When Maik and Marian Lipsius first got together, each of them already had three teen-age children – One might expect therefore that their home would rapidly become a battleground… And although that is actually what happened, it manifested in the nicest way possible! It can’t be denied that the five boys and one girl had lots of energy – but fortunately this was seen as a good thing by their parents, who were keen to help them direct it positively. This approach has resulted in an amazing outcome, quite different from the usual ‘teenage trouble’ story. I have often wondered if many of the ‘problems’ with young people are simply because we are so concerned to protect them from danger and potential exploitation that they are just not allow-ed to do anything anymore! They spend a large part of their lives sitting on chairs at school and up to 90% of it indoors- So what’s a young person supposed to do with all that natural exuberance?
Whilst some get involved in activities such as sports and drama, many have become so used to having to suppress it that they continue to do so by playing endless computer games, or sitting in each others bedrooms smoking cannabis. Others may be found on the streets getting into some kind of trouble – but this was never going to be a de-sirable option for Maik and Marian’s kids!
When the parents were contemplating a move to Ibiza, they asked each of their offspring if there was some kind of business venture they would like to get involved in. After much consideration, they came up with a consensus: Paintballing! Whilst I can’t help question if 5 girls and 1 boy would have produced the same result???
They did do some pretty thorough re-search in Ibiza which indicated that young people of both gen-ders would appreciate the chance to do something active and fun. Fairly quickly a suitable venue was found and the whole family became involved in planning, designing and building the set up. They organised truck loads of equipment to come from their native Holland and spent several months putting it all together. All of them, including the adults, developed many new skills.
… But if this sounds rather fantastic, it must be said that there are those who criticise paintballing – It is a simulated battle experience involving outwitting the opposing team and hitting them with as many paintballs as possible - fired through a marker. It is this last bit that some people don’t like. However the desire to play fight exists in just about every mammal species and this is a long way from the real thing. Kittens tuck their claws in and humans don’t have to put real bullets in the gun.
We often enjoy behaviour which is connected with our evolution in some way as it stirs part of the brain other activities don’t reach! The play fight develops stamina, coordination, quick thinking and stimulates lots of feel good chemicals to be pumped around the body… There is a thrill factor which is so often denied to us in our safe society- and sometimes a little taste of fear and danger can make us feel truly alive.
So I take my hat off to these amazing 6 and their parents for bringing to Ibiza an activity that can be enjoyed by anyone, young or old, providing they are not glued to their chairs and don’t mind having a little fun!
Incidentally, when I met some of the teenagers, they were polite, friendly, gentle and clearly brimming with pride at what they had achieved. And they were keen to point out that the ‘Paintball Lounge’ is not only about Paintball: it is about providing an environment where families, groups and individuals can socialise together in ways which suit their individual needs. They have thoughtfully created chill out areas, a Vietnamese barbecue and a juice bar alongside the traditional bar. There are showers too and a delightful swimming pool. The idea is to be open most of the year round- not just for tourists. After a short winter break, the Paintball Lounge re-opened in March – and hopefully by now the paintballs are flying!