Dodging paint: Paintball takes kids to the EDGE!
August 3, 2011
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- At the sound of a whistle, children with the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation EDGE! program charged toward the center of the field and took cover behind wooden barriers as paintballs whizzed by their heads and bodies.
As they began to peer around the edges of the large planks, paint exploded all around them in a hail of paintball gun fire.
This was the scene at the Dothan Survival Games speed paintball field at Lake Tholocco’s West Beach July 28 as military Families and DFMWR participants divided more than 20 players into two teams and battled to the last person.
Of course, the ammunition being used was only paint, so no one was injured in the “fight.”
Taking part in paintball is just one of many activities the EDGE! program offers military children and teenagers, said Denise Honeycutt, DFMWR partnership specialist. It’s also one of the more fun ones for them and the EDGE! supervisors.
“We’ve done this several times during this year and it’s one the kids and the instructors love being able to do,” she said. “This is our fifth time here, but we usually do it in the spring or fall. It’s very challenging, and it’s something fun that the kids and the supervisors can enjoy together.”
Honeycutt said one of the main reasons paintball is so much fun for the children is because it’s like they’re playing a video game, but they get to be in the middle of the action. However, she said her favorite part is the drive back afterward.
“They talk so much junk between themselves after the game, but it’s all in good fun,” she said. “They have a good time and always ask when we’re going to come back and play again.”
Two of the children participating had been in two previous paintball outings and said they loved it from the first shot.
“The first time was pretty cool, I didn’t get shot at all,” said Lauren Barbee, 11, military child. “I stayed in three games the last time, but I got shot up pretty bad in the last one.”
Markues Stubbs, 12, military child, said the trash talking does get bad sometimes, but it’s all part of the fun. He said paintball puts him and the other children in the middle of the action instead of just seeing it on a TV or computer screen.
“The fun of the game keeps me coming back,” he said. “Anybody can play; it’s really easy to pick up. The first time I got shot, it hurt, but after that it was a good time.”
Tommy Starling, Dothan Survival Games Fort Rucker field manager, said he loves being able to help the children discover the game and being available for more experienced players.
“It gives them something fun to do that can get them out of the house,” he said. “We’ve got a variety of different fields here and plenty of supplies, so anybody who’s interested in playing should definitely call us and set something up.”
Starling added that the field is open for reservations during the week and is open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1-5 p.m. The facility is open to the public and is meant for a variety of ages from youth to adult ages.
For more information on EDGE!, call 255-0666. For more information on Dothan Survival Games, call 793-8202.