SCRIPPS RANCH
FAMILY FUN
All elementary school children are invited to participate in a Nerf War scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., Friday, Dec. 29, at Jerabek Neighborhood Park, 10200 Scripps Trail. (photo by John Gregory)
A Nerf War is brewing
By John Gregory

The Carthaginians couldn’t do it. Neither could the Macedonians, the Assyrians, the Romans, Mongols, Ottomans or Spartans. None of these ancient armies could conquer a patch of turf known as Jerabek Neighborhood Park in Scripps Ranch. But on Friday, it's possible a group of elementary school students will do what none of these great armies were capable of accomplishing.

A war has been brewing the last couple of weeks, and at 10 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 29, Jerabek Park will erupt in a hail of Nerf darts. All children of elementary school age are invited.

The chance that 100 percent of the combatants will be "wounded" is 100 percent. There is also a good chance none of these casualties will spill any blood. Injuries from the mass skirmishes are expected to be less than any other day at a park.

The soft foam darts serving as ammunition for the toy Nerf guns usually don't leave wounds, bruises or welts. Participants should bring their own Nerf guns and supply of Nerf darts. Nerf crossbows or bows that shoot heavier darts are not a good idea. In addition, kids participating should be warned that their Nerf darts could be lost or borrowed during the frenzied battle. Hand-to-hand combat, of course, is not allowed.

Stacy Plotkin-Wolff organized the Scripps Ranch Nerf War.
It turns out that Stacy Plotkin-Wolff, a Scripps Ranch mother, is also the mother of all Scripps Ranch Nerf Wars. Plotkin-Wolff, who was raised in Scripps Ranch, has two sons who attend local schools."My youngest son had a sleepover party at a friend's house where they went all-out warfare on each other. There were four boys" she explained. "Then, the following week, we had a sleepover to celebrate my son's birthday, and four slept over. I think I found 100 Nerf darts on the floor the following morning."

Realizing how popular the Nerf play was with children, Plotkin-Wolff decided she would escalate the game in a larger, outdoor setting. That's how the Jerabek Park battlefield came into play.

"So, I thought, 'You know, I think we need to take this outside and it would be a lot of fun to have more than four boys involved,'" she said. "So, I just threw it out there and it seems to have caught fire."

Plotkin-Wolff posted the idea for a Nerf War on social media early during Winter Break, and other mothers responded. Now, she has opened the invitation to all children of elementary school age in Scripps Ranch, plus all their friends, no matter where they live or where they attend school. Girls, of course, are invited as well.

"Come out and have fun," she said. "The more, the merrier."

While kids should bring their own Nerf gun and darts, Plotkin-Wolff said her son will have a few extra that kids can borrow if they don't have Nerf guns. Participants should be at the park by 10 a.m. It's probably best if parents stay to supervise their children. No ending time has been set.

Plotkin-Wolff is making red and blue arm bands so the children will be able to tell which person is on their team and which player is on the enemy team. Beyond that, the organization and rules are pretty loose; just kids having fun.

"I'm going to divide them up into two teams. I'm just going to do one-two, one-two, one-two, and give them a blue arm band or a red arm band," she explained. "The only rule is going to be no head shots."

There actually is one other rule Plotkin-Wolff wanted to mention: don't bring pets because they might become frightened by the flying darts and get tangled up with the running participants and the general chaos of battle.