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The Kentucky Army National Guard has always prided itself on being at the forefront of providing exciting activities and programs for education and recruitment. Recently, they have found a way to plug into the appeal of movies and video games to take interaction and engagement to the next level.
We are working to put on fun, appealing activities for educators and our target audience with an experience they crave, said Joe Brummett, director of education outreach for the Kentucky Army National Guard. This includes movies and an electrifying gaming experience they may have never seen before.
Fun on a Massive Scale
These movie nights and video game events can be conducted indoors, outdoors, at a county fair, at a park, at a tailgate party or anywhere else their imagination takes them. This is made possible by two giant 12-foot Open Air Cinema inflatable movie screens that were purchased as part of the CineBox Pro system, which comes equipped with a DVD player, audio mixer, microphone, speakers and a digital projector.
In recruiting efforts and community events, they have been using rock walls and 100-foot long blow up obstacle courses. Brummett said they have actually wanted to move away from them for some time because they attract more little children than their main audience at festivals and fairs. They are becoming increasingly difficult to maintain with shrinking budgets because the rock wall, obstacle course and the other big items, logistically take a lot of personnel, manpower and dollars to support.
One of the best things about this Open Air Cinema system is that I can give it to one person who can put it in a vehicle and set it up by themselvesthat is huge for us. It eliminates a great deal of the personnel costs and trucks and trailers we have to use to haul things around, Brummett said.
The National Guard in Kentucky has always tried to be on the cutting edge of what is interesting and fun. We work very hard to stay relevant and follow the trends. What we are doing seems to align well with some of the national themes including sponsoring racecar drivers and rock stars. Our new strategy allows us to branch out in to this gaming/movie/computer experience to really reach those who are 16 years of age and older. We want to reach out with what works for them.
This equipment enables them to use multimedia in new ways because they are so easy to use and totally transportable. The screens inflate in seconds, set up in minutes and can be used for all kinds of activities.
Electrifying Events Draw Crowds for the National Guard
Staff Sergeant James Jones with the 2/75th Recruiting and Retention Battalion, Kentucky Army National Guard is the subject matter expert for this program who helps train recruiters to not only use the system, but also to make a fun production out of it.
What this new approach allows us to do more than anything is break the ice with people, Jones said. We don't blast them with questions about whether they have considered being in the military, but rather, we can talk to them about the game or movie then bring up the military. It makes the conversation much easier.
Jones and his team recently staged an event where they worked with local radio stations to set up events where businesses would help sponsor video game tournaments including Madden NFL football video games displayed on a giant, larger-than-life format.
Jones explained, We take the top five participants from each of the locations we go to, which include businesses, high schools and colleges. Participants get registered for the tournament and then play. For the finalists we bring them to the Armory for the competition with the games projected up on the inflatable movie screens.
The main objective is to help spread the word about the National Guard to as many potential recruits as they can. In a recent tournament, with one day's notice via a few radio spots, more than 40 people came to the event. Jones said this was a huge success for such a short amount of time.
Prizes included gift certificates for a local video game store and the local VFW donated a 32-inch high-definition television for the winner. Local businesses donated other prizes as well.
We also visit fraternities at Murray State University to put on movie nights, Jones said. We set up the alcohol-free event for people to come and enjoy. They get a free movie under the stars, and we get some quality face-time to discuss the National Guard.
The Right Events for the Right People
We see that the use of games and other media is becoming more and more something we can't do without if we want to be successful. We use the Open Air Cinema equipment to elevate the use of media more than ever, Jones said.
He also said it is important to have the latest and greatest to keep the program freshand that includes the hottest games and consoles available. This has practical uses as well because the newest games offer options to customize some of their events. For instance, with the new Madden game, if they go to a city with a big cross-town high school football rivalry, they can customize the teams in the game to look like the real high school football teams. Jones says it makes for a great tailgate party.
Jones said, Open Air Cinema makes our events more exciting, more vibrant, more thrilling and we can't help but draw attention. It takes our recruitment efforts to the next level by being able to get on the ground where people are with something they are truly interested in.
Contact Open Air Cinema at 866-802-8202
to order your outdoor theater system today.В We look forward to placing your order!