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GF AFB holds first Global Cardboard Challenge

Brad Painter sets up the Painter family’s Bean Bowling entry Nov. 2, 2013, at the 2013 Global Cardboard Challenge at Liberty Square on Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D. The event was inspired by the video “Caine’s Arcade,” featuring 9-year-old Caine Monroy, who created his own “arcade” of games made completely out of cardboard. The Painter family won in the family category as well as the People’s Choice Award. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Susan L. Davis)

Brad Painter sets up the Painter family’s Bean Bowling entry Nov. 2, 2013, at the 2013 Global Cardboard Challenge at Liberty Square on Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D. The event was inspired by the video “Caine’s Arcade,” featuring 9-year-old Caine Monroy, who created his own “arcade” of games made completely out of cardboard. The Painter family won in the family category as well as the People’s Choice Award. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Susan L. Davis)

Senior Airman Nikolai Smirnoff, 319th Comptroller Squadron, displays his life-size stationary robot Nov. 2, 2013, at the 2013 Global Cardboard Challenge at Liberty Square on Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D. The event was inspired by the video “Caine’s Arcade,” featuring 9-year-old Caine Monroy, who created his own “arcade” of games made completely out of cardboard. Smirnoff won in the Airman category for his creation. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Susan L. Davis)

Senior Airman Nikolai Smirnoff, 319th Comptroller Squadron, displays his life-size stationary robot Nov. 2, 2013, at the 2013 Global Cardboard Challenge at Liberty Square on Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D. The event was inspired by the video “Caine’s Arcade,” featuring 9-year-old Caine Monroy, who created his own “arcade” of games made completely out of cardboard. Smirnoff won in the Airman category for his creation. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Susan L. Davis)

Victor Correa from WDAZ and Col. Christopher Mann, 319th Air Base Wing vice commander, listen as Aeryn Power explains about her cardboard fish aquarium Nov. 2, 2013, at the 2013 Global Cardboard Challenge at Liberty Square on Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D. Correa and Mann were part of a judges panel, along with Pete Haga, assistant to Grand Forks Mayor Michael Brown, who judged each of the competitors’ entries. Aeryn won in the age 5-8 category for her creation. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Susan L. Davis)

Victor Correa from WDAZ and Col. Christopher Mann, 319th Air Base Wing vice commander, listen as Aeryn Power explains about her cardboard fish aquarium Nov. 2, 2013, at the 2013 Global Cardboard Challenge at Liberty Square on Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D. Correa and Mann were part of a judges panel, along with Pete Haga, assistant to Grand Forks Mayor Michael Brown, who judged each of the competitors’ entries. Aeryn won in the age 5-8 category for her creation. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Susan L. Davis)

GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- About 25 individuals and families from Grand Forks Air Force Base came together Nov. 2, 2013, at Liberty Square to show off their cardboard ingenuity.

Entrants used cardboard to create everything from arcade games to fish aquariums. The event was inspired by the video "Caine's Arcade," which features an enterprising 9-year-old boy named Caine Monroy, who created his own "arcade" of games made completely out of cardboard. His ingenuity gave rise to the Imagination Foundation, with a mission to find, foster and fund creativity and entrepreneurship in children worldwide, and raise a new generation of innovators and problem solvers.

Participants set up tables in the main atrium of Liberty Square and assembled their creations for display. Observers and judges made their way around and listened intently as each competitor explained his or her creation, and even offered a demonstration if there were several moving parts.

Entry categories included ages 5-8, 9-12, 13 and up, Airman, families, and a chance for attendees to cast their vote for the People's Choice Award.

Aeryn Power's aquarium won the 5-8 category, her sister Kaitlyn Power won the 9-12 category with the kitchen accessories she built for her dolls, and Sharlee Krkosa won the 13 and up category with the quaint-looking country cottage she built out of cardboard and white lace.

Senior Airman Nikolai Smirnoff, 319th Comptroller Squadron, built a life-size stationary robot, and won in the Airman category. Kelly Painter, School Liaison Officer, along with her husband, Brad, and her two children, Pierson, 13, and Erika, 8, won the family category and the People's Choice Award with their Bean Bowling contraption, inspired by the board game Mouse Trap.

"There were days' and hours' worth of work that went into our project," said Kelly Painter. "My husband took a very architectural approach to it, and my daughter added the color--basically everyone in our family added something to it, and we were very excited to show it off when it was done."

Cheryl Anderson, one of the event coordinators for the Cardboard Challenge, said she was very pleased with the overall outcome of the event.

"Without a doubt, the best part of the event was to see how many different ages were involved and how creative every entry was," she said. "We based this activity on Caine's Arcade, but didn't want to limit it to games. However, the games that were there were incredibly fun and everyone really enjoyed them--we had medieval bowling, try-outs for the next Vikings quarterback, a Lily- (Jack) in-the-box, and a couple of entries based on actual arcade games."

Anderson said she would encourage people to participate in the next Cardboard Challenge for many reasons, but especially for the sense of accomplishment they would get.

"I loved a lot about this event," she said. "I loved how many families took it on--some where the whole family worked together, and in other families each person created their own entry. I think the families who did it together got a lot out of it, especially after others saw what they created and had fun with it."