andrews and use new events as ways to interact with the community looking for new crew and volunteers.

The young people have created, developed, and researched concepts for further opportunities and developed proposals to enhance their collaboration within the local geek scene. Already future planning for 2023 onwards looking at branching into new areas to allow for more young people to be included in the geek community.

Level Up is a founding member of the Geek Culture Collective which is now the peak body for all things geek in the NT and they aim to progress and support the development of the gaming community in the NT.

Level Up has a commitment to inclusion. The crew have worked with Autism NT to ensure their space is welcoming and safe for young people on the autism spectrum. The crew have all committed to creating a place of safety and trust for young people on their rainbow journey and lead by example in ensuring behaviour expectations are maintained at a high level.

Level Up Thursdays began as social inclusion session and Level Up Fridays were a separate session as part of the Palmerston and Regional Basketball Association (PaRBA) Youth Drop-in Sports program which is disengaged young people and those young people at risk of entering the juvenile justice system.

The two days have now seen significant cross over between cohorts and the interaction has been cautious but positive. Support is offered to any young person via the Level Up crew and now the PaRBA Youth mentors.

This program is proudly supported by the City of Palmerston Community Benefit Scheme. For more information about CBS https://palmerston.nt.gov.au/community/community-benefit-scheme