AUGUSTA, Ga. (WFXG) - Getting your kids to play video games probably isn’t a big ask. However, local Esports business aims to use the fun for something bigger.

Through a few clicks and a controller, kids meet the cyberworld through esports.

"The kids come in once a week, they practice for about 70 to 75 minutes and then they come in on Saturday and we play video games against competition approximately 30 to 40 other locations around the United States.” said Joshua Lambert, Gnome Gamers Owner.

Gnome Gamers opened October 2021.

“I was approached by XP League to open up a video game Esports facility. So, I took the opportunity and kind of took the leap and here we are.” said Lambert.

The story began in service. 

"I’ve been in [the army] for 18 years. I currently work here in Fort Gordon.” said Lambert.

Lambert says Esports allows kids to have fun and learn.

"Cyber meets gaming by allowing these kids into the computer, just by learning the STEM of just typing on a computer, using a mouse, getting familiar with a mouse.” said Lambert.

There, kids play games including Rocket League and Fortnite. Lambert feels this also helps teach confidence and teamwork.

"I want the kids to actually get to know people, have friends get together – that way they’re not at risk for the predatory stuff online.” said Lambert.

A local veteran says he’s a big fan of this for his kids.

"We were waiting for years for something like this to open up.” said Tony Whiteside. 

Whiteside knows the importance of cyber and believes his kids may just be in the industry later, too. 

"I retired from Fort Gordon after 23 years of service so I was very integrated already. We’ve been trying to encourage them to do this on the back end, to actually code and build their own games.” said Whiteside.

Whiteside also believes this could be the key to engaging the next generation in cybersecurity.

"You know, if they can start here, it may encourage them to actually go into coding and actually cyber which is big around here, Augusta, Georgia.” said Whiteside.

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