this and that

Paintball as Outreach

Paintball group

So on Sunday a few of the youth leaders took 20 high schoolers to play paintball. For the uninitiated, paintball is using markers (that look somewhat like extreme water pistols) to shoot blobs of paint at opponents so that the paint splatters on them, tagging them “out” of the round. You can read more here. It’s really a lot like laser tag but with face masks and chest guards and running around outside. (I should note that we don’t have laser tag on the island, and that go-karts are too expensive to be worth it, so that our “sports” of the like are very limited).

I would like to state for the record that I did not intend to participate in said paintball. I wasn’t even intending to attend but overheard them planning the event… on one of the air force bases. Since we were at “Force Protection Bravo” (i.e. increased security) at the time, I politely asked how they intended to get a group of 20+ people onto a military base. There was a long pause… and then a “You love us, right?”

So, since I had base access, I went in the lead car (mine, with the base decals) and took them to the air base for paintball on Sunday afternoon.

My next intention was to drop them off (and take a few photos of them in their paintball gear) and then head to the beach for the afternoon until they needed a ride home.

It rained. No beach for me.

Paintball through the netting

So I wound up staying and intended to watch through the netting from the bleachers. I had a kind of okay view of the field after all, and could snap a photo or two as the kids came and went, right?

Yeah, I got put into an orange vest and bright yellow face mask and taken right out onto the field.

With my camera.

“Battlefield journalist!” went the call.

Paintball field

And I will admit the view was much, much improved.

Despite telling people I was behind them, despite my ridiculous orange and yellow getup and despite me being overly cautious about where I went, I still got nailed twice with paint pellets. They didn’t burst (so I got no paint on me) but I have two lovely purple bruises to show for it.

Not pleased with being paintballed

All in all, I think the kids had fun. They bonded a little. And we got to know some of the ones who are only here over the summer, which was good.

So, does this mean we can now count paintball as an outreach tool?

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