By Amelia Tarallo
Hometown Weekly Staff
Trivia is arguably the most universal form of group entertainment. No matter what age of the participants, there's always something thrilling about knowing the answer to a trivia question and shouting out the answer. To that end, the Dover Council on Aging and Dover Town Library recently hosted a program that saw local seniors logging on to Zoom to join the DTL’s Teen Advisory Board for a fun hour of trivia.
The questions asked were written by members of the Teen Advisory Board. The first one, identifying the current world chess champion, stumped every senior. The next was easier: What year did the U.S. enter World War II? “Well, we all know that one,” said one participant, with the rest all simultaneously saying “1941.”
Months ago, members of the Teen Advisory Board started planning what projects they would focus on during the year. They decided to dedicate their community service to programs geared towards seniors. The groups decided to host a bingo night and a trivia night. The first event was a great success, with the teen volunteers helping distribute bingo cards providing one-on-one Zoom training for seniors. After running a successful bingo game, the teenagers got right to work coming up with the perfect trivia questions for their next program. “They did an excellent job covering a wide range of trivia categories, and selecting questions with varying degrees of difficulty. I was really impressed with how they hosted both programs,” explained Angie Howes, advisor to the Teen Advisory Board. It doesn’t take a lot to do something for the community, but these kids have gone above and beyond. “This is a really special group of kids - they work hard, give it their all, and genuinely care about helping their community. I couldn't be prouder of them.”
The remaining trivia questions mostly contained general facts, such as how many wives did Henry VIII have (6) and where is the coldest place in the U.S. (Fairbanks, Alaska). “Dover’s not on there?” cracked one participant, regarding the choices.
This joking nature continued between the group. When asked who burned Atlanta during the Civil War, a participant noted “I remember it well,” necessitating a pause for the group to laugh before giving their answers. The most controversial question was about what year Dover was settled. Participants were eager to dispute the exact phrasing of “settled” and if it referred to when Dover was incorporated or when people put the first settlements down in the area that later became the town. The answer written was 1640. When the teens ran out of questions, seniors took the time to quiz the teenagers, offering questions such as “What year did the Beatles perform on the Ed Sullivan Show?” and “What is a party line?”
Anyone observing could see just how energized the seniors were; the program had accomplished its exact aims by giving them something fun to bond over. “Given the fact that we've been in a pandemic for so long, many seniors haven't been able to visit their families or leave their houses, so this program enabled them to see some new faces and feel a sense of community that they may have been missing,” explained Howes.
For the seniors, these programs have provided an opportunity to be in their community once more. “All of the seniors commented to me how special it was for them to get to see the kids and interact with them in a time of such loneliness. They loved sharing their knowledge of Dover history with the teens, and you could see how meaningful it was to be able to reminisce like that while also teaching a new generation. There was something very endearing about the interactions between the seniors and the teens, and I think that was felt on all sides.”
With hard work and some willing participants, the Teen Advisory Board pulled off exactly what it set out to do. While it may have been for only an hour, the trivia night gave seniors a chance to recharge and share their knowledge, all while forging intergenerational bonds.