CAMP ZAMA, Japan (Oct. 30, 2019) - For a few hours on Oct. 26, an open field on Sagamihara Family Housing Area was transformed into a battle zone where hordes of the undead roamed the earth, and young combatants fended them off with foam-dart blasters.More than 300 youth and community members participated in the Camp Zama Youth Sports and Fitness-hosted "Humans vs. Zombies" event.Brandon Bergeron, the Youth Sports and Fitness director, devised the idea for the event and explained the concept as essentially a toy gun battle combined with a large-scale game of "Tag." Every participant began as a human player and tried to survive until the evacuation without getting "infected" by the role-players who started out as zombies."It was always my dream to get a bunch of kids and the whole community involved in an experience like this," said Bergeron.The event was doubly beneficial for the young participants, Bergeron said, because creating a game that required them to continuously run around in a field allowed them to "[get] a little bit of exercise while having a good time."The event garnered support from the entire community, including parents and other volunteers, Bergeron said. Everything about it surpassed his expectations, he said."I couldn't be happier," said Bergeron. "We had incredible turnout."Kainoah Venn, an eighth-grader at Zama Middle High School, said he appreciated that such a unique event was offered for children in the community. What made the game fun, he said, was the fact that "there was no pause like a video game ... it was a full-on, real-life game."Molly Temko, a sixth-grader at Arnn Elementary School, joined in the event with her friends and said they especially had fun shooting the zombies with their dart guns.Maj. Dereck Aubel, assigned to U.S. Army Japan, was one of the adult participants, and said it seemed like everyone "had a blast and had a smile on their faces." The event helped bring family and friends together, promoted camaraderie, and allowed everyone to participate in a bit of physical activity, Aubel said.
"I [felt like I] was like a kid again-even at my age," said Aubel.