Paintball offers the chance for connection whilst also dividing people into groups and telling them to shoot each other with paintguns! The Fortem team recently took a group of first responders and their families to Paintball as a way to connect and socialise with other agency members. It was also an opportunity to be active and get a few hours of fitness in while trying to dodge paintballs flying at them from across the field!
With the coldest April morning in 20 years in Canberra, the day started with temperatures down to -1 degrees, with a ‘felt like’ of -5.8 degrees! An early start saw participants arriving with the temperature barely above 0 degrees but luckily there were thick paintball suits provided and warm cups of coffee to get us ready for some action. With a cross representation of different agencies, as well as those with family members and those on their own, it was time to start the rivalry and split the participants up into two teams.
Watching everyone prepare for the day was exciting, as the overalls went on and the paintball guns were handed out, the anticipation of the battle yet to come was building. Some had never played before so it was great to watch those who were old hands help and involve the new players with the rules, and the unwritten rules like keeping the back of your neck padded with the overalls to avoid getting hit in the neck! The staff at the facility were very hands-on with helping everyone build the team comradery and start to develop strategies for getting through the course.
The day taught many skills but one of the great ones was to: ‘Be more confident in my ability and not compare myself with others.’
Paintball has only been around since the 1980s and was only discovered after someone saw a paintball marker (used to mark cattle) in a farming catalogue that the idea of “paintball” was formed. And while some may deem the activity of paintball to be a dangerous start to the day, paintball has one of the lowest rates of injury! In fact, you are more likely to be injured while golfing or bowling than you are playing paintball! And luckily this was true for our day of fun with only a few minor injuries of red lumps from where the paintballs marked the players!
The idea behind Fortem running a paintball workshop was to use paintball as one of our social connectedness activities for the school holidays, focusing on families with older children as a way to interact in an energetic and safe space! This activity allowed families to also engage in learning a new skill for those that hadn’t played before, and be active by running around dodging bullets for 2 hours – a very good way to warm up in the 1 degree Canberra temperature!
With two teams, the feeling of comradery was high, and with several games to be played over the 2.5 hours, there was some healthy rivalry especially between family members! With the morning weather warming up, so did the players and the activity turned into more fun than competition. There was definitely a sense of mateship though, with those more experienced players working with the newer players to get them through the game.
With the event coming to a close, there were lots of sweaty foreheads all around as well as lots of raised marks on their skin! One of the players mentioned as a take-home message to: ‘Learn to keep my head down more often…. 😊 ‘
Fortem provided this day as an opportunity to connect and engage with other teammates, learn a new skill and allow for participants to take time out of the real world and engage in a fun rewarding activity.
‘Really enjoyed the day, was great to be involved in an activity that I would never normally attend. Really well run, thanks’.
Find a Wellbeing Activity in the Canberra region on our Wellbeing Activity Calendar.