Community Stories:

Pincher Creek - Nerf Wars

The Town of Pincher Creek along with the Pincher Creek Wellness Committee (PCWC) wanted to focus on getting youth 12-17 years more active. One of the Community Health Champion members heard about a nerf wars project in Medicine Hat that was very successful at getting people active in their community simply by having a great time. A similar drop in nerf wars program was created to entice youth and families to participate in physical activity.

The Plan

An action plan and budget were developed and local partners were approached to support the idea. PCWC was able to purchase supplies including; nerf guns, glasses, and soft bullets (with support from an Alberta Prevents Cancer, AHS grant. The Town of Pincher Creek was able to donate space and staff time to run the program that started this spring. Various times are available that target different age groups young and old. A birthday rental package was even created as well that supplies the nerf guns and instructions for safe play.

The Outcomes

The program runs free to youth and charges a minimal fee of 2 dollars to adults, only to ensure the sustainability of the equipment. A rental fee has been set up for those who want to use the equipment for private functions such as Birthday parties.

Town staff has got involved by building obstacles around town that promote participants to explore.

Although the target age of the initial program was for 12-17-year-olds, the first week saw more 6-11-year-old children come out to play. All were encouraged to participate. Players are required to wear safety glasses and may bring their own guns only if they are compatible with the darts that are provided.  The supervisor of the games will set up obstacles and targets for everyone to enjoy.

The partnership between organizations is key to the success of programs such as these. Multiple people are needed to spread the word and the workload. For example, simple advertising on Facebook saw many hits. A Committee member, employed by the Town of Pincher Creek was able to use their social media to advertise. Also, a fun interview with a local radio station took place to promote the program for free.

It is exciting to report that there has been lots of excitement in the community to get involved. Over 30 kids played in the first week. 10 families and 10 adults arrived ready to have fun on the different drop-in nights.

With a simple idea, low-cost toys, and community engagement, small steps can be made to increasing physical activity in your community!

Ways to take action: Community Strategies - Physical Activity