The minimum staff
needed to run a 5th Dimension is one person who should expect to spend both the
time that the activity is running and 1-2 hours to write notes back to the
children (on behalf of the Wizard).
On the other hand, the 5th Dimension runs most effectively when its staff is supplemented by adolescents and young adults recruited from local high schools, colleges, or other sources. These older participants generally fulfill the role of Wizard's Assistants who work with the children in an informal manner to help them achieve their goals. In our experience, the presence of these additional participants brings about a qualitative improvement in the way the activities proceed. There is a lot of fun and social bonding generated as people of different ages all help each other, compete with each other, and pretend jointly that they are in a friendly tug of war with the Wizard to demonstrate their prowess. Further discussion of the Wizard and the different roles of Wizard’s Assistants will be taken up later.
In addition to the site coordinator and any other sources of person-power, you might consider involving in your 5th Dimension, the children themselves are a potent source of help.
To provide both incentives for children who graduate the 5th dimension and to provide extra helpers there is the role of Young Wizard's Assistants (the site coordinator and university students are “Chief Wizard Assistants). The incorporation of university undergraduates provides several resources for the children and satisfies several competing demands on such a system simultaneously. The undergraduates provide a critical mass of socialized participants willing to abide by the rules of the after school system. They are also much admired by the children, providing role models not only in terms of social behavior but in terms of literacy and problem solving skills as well.
As a Chief Wizard Assistant (CWA), the coordinator of the site oversees the operations and is one of the people with whom the Wizard is in constant communication. The coordinator is the chief on-site representative of the Wizard and his or her major goal is to ensure that the children are progressing toward their goals; that the equipment and software are working properly; that there are enough resources at site; and that the communication between the citizens, YWAs, and WAs and the Wizard flows regularly.
At site, the coordinator does not work with anyone in particular but oversees the flow of the citizens and YWAs, pairs them up with other children and WAs, and also attends and resolves technical or academic difficulties that the groups might have with their games. Furthermore, the coordinator is a major source of information about the games. The coordinator also shares the successes and failures of a game, gives to the group ideas about how to increase their knowledge, and even how to share their successes in the way of hints for other groups.