The Warrior Factory in the Community
The Warrior Factory in the Community
Jenelle Gilliard

The Warrior Factory was built as a ninja training facility but has developed into much more than that. It has turned into a place centered around the concept of community and making a difference in peoples’ lives. With the change in season, looking at The Warrior Factory’s schedule we see different community-focused events each month. I was able to catch up with The Warrior Factory Rochester’s General Manager, Luke Sworts, for a brief interview about the upcoming events and The Warrior Factory’s approach to community events.
  1. How did these events all get started? Where did the idea to schedule these events come from?
LS: Really, just bouncing ideas around. Bernard and Carl (co-owners) were fantastic in being willing to try new things and see what works. Plus, they both are so connected to the local community that opportunities to engage it in mutually beneficial ways was a no-brainer.
  1. What events have you done in the past? Have you done similar community-based events in the past?
LS: We’ve done fundraisers for the local Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester (BCCR), Foodlink, and Toys for Tots.  We also participated as a team in the Special Olympics Polar Plunge and held fundraisers for various local PTAs.
  1.  The Polar Plunge sounds cold! How was it?
LS: It was cold, but the event was akin to a party and they make sure everyone is safe. With all the energy of the crowd and adrenaline it really wasn’t terrible. Team Warrior Factory was brought up on stage because we raised the most money out of all the participating teams. Our total donation as a team was over $10,000! I encourage everyone to join our team this upcoming year as we keep the momentum going!
  1. Can you tell me a bit more about the other events?
LS: Sure, most of the open gym fundraisers are pretty straightforward, they are opportunities for different age groups to come in and play on our obstacles and we provide a portion of the proceeds back to a great cause. For the Foodlink and Toys for Tots fundraisers we encourage people to bring in donations in the form of toys or canned food in exchange for discounted admission.
  1. What is the importance of getting involved in the community?
LS: As The Warrior Factory brand developed, it was clear that building a strong sense of community was important to Bernard and Carl, not only in the ninja community but in the Rochester community as well. Accordingly, developing programs and participating in activities that gave back in different aspects became a guiding principal of our business plan.
  1. Favorite part of getting involved in the community?
LS: Seeing the generosity of people from across different dimensions of the community and the positivity that people display at the different events reflects the spirit that we try to instill at The Warrior Factory. Encouraging others and always doing your best is the mindset of a true ninja warrior.
  1. Future events that you are looking to participate in?
LS: We are always looking to develop new programs and additional ways to engage the community. We are interested in adaptive recreation as well as expanding our adult population and helping people of all ages have fun and stay fit. Recently we have added a SNAP membership eligible for any members of the SNAP program.
  1. What is a SNAP membership?
LS: The Warrior Factor offers a discount on monthly memberships to New York State residents who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Each guest showing an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card and matching personal identification may purchase a monthly membership for him/herself or their child at $35 per person.
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