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DART warriors in the press

Delanco teen's Nerf Wars company creates its own niche

Celeste E. Whittaker, @cp_CWhittaker Published 11:08 a.m. ET Sept. 6, 2017

Austin Dasher, a 17-year-old Delanco teen, started his own company recently called Nerf Wars. His mobile Nerf battle company puts on birthday parties, team building events and more. He's shown at Cinnaminson High School where his company put on a battle for the boys varsity soccer team, which used it as a team building exercise and just a fun outlet. (Photo: Jose F. Moreno/Staff Photographer)

CINNAMINSON – The teenage boys hid behind inflatable bunkers, two of them looked like tanks.

They ran towards one another with their Nerf guns drawn on the “battlefield”, with the objective being to shoot one another and force the wounded to the sideline for a few minutes, giving them more time to collect balls and get them back to their side.
 

There were shouts of “I hit you, man” or “I was just hit.” There was plenty of laughter and yelling, a lot of running and just all-out fun.

The Cinnaminson High School boys varsity soccer team was just hours removed from playing in its final preseason scrimmage and were surprised by their coaches and team captains with “Nerf Wars.” They were playing a game called “ball blitz” where the objective is to get all six balls onto one side.
 

Nerf Wars is the creation of Delanco teen Austin Dasher, who recently turned 17. The BCIT Westampton senior started the mobile Nerf battle company about five months ago and it has taken off.

He now is booked for at least two events each weekend, sometimes three. He and a few of his buddies and often times his mom and dad load up a minivan with the equipment and travel to the various locations and set everything up. Then, it’s game on.
 

“We started it Easter week, actually,” Dasher said. “We were on our way to a Facebook marketing seminar and my dad had seen a post on Facebook about a church group doing a Nerf war. Since I did Nerf in my back yard with my buddies all the time, I wanted to see what it was all about. I found the post, and I saw all they were doing was hosting the event. They weren’t providing anything other than the ammo. I said, wow, I can do that better.

“That basically started this entire business for me. I have a lot of experience with Nerf guns. I’ve been playing with them, pretty much my entire life, so it was already a passion of mine.”

Cinnaminson High School boys varsity soccer players, Jake Weick, left, and Mike Lutz, take part of a Nerf Wars event at Cinnaminson High School. Austin Dasher, 17, a Delanco teen started his own company recently called Nerf Wars which does Nerf events all around the area and state. (Photo: Jose F. Moreno/Staff Photographer)

Cinnaminson boys soccer coach Jason Miele met with his three team captains a week before the preseason to discuss some ideas of some things they could possibly do as a team. “As a coach, you’re always looking for different ways to get the guys together and maybe at times not necessarily on the field, but just coming together and having fun with each other and remembering that they are 16, 17 and 18 years old,” he said. “…I was telling them (the team captains) how my son recently just did this (Nerf Wars) in my neighborhood and when I said it to three guys, they just jumped all over the opportunity. They thought it was a great idea.”

Team captain Jacob Vermes, a senior center back, said his teammates were pleasantly surprised to learn they’d get to participate in Nerf Wars. “It’s been a lot of fun,” he said. “All the guys enjoy it. It’s a great event, getting everyone together. It’s kind of a team-bonding session. Everyone’s having a lot of fun.”
 

Mike Lutz, another senior captain, was happy that things worked out so well. “It’s going well,” he said. “Having some fun in the middle of preseason. Preseason can be known for just straight running and stuff like that. To have some fun like this, brings the team together well.”
 

Dasher said the events typically last for 90 minutes and it’s continuous except when they change up the game modes. He has nearly 10 different game modes they can use and he said that adds a bit more fun to it, instead of “just running around and shooting each other, because that can get old quick.”

They do simple birthday parties, team building events with sports teams, all the way up to community events. On September 8, his company will be part of a “Guns & Hoses Nerf Wars”, put on by the Riverside police department and fire department. It’s an event for the community and will be held from 6  to 7:30 p.m. at Bob Kenney Field in Riverside. It’s open to children ages 7 to 14 from Delanco, Delran and Riverside.
 

“We believe this is a great event to support a local young entrepreneur, and a very unique opportunity for local youth to get to know their local police officers by playing a game alongside of them,” Riverside Township Police Captain H. David Jaensch said in an email.
 

“We are definitely really excited for this Riverside event,” said Dasher, who said he can handle up to four fields at a time. “We’re pulling out all the stops. We’re going to be running three fields and one unique field and that’ll be called the gauntlet, it’s similar to the American Gladiator competition except we modified it for Nerf.
 

“...We provide everything. Our slogan is you provide the warriors and we provide the rest and that’s completely true.”

Cinnaminson High School varsity soccer player Jake Weick takes cover during a Nerf Wars event recently. Austin Dasher, a 17-year-old Delanco teen, started the company recently, which puts on Nerf battles all around South Jersey and the state. They do birthday parties, team building events, community events and more. (Photo: Jose F. Moreno/Staff Photographer)

Austin credits “100 percent” of his business knowledge to his father Eric as well as an entrepreneurial spirit and says “he’s taught me everything I know.” His dad is the owner and host of a touring game show called Brain Wash Game Show, which travels to school assemblies, family fun nights, corporate gatherings, cruise ships and other places. “They (his family) always help me with everything, so it’s just natural that we’re all here to help,” Eric Dasher said at the Cinnaminson event.

He said after he showed his son the item on Facebook about the church event, they put together a business plan, began ordering equipment, put together a marketing plan using Facebook posts “and it just took off.”

Dasher has also been doing shows for his dad recently, then does Nerf Wars on the weekends. He’ll take advantage of the school to work program this year, which means he’ll go to school half days so he can come home and work on both businesses, mostly Nerf Wars.
The average cost of his Nerf Wars events are about $350.

Dasher’s mother Bonnie, who is a teacher, manned the table at the Cinnaminson soccer team’s event. She also helps to carry things and set things up where needed. “I am so proud of him,” Bonnie said. “He’s got so many accomplishments under his belt at such a young age.”

Celeste E. Whittaker; (856) 486-2437; cwhittaker@gannettnj.com

Austin Dasher, 17, brings inflatable barriers, Nerf guns and darts to birthday parties and community events with his company, Nerf Wars.
Austin Dasher, 17, brings inflatable barriers, Nerf guns and darts to birthday parties and community events with his company, Nerf Wars.
Austin Dasher dodges foam bullets during a Nerf battle with his father, Eric.

Burlington County Times & Bucks County Courier Times 9/4/2017

DELANCO — It’s not unusual to find 17-year-old Austin Dasher squatting behind large inflatable barriers and dodging foam bullets on the weekends.

He turned his love for Nerf battles, which involve shooting soft darts out of toy weaponry, into a full-fledged business designed to get children and adults outside.

In the spring, Austin launched Nerf Wars, a mobile Nerf battle company. He and his team of friends and family bring Nerf guns and thousands of darts as well as inflatable forts and barriers to birthday parties, community events and social gatherings. He’s had about two bookings every weekend since the company’s formation.

The idea came about when his father saw a Facebook post of a group putting on a Nerf battle at a community event, but players were asked to bring their own supplies.

“I thought I could do it better,” Austin said.

He hasn’t heard of any similar mobile Nerf companies in the area or the country.

Austin started playing with Nerf toys with his older brother when he was about 6 years old, so he’s become an expert Nerf player over the years. He created 10 “game modes” to play on Nerf Wars’ four inflatable arenas. One mode, for example, asks players to envision a zombie apocalypse, while another is similar to capture-the-flag.

He caters the arena, game mode and weaponry to the age group at the event. Austin enjoys seeing young children step away from their phones and tablets for an afternoon of Nerf.

“A big problem nowadays is kids don’t go outside enough,” he said. “This is like a video game, but it’s real.”

And the fun isn’t just reserved for children. Nerf Wars has hosted some events for adults — its first outing was an adult’s surprise birthday party — and parents love to join their children during the final battle rounds, Austin said.

“It’s a fun pastime,” he said. “Who doesn’t like shooting at their friends?”

Local police officers and firefighters will jump into the Nerf action on Friday at the “Guns and Hoses Nerf Wars” at Bob Kenney Field on Hooker Street in Riverside at 6 p.m. The Police and Fire departments will battle alongside local youths on two courses.

The event is open to children 7 to 14 from Riverside, Delanco and Delran. The police will provide free food. A screening of “The Lego Batman Movie” will be shown after the battle.

“We believe this is a great event to support a local young entrepreneur, and a very unique opportunity for local youth to get to know their local police officers by playing a games alongside of them,” police Capt. H. David Jaensch said.

To register for the event, visit bit.ly/2gpG5Jf. For more information about Nerf Wars, visit nerf-wars.com.

Danielle DeSisto: 609-871-8050; email: ddesisto@calkins.com; Twitter: @DeSistoBCT

Nerf battle pits Riverside first responders against local youths

RIVERSIDE - Police officers and firefighters in Riverside got involved in a friendly Nerf battle with local kids Friday evening as part "Guns and Hoses Nerf Wars," held at Bob Kenney Field on Hooker Street. The gear and obstacles were provided by Nerf-Wars.com, which is run by 17-year-old Austin Dasher, of Delanco.