Airdrie youth are encouraged to polish up their Nerf blasters and practice their aim, because local Nerf club YYC Foam Wars is marking the end of the school year with a giant Nerf game at the Genesis Place Recreation Centre fieldhouse on June 24.
The Schools Out Nerf Event will give participants over the age of seven roughly 1.5 hours to run around and shoot each other with safe, foam-tipped darts.
YYC Foam Wars recently expanded to Airdrie, with the goal of offering a bi-weekly Nerf event throughout the summer and hopefully into the following school year, according to club owner Andrew Downey.
The club’s first event was held on June 10, attracting 44 players.
“I did hardly any advertising at all, just posts on Facebook, and 44 people showed up,” Downey said, adding that if he advertised throughout Airdrie, he would likely have been inundated by registrations.
Having hosted events in Airdrie and Balzac before, Downey knows the demand in the region is there, and he hopes more and more people find out about the club's expansion into the city.
With the nature of the game being to shoot foam darts at each other, he found there is some hesitation from schools to get involved. While he understands where they’re coming from, he also wants to change the perception of the game.
“I can't do any event in City parks due to City bylaws – any projectiles are not allowed – even if it's foam,” he said, adding he has talked to councillors about amending the bylaws.
“I know they don't want archery, paintball, or airsoft in the parks. I get that, but these little foam blasters are meant for kids. As long as it's done in a safe way, it gets the kids out exercising, running around, and off their little phones or entertainment systems.”
The foam wars usually include different games, including capture the flag, team deathmatch, last man standing, and the popular game of humans versus zombies.
“If you're a zombie, I have about 100 pool noodles, and you use that to tag the humans while the humans are trying to shoot the zombies,” Downey explained. “The kids just love it because it's basically tag, but done in a really [unique] way.”
Downey started the Nerf club in Calgary about five years ago and previously hosted a zombie-themed foam war in East Balzac to raise money for Kids Cancer Care.
After a summer of foam wars, he hopes to host a School’s Back Nerf Event at the end of August to once again raise funds for Kids Cancer Care. If Downey can use a donated space, all proceeds of the event plus any additional donations would go directly to Kids Cancer Care, he said.
“It's just something different and there's no businesses that offer this kind of club with Nerf in Airdrie,” he said.
He also hopes to get the first responders from Airdrie and their families together in the future for a free Nerf event, if the City of Airdrie can donate the space.
The Schools Out Nerf Event will get underway June 24 from 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. Head to YYCFoamWars.ca to register or register at the Genesis Place fieldhouse prior to the event.
Participants are asked to bring their own Nerf blasters with their name written on it, eye protection, non-slip shoes, and water bottles. Nerf darts and rival balls are provided by the club.