The Paladins of Perseverance: a skill building blaster battle program

Paladins of Perseverance


This is a proposal for a Therapeutic Adventure Game designed for middle and high schoolers who need help with social skills and executive function. The challenges in this program would specifically be designed to give participants opportunities to practice these skills with team Nerf blaster game challenges and role play.

We were asked to consider putting in a proposal to the Stone County Developmental Disability Board by Jeremy Rouch who has attended our drop-in Nerf blaster battles in Branson. 

We are looking for a community partner in Stone County, MO who might be interested in partnering with us for the proposal and hosting the program.

The following is an outline for a Therapeutic Adventure Game and follows a format we have used for similar past therapeutic programs developed with Meadowridge Academy in Swansea, MA. This format includes a trauma informed approach to curriculum development and leader training. The format embeds positive behavior reinforcements to promote desired outcomes in social emotional learning.

Therapeutic Adventure Games help kids learn skills while having fun

Story Premise:

Participants are recruited to become the elite guardians of the city of Perseverance, a futuristic metropolis that hides important keys to the answers of the universe. These keys have put the city in danger and the Paladins must be trained to defend the city from those who seek to destroy them. Paladins are especially chosen because they have the potential to learn the skills and defend the city.

Will they overcome the obstacles and earn their wings? The Ruler of the Capitol of Perseverance is counting on them to do just that!

Focus on Character Development & Personal Best


This 6 week, 90 minute blaster battle program will feature themed games that will help participants learn important social skills through unique challenges and scaffolded practice.

Note: We may want a 7th week to introduce the participants to one another, explain the rules of the game, have them create characters and review the Paladin’s Oath.

Participants will get a choice of player types to choose from that would give them bonuses in certain fighting abilities. Kids always love these choices because it makes them feel like their part of a living video game.

  • SharpshooterAbility = Counter shot: player may shoot back at the person who tagged them out for a chance to save themselves
  • Specialist Ability = Melee: player gets the option to use foam melee weapons
  • TankAbility = Armor: player can take more damage than others
  • Scrapper – Ability = Spree: tagging out multiple opposing players out in succession gains player temporary armor bonus
  • MedicAbility = Field Support: player may revive fellow teammates
  • EngineerAbility = Heavy Lifting: player gets ability to move bunkers

Additional bonuses are earned over time as the players “level up” by learning and practicing social skills in the game.

Team Building Challenges

Therapeutic Targets:

Each week would emphasize a different target social emotional or executive function skill. These challenges are put into a story format that progresses over the six weeks with news from the Capitol or commendations and encouragement from the city’s leader.

  1. Flexible thinking – multiple approaches to the same challenge type (Badge earned: Dauntless)
  2. Relationship Building – figure out who has the right skills for these challenges (Badge earned: Fidelity)
  3. Teamwork – Challenges can only be met with everyone’s help (Badge earned: Loyalty)
  4. Communication – Attempts to solve challenge will only succeed if they talk to each other (Badge earned: Deliverance)
  5. Problem solving – Multi-step challenges and puzzles (Badge earned: Tenacity)
  6. Organizational skills – A gauntlet of challenges that lead to a discovery when put in the right order (Badge earned: Clarity)
Friendship building is a focus

Wrap around activities:

Ideally, the program would have some wrap around components. Our experience is that participants get more out of these programs and have greater success in generalizing skills with pre and post game components.

  • Follow-up group session with participants with a licensed social worker or therapist to unpack their experiences and offer support (this would depend on the agency hosting, or a could be offered as a stipend position)
    • An example of a group activity that a group facilitator might play for flexible thinking is Crazy Costumes.

      For this activity, the group would be divided into teams and each team would be given a bag or box filled with household items. The teams would be challenged to make a crazy costume out of the items by using them as costume pieces. The most creative team gets a prize.

  • Wrap around activities for families of participants with pre and post activities, discussion topics or games that help kids generalize the skill they are practicing during the program.
    • An example of a pre-activity for flexible thinking might be the “Three Possible Reasons” game. Each family member takes turns reading a scenario and then has to come up with three possible reasons why something might happen.
      • (e.g.) “Susie did her homework, but she did not turn it in. Give three possible reasons why.
    • An example of a post-activity for flexible thinking might be to play a game like Snake Oil.
Repetitive practice is the key to generalization and mastery

Past Programs:

Mastermind Adventures has been creating unique living adventure games for kids and teens for the past 7 years. Many of these programs include battle sports like Nerf blaster games, foam sword games and dodge ball variants among other things. We combine these movement activities with storytelling and problem solving challenges inspired by books, video games and pop culture. This format is used to teach participants academic skills, social emotional skills and self-confidence.

Here are examples of some of our past programs that focus on social skills, team building and problem solving. We use game theory and positive behavior supports that keep kids engaged and focused on personal growth. Our programs are designed with a trauma informed approach and a focus on friendship building, flexible thinking and cooperation.