28 October 2014

Community Spotlight- Fletcher Hills Presbyterian

Recently I wrote an article for BoLS regarding some ideas I had about starting up or growing an existing X-Wing club. This was in no small part in response to an email I received from a Bikini Aficionado named +Nate Murray.

I'd always kind of intended for TheMetalBikini.com to be something of a repository of collected knowledge and whatnot regarding X-Wing. As it grew though, in some ways, it became a community for the community-less, of which the irony is not lost on me: the Bikini's origins lie not only in trying to get Sean and BC up to speed to play, but also because I'd hoped to build a site to grow my local scene by giving the players around here a resource to hopefully get better, faster. 

Anyway, after y'all started showing up in rather unexpected numbers, I always thought it'd be cool to try and touch on some of the clubs and cool events and stuff that everyone was up to in an effort to publicize them to the larger X-Wing community as a whole. 

I largely became sidetracked away from that idea, as I'm wont to do. 

Anyway, I'd kinda forgotten about the whole community aspect until Nate emailed me a couple of weeks ago about his club. I read his email, checked out his pics, and was thoroughly impressed with what he'd accomplished, so I thought I'd share it with y'all before we dive into the Wave 4 pilot card breakdowns. 

And hey- if you've got a club that's doing something cool with the game, take some pics and send me some info and I'll feature you too. It's fun to talk about this stuff online, but it's even better to take some cool idea and bring it to the table of your own club, amirite? Surely we're not all just dogfighting at our FLGS... 


The other day, I was driving in my car with one of the high school students I mentor from our church youth group. This student had recently had made many poor choices that could have had lifelong consequences. During this conversation, he noticed the briefcase that contained my X-Wing Miniatures collection. He asked me what I kept in it, and I replied “Oh that’s my x wing stuff.” His eyes lit up and said, “X wing?”

I said, “You like Star Wars right?” He said “What sane person on this planet does not?” I briefly explained about the game and his immediate reply was, “When are you going to teach me this game?”

A few days later before youth group, we met up for our regular coffee and chatting session. While we were drinking coffee, I introduced him to X-Wing Miniatures. We played four TIE fighters vs. two X-Wings. He loved it…and then it began.

This particular student was at a very pivotal cross road in his life. He lives in a very broken home; his mother has very little income, and also had a brand new baby brother in the picture. His grades had been dropping and he recently gotten involved with troubled youths. In an attempt to steer him in a positive direction, I meet with the student regularly to provide a stable male figure in his life. I had been having difficulty finding common ground with him, but through X-Wing Miniatures I was able to connect to him.

Over the past five years I have served as a mentor and volunteer for my church. These students do not have strong father figures or parental guidance in their lives. By investing many hours into the lives of students I think I’m making a positive impact in the lives of our youth.Some of my biggest passions are Star Wars, playing games, and mentoring at-risk youth. All of my life, I have loved Star Wars I wanted to be Han Solo and Chewy, and flying the Falcon. After my Brother introduced this game to me, my dream finally came to fruition. After this, it was all downhill from there and I began to purchase any and all X-Wing Miniature’s I could.

Now I am proud to say that my collection rivals my brothers and I have at least one of every ship. 

However, after I taught the high school student to play he told his friends. He reached out to me and asked if I would teach his friends. The very next Thursday my gracious wife let me host a small get together with these students. It was pretty epic and they all got the X-Wing bug. So the next Thursday rolled around and more wanted to play. My little apartment was getting too crowed so we had to move our weekly sessions to a bigger space. Two months later, we have around ten students who attend on a regular basis. Many of whom have very broken homes and sad life stories. I know at least one of the kids is living in a foster home.
It all started out with my love of games and my passion for kids. Now I am using X-Wing as a spring board to get kids off the streets and to invest in their lives. Each week I get the privilege of taking at least one of them home and we spent quality time discussing what’s really going on in their lives and just listen to their amazing stories. Kids have some pretty cool thing to tell you if you just take the time to listen and it can change your life, because I know it has changed mine. Hopefully I am making a positive influence by simply playing games and talking.

Now to the purpose if this letter: My collection is over thirty ships but I only have around one of each ship. Currently, I am not in the financial situation to purchase more. Unfortunately, last Thursday we had five students show and I had to create a draft for the students to pick ships because I only have a limited supply. It really broke my heart to see some of the students even create 100 point squads on the nternet and print it out and then realize that I don’t have enough ships to fulfill these wish lists.

Everyone always wants the Falcon and the Shuttle, but I only have one of each. I want to ask if there was anyone out there who would be interested in selling some ships they no longer use at a discount or even sponsoring some ships to our little club. I’d even appreciate some new components like bases and stands. My very first 2 poor little tie fighters are about ready to be retired because they just barely fit into their stands. I’m sure you all are aware of how rough kids are on things, and it does not bother me at all. I’d give all my entire collection to see these kids succeed in life.
My aim is to have some spare core kits to give to each of the kids that come on a regular basis so they can start playing themselves and potentially bring other students to our game sessions in the future. They keep telling me they are going to get some ships and I know that most of their parents are struggling just to put food on the table.

Thank you so very much for taking the time to read this letter. It’s my proud honor to say that through fellowship and friendship the X-Wing Miniatures games is changing lives for the better. Thank you for such a fun product that has helped me build bridges with at-risk students, and hopefully enhance their lives.

Nate Murray

Fletcher Hills Presbyterian Church Youth Volunteer
(And huge star wars nerd)

How awesome is that, right? Good on ya, Nate. I hope you get some new ships, pal!

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