This Meanderings was written by Shawna, our Camp Director


As the Camp Director of Wizards and Warriors, every registration that comes in gets me excited.  I love learning who we are going to interact with, help develop, and teach this summer.  Even better, are the conversations I get to have with the guardians of all of these Heroes.  Each hero in Sidleterra, much like in reality, has a story of  how their character became the hero they are today.  Just as every good tale, there must be trials and tribulations to help develop not only the story, but the characters.  Here in Sidleterra, it is not very different.

Before coming to Sidleterra, I worked for a non-profit organization that supported countless families with financial aid.  The list of families needing help was always longer than the amount of aid we were able to give away.  Calling a family to deny assistance is always the hardest call.  However,  hearing the joy in a family’s voice when we could help was always an amazing feeling.  When I learned that I needed to do the same process for the scholarships to our camps, part of me was excited to help but the other part of me was dreading the harder phone calls.

For the past few months, I have had the pleasure of interviewing and chatting with over 25 families who applied for our Camp Scholarships.  Some needed help because of an ill family member, and others just had too many mouths to feed as a single parent.  Everyone was truly in need, but there was one thing that made each story unique – the heroes themselves.  To apply for a scholarship, we ask the hero why they want to come to camp.  This opportunity introduced me to some amazing children that had the determination under their skin to come to camp this year.


Meet Kohl:

The first family I had the pleasure of chatting with his Kohl, and his mother Tamara.  Being a single mom, an overnight camp in another state was not in the cards.  Kohl, being an avid zombie hunter, did not take no for an answer.  Instead, he made a video and a GoFundMe.  Kohl and his delightful personality charmed his patrons with his puns, humor, and dedication to come to camp.  After the scholarship was awarded, Kohl had just under $1000 left from his GoFundMe.  When Tamara asked him what he would like to do with the extra money he raised, Kohl’s answer was to help another kid who needed help to come camp.  

Another family asked for assistance this year for their two children.  This family lost their house, both cars, and the family-owned preschool in a flood.  They are still recuperating from the lost.  The family requested over 75% scholarship but were able to save just enough money if they did receive the scholarship.  When I called the family their mother answered the phone very somber.  She was getting ready to thank me for the scholarship, but because of the recent unexpected death of her father that week, all the money they did save went to services, they were not able to pay for any of camp this year.  I told her the story with Kohl, and that both children are able to come to camp free of charge.  To be able to deliver such great news to this family was, by far, the most rewarding call I have ever made.  

The coolest part of this story? Kohl and the two children are in the same group at camp and get to learn how to survive the apocalypse together!


Meet Aiden:

Aiden is one of four of Ruth’s children.  Due to medical reasons, Ruth is the only family member able to work to support all four children.  Much like Kohl’s situation, going to camp was not in the cards.  When Aiden found our camp in 2016, it was too late to apply for a scholarship for that year, so Ruth filled it out for the 2017 season immediately.  Aiden, wanting to ensure his attendance, thought to himself “What can I do to raise money at age 10?”  Aiden ended up creating a website with Ruth and has been selling his paintings to be able to help his family support the option of camp!  

What Aiden and Ruth didn’t know was they did not have to sell too many more paintings.  A few months ago, we had a family win a giveaway for a free week of camp.  This family then unexpectedly had to move away and was unable to use their prize.  The little girl who won this prize asked if I could pass the prize on to a child that would not be able to attend otherwise.  

With the help of this gift from the family, the scholarship, and his paintings, Aiden will also be able to join us for camp this summer.  


The most beautiful part of these two stories is that the heroes themselves asked to help other heroes.  As parents, it is hard to know if you are teaching your child the lessons they need to be a productive part of society, while still having the three tenants of a hero: Courage, Honor, and Compassion.  When you hear stories like Aiden and Kohl, it shows that as a parent, you are successful.

To hear more stories like this, join our Parent Email Group and get in contact with other Guard Up parents. You can also become a part of the Guard Up community by following us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. And if you have any pictures of your child being a Hero at our camp or in our classes, you can share them with our social media channels with the hashtag #MyGUAdventure to share them with your fellow parents and Heroes.