SAGAMIHARA FAMILY HOUSING AREA, Japan (June 3, 2020) – Dozens of children eager to get outside and run around have participated in the Jurassic SHA Nerf Dinosaur Hunt that began here June 2.
“I think it’s great and it could be an activity every year,” said Beck Ingram, 8. “What I like about it is that I actually get to come out again and shoot my Nerf guns.”
Camp Zama’s Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Community Immunity Team developed the idea for the hunt, which combines exercise, education and social distancing with fun for children, said Marenzo Domingo, the organization’s marketing manager.
“Most children find dinosaurs fascinating,” Domingo said. “Add the learning component along with the fun factor of using Nerf ‘tranquilizers’ to aid in the hunt, and you have a great event for both children and parents to enjoy.”
The hunt takes place on a portion of the 1.6-mile recreation trail here. Organizers hung several posters featuring pictures and facts about different species of dinosaurs on trees, and the idea is to read about the dinosaurs and then shoot three nearby pictures of each dinosaur with a toy foam gun.
Signs on the trail tell participants: “Dinosaurs have been spotted in this area! Get your Nerf tranquilizer guns ready!”
Amanda Bryan and her children Greyson Prokopi, 12, and Rivers Prokopi, 11, visited the hunt the day it began.
“We’re huge dinosaur fans,” Bryan said. “This is something fun for us to do and learn about dinosaurs and get out of our house because we’ve been stuck [there] forever.”
For Rivers, the combination of dinosaurs and foam dart guns made the activity irresistible.
“I think it’s really fun because I love dinosaurs and I love shooting Nerf guns,” Rivers said.
Rivers’ favorite part, however, was “just being outside instead of being stuck in my house all day,” she said.
Greyson, meanwhile, said he particularly enjoyed the chance to practice his aim, all while being outside.
“I don’t want to stay inside all day and it’s boring inside just doing quarantine,” Greyson said.
Bob and Kate Leatherbee brought their four children ages 2, 7, 8 and 11 to the hunt with their toy dart guns and also a toy archery set.
“I think it’s great that the post tries to do things to get people to go outside, especially since it’s hard to be outside with other people right now,” Kate Leatherbee said. “So it’s a good family activity, for my [children’s] age group especially.”
James Leatherbee, 8, said he enjoyed shooting the dinosaurs the most, and although he is familiar with most dinosaurs, he learned some new facts during the hunt.
His brother Teddy, 7, said his favorite part was running from target to target, and he summed up the experience in one word: “Awesome.”
Camp Zama’s FMWR Community Immunity Team has created several activities to help raise morale since the start of COVID-19 restrictions, including a Virtual 5K Challenge, a socially distanced Easter Egg Sling, and Zama Garden Television, to name a few.
Domingo said team members would like to thank community members for supporting their ideas.
“We’re grateful for your support!” Domingo said.