The global pandemic is a global conversation, with experts in a wide variety of fields discussing the impact it has had on our communities. One such expert is Dr. Saul Rosenthal Ph.D., a health psychologist as well as an active parent of a year-round adventurer with us. He has been sharing innovative ideas and thought-provoking conversations with his community through a podcast. Recently, our founder and CEO, Meghan Gardner, was a guest on the podcast to discuss a number of topics relating to the virus, the summer camp industry, and families. You can listen to the podcast episode on Dr. Rosenthal’s website.

Meghan and Saul discuss numerous aspects of how COVID-19 has impacted the 2020 camp season for Guardian Adventures, both positively and negatively. But before we can examine these key points, it’s important to define what Online Summer Camp with our Guardians is like, inside and out. Meghan elaborates on this with a clear image – a living videogame. She explains how videogames can engage their players in immersive environments and stories utilizing the core concepts of Autonomy, Progress, and Belonging (APB).

Autonomy is the player’s ability to choose their own actions and experience the consequences or rewards that follow. Progress is an obvious measurement of the player’s advancement through the story while they “power up” as they make beneficial choices. Belonging, regardless of social distancing, has not changed. It is still defined as a sense of being part of a group or community, one that supports each individual as they advance through the challenges. This is something many parents attribute to the Guardian Adventures summer camps and, thanks to online innovation, can still have their campers experience this summer. Although we pride ourselves in being an “unplugged camp” (phones and tablets are relinquished when camp begins), the offline, in-person experience doesn’t need to be lost as the adventures become digital.

The conversation of the interview flows to the safety precautions being taken both online and upon the reopening of businesses. We have been checking in with local health departments on a regular basis to stay up to date with new regulations and recommendations regarding safety during this pandemic. When in-person camps return, it will be because we feel confident that it is the right time to do so.

We then get a sneak peek into the philosophy of Guardian Adventures and our story-based adventures. The idea of “fun before learning” is pondered and applied to lesson retention. Imagine a chalkboard with a “Ferris Bueler’s Day Off” droning lecturer. Now imagine a powerful wizard explaining the physics of a catapult. One definitely seems more accessible, especially to imaginative children, than the other.

The excitement of an adventure makes the education engaging on a level that is hard to grasp until you (literally) live it. But there’s more to learn from our adventures than just STEM. The ability to play a character within a story allows our campers to become the heroes of their own tale. What happens when a mistake is made? The character receives the consequences – not the camper. This frees the adventurers to experiment with morals, decision making, and with their own personality traits, without the impending fear of personal failure. That is an incredibly freeing experience and one that we believe can help inspire the heroes of tomorrow.

We also hear some new details about Guardian Adventures program licensing (currently being playtested by 200 or so camps) and the importance of our full-day immersion this summer. There are no local in-person hangouts for kids so the hope that youth will get out and socialize is diminished by the lack of swimming pools, parks, playgrounds, etc. This is why online camps will be unprecedentedly valuable this summer. Our programs can help keep social engagement high with kids this summer and our licenses allow organizations from around the world to do just that.

Lastly, we get to learn what Meghan’s doing to keep herself healthy. One word…family. Family is an unspoken positive outcome of this quarantine. More and more families are finding themselves looking forward to eating their meals together, spending valuable time together, playing games, and exercising. These are the kinds of activities that are helping us all get through this sluggishly moving time.

About Dr. Rosenthal

Saul Rosenthal, Ph.D., is a developmental and clinical psychologist in the Boston area. Over the past twenty years, he has built expertise in integrating biological and psychosocial approaches to wellness. He works with clients across the lifespan, families, and organizations to help them manage persistent health issues, anxiety, and stress. He is particularly interested in the complex biopsychosocial factors involved in conditions like chronic pain.
In addition to private practice, Dr. Rosenthal has worked in a variety of medical and community health settings, including serving as Training Director and Biofeedback Coordinator of Behavioral Medicine at the Cambridge Health Alliance. He also served as a training psychologist at the Edith Nourse Rogers Veterans Medical Center as part of the Primary Care Behavioral Health service. Dr. Rosenthal presents a wide variety of audiences on topics related to parenting, health, and stress management. He is also involved in training, supervision, and mentoring.m


We say the word “adventure” quite often among our fellow Guardians and no other word truly sums up the last two months. Since we closed our castle doors to the public and to our staff, every day has brought new obstacles and new solutions. The digital worlds we’ve created from scratch are now home to countless characters, both allies and antagonists. New friends have joined us along the way from all across the nation. Our merry band of adventurers has set off on quests of all sizes, from single hour roleplaying scenes to a full week of Online Spring Break (those werewolves were pretty difficult to vanquish).

Needless to say, these online games and stories are adapting every day we enjoy them with you. We are thrilled with the level of engagement we’ve seen so far from these innovative efforts and we’re bringing that enthusiasm to the design and creation of our online summer camps, coming soon to a computer near you.

These new tools, ideas, and worlds are ripe with possibility. Live summer camps are still our true love but we can’t help but be excited about what online camps can provide to our summer-time adventurers. This is something we’ve never done before and thus will be a completely unique experience. Here’s what you can expect from this brand new style of summer camp:

A new collection of games and activities

The limitations of social distancing have required us to retune many of our usual games. This has produced an entirely new collection of games and activities that are, as always with our services: Safe, fun, and educational. From hands-on STEM activities that adventurers can do at home to virtual tag and scavenger hunts, there’s no limit to the fun that we can still have together.

Visually immersive new worlds to explore

Using the magic of Zoom, virtual backgrounds are a fun new way to add a level of immersion to our live stories. With a few clicks of the mouse, adventurers can be launched from deep space to the vast woods to a mighty castle hall and back again. Zombies and other monsters can pop up at any moment! Our themed slideshows also have endless possibilities for our adventurers to interact with the virtual worlds, maintaining the autonomy you’ve always expected from our story-based summer camps.

The chance to make new friends, regardless of where they might be

Online Summer Camp isn’t “held” in Massachusetts, it’s held wherever that camper has access to the internet. That means that our summer camps are no longer too far away for potential adventurers, no matter where they might be! Summer campers will have the unusual opportunity to make lifelong camp-friends from all over the country and even the world. This is something that we are very excited to witness. The worldwide web is just that – worldwide. Soon, our summer camps will be too. We hope to see your hero join us and make summer a little more magical.

To get more information on the various options we have for pricing and themes of online summer camps, contact us using the form below or visit our Online Summer Camp page.



Guardian Adventures is pulling back our curtain and sharing our new Universal Game System with the online education and recreation community. Our goal is to provide the tools needed for summer camps, recreation departments, event hosts, and afterschool programs to continue offering their services both online and offline. During the quarantine, parents need to have the necessary resources to help keep their children physically and mentally engaged while they are homebound.

We’ve been running, designing, and enjoying story-based adventures for nearly two decades. Since the world went digital, we’ve seen over 90% of our regular adventurers joining us every week and have even developed a fully immersive online summer camp. To us, these advances have been hard work (like…really hard work) but still felt natural as we are a team of gamers, educators, and storytellers across the board. We understand that many organizations will find these online adventures daunting and might be skeptical that they too can accomplish what we have. We believe that you can and are happy to announce that we have a solution.

Over 100 curious parties have now enrolled themselves in our Free Trial of our Online Zombie Adventure. This trial package is designed not just to showcase how much fun an online adventure can be, but to prove that it really can be done! The magic of our new Universal Game System is possible for any organization that is ready to try something new, something immersive, something adventurous. It also includes the offline version of the adventure, so you can use the system post-quarantine.

 

 

If your organization is intrigued by the programs we are offering, please take advantage of this complimentary adventure. Try it out for yourself. See what works for you and see what you might change for yourself.

This is a free preview course where you will learn how to run a Guardian Adventures interactive online event for your attendees. We have also created an offline version so that you can see how the two relate.

What this adventure provides:

  1. Instructions on how to run your own Online and Offline Zombie Adventure along with step-by-step written instructions and a video that walks you through the adventure.
  2. All of the image assets and audio for making your adventure immersive and exciting
  3. Marketing assets such as a digital flyer and banners to help you promote your adventure to your campers
  4. How to use Zoom to run the adventure

What this adventure does NOT provide but what IS provided in our upcoming Ultimate Game System license:

  1. MANY more skills for the players to choose from
  2. Classes such as Scientist, Wizard, Doctor, Warrior, Security, Healer, etc for the players to help define their character – which improves their sense of autonomy.
  3. Groups (divisions or houses) which help your players self select into according to their style of play – which improves their feeling of belonging to something bigger than themselves.
  4. Skill advancement options which allow your players to get more skills and be stronger over time – which improves your retention by giving players a sense of progress.
  5. MANY more assets which help you to create up to 5 versions of the same adventure: Fantasy, Wilderness Protectors, Zombie, and Superhero
  6. Offline versions for all of the above which explain how to run these versions at offline, in-person camps.
  7. And of course, the option to purchase pre-written modules which provide step-by-step instructions for running the adventure both online and offline along with all necessary assets for the adventure and for marketing.

Our objective is to help you see how stories and gamification can be used to create a more immersive and engaging program – both online and offline. If you are able to present this program successfully, we recommend purchasing our annual Ultimate Game System license, which will be released before the end of May.

NOTE: Since our adventures have a game mechanic, if you have a staff person or host who is a gamer, they would be the best person to take the course and run it. Gamers understand how game mechanics and stories interact and they may understand how to run an adventure with more ease and efficiency.  However, we do provide step-by-step instructions in case you are not a gamer.

Please visit (or have your gamer visit) our Complimentary Online Zombie Adventure to register and learn how to run your own 2-hour event for your campers.



It’s amazing to witness how disaster can bring people, and even businesses, together. We have been brainstorming with other summer camps across the nation, working together and helping each other stay active while social distancing continues to threaten the industry as a whole. The geographical distances between us are no longer a factor and alliances are being made by camps literally all over the world. We are all working together towards one unified goal: To be able to provide the best possible services to our communities.

The sustained level of uncertainty, however, is making this goal a challenge. The summer camp industry needs to prepare for the summer season if its at all possible to go live, but we are getting almost no guidance from our local government and even less at the federal level. Will camps be allowed to operate live? We don’t know. Will camps have to be provided only online? We are ready to do so, but knowing this sooner would certainly help us know where to focus. Will a new hybrid of the two be the case? Again, we could do this better if we had at least an idea.

These are the questions that need answers (or at least educated calculations) if our industry is going to do prepare. The answers need to come from local health departments and local governments. Even if the state government allows summer gatherings, the local health department is still the final voice – but the guidance of the state in that decision would certainly be helpful. So, we urge you — please write to your state government and local health department. Remind them of their neighbors in the summer camp industry. Help keep us in their mind as they begin to announce their decisions for the summer season. The sooner we know what we can offer to our families, the better we can provide those services.

It is also important to remind your local officials that, without the services of summer camp and child care, there will be unprecedented obstacles for parents once they are allowed to return to the workplace. If parents are called up to return to their jobs, offices, posts, etc…what about their children? This is an issue that may not have occurred to many officials or employers, but it is a pertinent one nonetheless.

Summer camps are an invaluable service for working parents and will be needed just as much as before once workplaces reopen. Our local government and health departments need to have the summer camp industry on their minds. They will need their local residents, like you, to ask them to do so. Please, reach out.

Until we see you again, we wish you health, safety, comfort, and support. May the adventure go on!

To find your local health department’s contact information, you can use the resources provided here: https://www.naccho.org/membership/lhd-directory



You may have noticed the new Online section on our website. What you may not know is that the summer camp industry is reeling right now. Many camps have not had the resources or skills for translating their programs into an online environment and are announcing their closure for this season… or waiting to see if they can go live. Chris Wiley and Meghan Gardner decided to throw together a last-minute free web presentation for camps on how to move their camp online. It was attended by 45 camps.  After uploading the recorded presentation to YouTube, it had over 500 views in the first 48 hours. It now has over 1,000 views. It was obvious that camps needed our help. So we are moving quickly to help.

In an effort to encourage as many summer camps as possible to hold online camp, we began the process of translating our game and story system onto a learning platform where camps can learn how to create and run their own programs. We are very excited to announce a partnership with a development team from New England Institute of Technology in helping us with this translation.

Amanda Coler

Amanda Coler is a User Experience Designer who develops gamification techniques that provide individuals who struggle with learning differences, physical and mental health challenges a sense of power, control, and relief. She does this because she has a passion for understanding people and human-centered digital domains.


 

DJ Johnson

DJ Johnson is a digital storyteller, creative professional, and serial entrepreneur with 30-years of experience in helping people bring their tangible and intangible products of imagination to life. He does this by facilitating human-centered design thinking and low-to-high fidelity prototype making. As a life-long geek, he fosters innovation with college students at New England Institute of Technology using a variety of digital productivity tools and savvy, experience-based practices. As a collaboration expert, he has learned to balance idealism and realism. His two favorite mantras are “We are smarter than me!” and “Failure is not the opposite of success, it is the primary ingredient.”


 

Lyn Riza

Lyn Riza is an Educational IT Leader, eLearning subject matter expert and Instructional Designer. As a consultant, she has successfully directed the migration of 10,000 active courses from Blackboard Learn to Canvas in an 8-week time frame. Perhaps the best rubric of this effort was the standing ovation given by faculty when the Assistant Provost announced that the migration was completed!

She is also an experienced instructional designer and passionate about collaborating with other educators and students. She is a seasoned local and national presenter, with topics including transformative educational methods and curriculum development, innovations in educational technology, and faculty development. She has publications in Academic Medicine, the American Medical Informatics Association Journal and CIN, a nursing informatics journal.

Previously, she directed the educational computing and instructional technology efforts across a major life science university. From this large organization and political environment, Lyn learned how to create and implement strategies that facilitate both technology and stakeholder successes.


 

Denise Gautreau

Denise Gautreau is a research scientist-turned-instructional designer passionate about creating meaningful learning experiences. As an innovative instructional designer, she does more than produce ‘read-take quiz’ canned courses. She designs and develops learning materials in partnership with content experts that focus on applied knowledge and core values. She is unafraid to engage others for meaningful change and can ignite enthusiasm and creativity in others.


 

Our hope is that our affordable license and pre-developed curriculum can help summer camps run their own interactive, story-based adventures that appeal to their own campers and provide options for parents who are looking for options to keep their kids engaged this summer. If you know a camp that is struggling with whether they can move their programming online, please have them contact us.



Helping Parents Succeed

Most of us have found habits, routines, and adaptations to make this new (temporary) way of living in quarantine work for us personally but businesses are still finding new obstacles to overcome. Recently, many businesses have been brainstorming new ways to tackle one of the most disruptive factors to the employee working from home: the bored child.

Working from home as a parent is like working two jobs at once and businesses are recognizing that, so what is their solution? Businesses are now contracting online summer camp organizations (like ours) to keep kids engaged and parents focused on their work.

Yes, you read that right. Businesses are contracting online camps as a business expense. That means that employees are reimbursed for their tuition. It sounds unbelievable but actually makes quite a bit of sense. Your organization might be reaching the same solution. Now is the time to ask! You can share this link with your organization, a page designed with businesses in mind.

Many of you received the email last Thursday letting you know that our founder, Meghan Gardner, has been invited to talk on NPR’s All Things Considered about our Online/Offline Summer Camps. We don’t know when it will air yet. We will let you know as soon as we find out.

Since this is a nationally syndicated and very popular show, we expect that we will be managing a large influx of registrations for our online camp and events. So we are letting you know in order to give you a chance to sign up immediately. There is a good chance our camps will meet capacity (because we use the same ratio of counselor to camper as our live camp). As well, if we are given permission to go live with camp this summer, all online campers will be given 2 days to convert to live camp. If there are spots left after that, we will then accept additional campers.

By signing up for any version of our online camp, you will have the option to upgrade that week to any other Guardian Adventures camp type. You will only have to pay the difference in tuition between the online and the offline camp (on any unused camp) in order to attend the offline camp. But remember – you will only have 2 days to make that upgrade before we open up registrations to everyone else.

Note: After May 16th, our pre-registration prices will change to full pricing. However, if you sign up for camp before then and want to upgrade, we will honor the pre-registration pricing.

So please, if you plan on having your hero attend camp this summer, register immediately. We want to be sure that your camper is able to be a part of our programs this summer.  If we are sold out, we might have an alternative available for you as we are receiving requests from many camps about licensing our programs.  We will let you know one way or the other.

Thank you,
The Team at Guardian Adventures

Helping Other Camps Adapt

The world of summer camps is also seeking new solutions to new challenges, and we are one of the resources that they’re using! Dozens of camp organizations attended an online discussion last week on how we moved our Castle to the computer. And hundreds more are requesting access to the video.

You can watch the full discussion here:

How You Can Help Us

If you believe in what we’re doing as much as we do, we invite you to help us as well as the summer camp industry succeed. Here are three easy ways that you can make our efforts even more effective:

  1. Send us photos of you or your child in their online adventures
  2. Tell your local recreation department we have online and offline camp program licensing available to their own #HomeboundHeroes
  3. Tell your business about the efforts of all online summer camps to keep children engaged and help overwhelmed parents working from home. Our entire camp industry needs your support.

Until we see you all again in person, we wish you the very best. Our online adventures continue to improve and grow as time goes by and we thank you for all of the support thus far. This situation is temporary and will end eventually. We’re here for you through the whole thing.

Thank you,
The Team at Guardian Adventures


We know that with these uncertain times, it is harder than ever to plan for this summer. So we wanted to let you know our plans, including contingencies, which may provide you with some clarity and options.
We are running camp no matter what: Online or Live 
(as determined by the local health department)

We are planning on running our camp live and are in regular contact with both the Salem and Burlington Health Departments to make sure that we are aware of any new requirements that might be instituted as the quarantine begins to be lifted. We expect that the live camp experience will be different in some aspects from the past in order to minimize camper exposure to any remaining virus. But we are committed to moving forward with the live camp and required procedures if it is permitted by the health departments who license us.

If live camp isn’t possible because of the determination of the local health department (who has the power to overrule both the Federal as well as the State agencies), we will then run an online version of camp. The online version will have aspects of our April Spring Break online full day adventures as well as the online classes that we have been running since the middle of March as well as more hands-on projects and physical engagement. We have been brainstorming and testing many new activities to make sure that screen-time is seen as a story guide instead of the focus of the camp.

Below, we have provided the online camp information, schedule, and pricing. The pricing for online Overnight and Quest Camps are less than the pricing for the live camp. If you have already registered for camp, and we are not permitted to run a live camp, we will issue the difference in the form of a refund or apply your remaining balance as a down payment for next season (therefore reserving you the lowest pre-season pricing as long as you pay the remaining balance or go on a payment plan by the deadline in early November), or you can offer the difference as a donation to a family in need of tuition assistance.

If you are not currently registered for any camp this summer and you register for camp now, we will only charge you the Online Camp tuition listed below. If the camp ends up going live, we will charge you the difference between the Online Camp and the Live Camp tuition you already paid.

There is a lot of information listed below. If you have questions or concerns, please give us a call at (781) 270-4800 or contact us via our website. We are working hard to make sure we have all options covered and we appreciate your patience and support as we strive to make sure your camper has the best possible summer experience.

Online Camp Details

Online camp will involve the following:
  • Live Zoom and Google Classroom meetings with a video platform
  • Physical activities
  • Group breakouts (separate online classrooms for smaller groups of campers, led by a counselor)
  • Instructions for craft projects that can help their character in the plot
  • Virtual fields trips to museums for plot
  • STEM activities including programming
  • Hands-on STEM projects (materials list sent ahead of time)
  • Scheduled Meal/snack/social times are monitored by staff within our environment (Note: We cannot monitor if the camper moves away from computer or chooses to engage in activities or programs outside of the environment we control)
  • Online Camp will only run Monday through Friday for all online camp types

Requirements for online camp:
  • A big imagination! This is the most important thing of all.
  • A computer with a video camera and microphone. Although not required, a portable device that can be used outdoors is encouraged. Live instructors will work with your campers on our conference platform and once registered, you’ll receive digital files with projects for your camper to complete for the physical aspect of the adventures.
  • A supply of printing paper, cardboard, tape and glue, and paint or markers, as well as any materials the camper wishes to use to create costuming.
  • Sign/fill out the new online waiver form which includes language explaining our digital environment and our responsibilities.
  • Live camp paperwork: We still need this in place in case live camp is approved on short notice so that we can have the health department look over the camper’s health forms, immunizations, etc and get the camp open ASAP.

We are also planning on the possibility that some of the camp weeks or days may be online and some may be live. So we are preparing for both options in order to keep your camper engaged without interruption.

With this in mind, we have the following options:
  • If live camp is only running some weeks: Parents can choose to switch their online camp weeks to when we run live camp, or have the option to stay with online camp weeks.
  • If a camper is unable to attend either live or online camps: Parents can either donate the tuition to our nonprofit sister company, The Story School, or move their 2020 camp tuition to 2021 (we will honor your tuition as paid in full even if prices go up)

Important Reminder: Live Camp Paperwork (registration form, health form, and immunizations form) is still required. We will still require all in-person camp paperwork for all campers who want the possibility of going to live camp as well as the new online waiver form so that we can pivot quickly as soon as we get approval from the health department to go live.

Equinox Event: The Equinox event will be an online event on May 16 from 6-8pm for all pre-registered campers. Please register by paying for at least one camp option and contacting us to let us know you will be attending.

Scholarships & Referrals: We are still honoring all Scholarships and Referral bonuses.

If we do move to online camp, the below online pricing is in effect (for online camp only – live camp pricing will be the same, with pre-registration pricing ending upon notification of our camp going live). Make sure to read the note about the Online Pricing Difference.

Online Camp Pricing

Online Camp Pricing Difference: There will be partial refunds or credits to Monster Campers, Overnight, and Quest campers who have paid for live camp already if those dates are replaced by Online Camp. Day Camp and Day Camp Extended Day pricing is the same for both online and live. The amount of credit/refund will be the difference between the tuition listed below and the live camp tuition you have already paid.

2020 Overnight Online Camp

Monday through Friday (except Blackwatch) 8:30am-11:30am, lunch, 12:30pm-3pm, snack, 3:30pm-5:30pm, dinner, 6:30pm-9pm (social)

Overnight Online Camp Dates: Weekend coverage is not provided
July 6 – July 10: Zombie Summer Camp
July 13 – 17 and July 20 – 24: Wizards & Warriors session 1
July 27 – July 31 and Aug 3 – 7: Wizards & Warriors session 2
Aug 10 – Aug 12: Blackwatch Summer Camp

W&W Overnight Online Pricing: See note about pricing difference above
Register by Start of Session
2 Weeks: $1995
4 Weeks: $3281

Zombie Overnight Online Pricing: See note about pricing difference above
Register by Start of Session
1 Week: $998

Blackwatch Overnight Online Pricing: See note about pricing difference above
Register by Start of Session
3 Days/2 Nights: $700

2020 Quest Online Camp

Monday through Friday 8:30am-11:30am, lunch, 12:30pm-3pm, snack, 3:30pm-5:30pm

Quest Camp Online Dates (weekdays only): See note about pricing difference above
July 6 – July 10: Zombie Summer Camp
July 13 – July 24: Wizards & Warriors session 1
July 27 – Aug 7: Wizards & Warriors session 2

Wizards & Warriors Quest Online Pricing: See note about pricing difference above
Register by Start of Session
2 Weeks: $1330
4 Weeks: $2505

Zombie & SuperHero Quest Online Pricing: See note about pricing difference above
Register by Start of Session
1 Week: $865

2020 King’s Watch Online Day Camp  

Day Camp Online Dates: Monday through Friday 9am-11:30am, lunch, 12:30pm-3pm.
Extended Online Day: Monday through Friday 9am-11:30am, lunch, 12:3pm0-3pm, snack, 3:30pm-5:30pm

June 29 – July 3: Week 1
July 6 – July 10: Week 2
July 13 – July 17: Week 3
July 20 – July 24: Week 4
July 27 – July 31: Week 5
Aug 3 – Aug 7: Week 6
Aug 10 – Aug 14: Week 7
Aug 17 – Aug 21: Week 8
Aug 24 – Aug 28: Week 9
Aug 31 – Sep 4: Week 10

Day Camp Online Pricing: No pricing difference
Register by Start of Session
5+ Weeks: $410/week
2 – 4 Weeks: $475/week
1 Weeks: $575/week
Extended Day: $185/week or $62/day

Little Knights Online Camp (ages 5-7)

Monday through Friday 9am -11:30am, lunch, 12:30pm-3pm.
Extended Online Day: Monday through Friday 9am-11:30am, lunch, 12:30pm-3pm, snack, 3:30pm-5:30pm

Jul 6 – Jul 10: Week 1
Aug 10 – Aug 14: Week 2
Aug 17 – Aug 21: Week 3

Little Knights Camp Online Pricing: No pricing difference
Register by Start of Session
2-3 Weeks: $525/week
1 Week: $615/week
Extended Day: $185/week or $62/day

Remember, we are still honoring Sibling Discounts and Referral bonuses. So please encourage your friends to sign up for camp!

motogp-motorcycle-cota-roadracing-wallpaper-preview.jpg

I was interviewed by a reporter from Thrive Global this week. He emailed me an interesting question about my current Life Lesson and I wanted to share my response with you:
 
My current Life Lesson Quote is “Crash looking down the racetrack”. This comes from way back when my husband and children gave me a Mother’s Day gift of all expenses paid to get my motorcycle racing license (I used to be an adrenaline junky). In the classroom, I remember the instructor saying very clearly to the class before we hit the track: “If you miss your apex on the turn and you realize you are going to crash, then crash looking at where you want to go… which is down the track.”
 
Sure enough, I missed my apex on one particular turn and my bike and I were headed for the bleachers. Immediately, I heard the instructor’s voice in my head and fighting all of my instincts, I turned my head and threw my body in the direction of the track that stretched out to my left. My bike leaned heavily and with my body hanging off, I somehow miraculously managed to make that late apex into a turn as my tire missed the edge of the asphalt by what was likely scant inches (I don’t know because I was busy looking down the track).
 
This has served me well in my business life… not in the single-minded hyper-focus that you might expect the analogy to refer to… but in this simple concept that if my business is going to fail, it is going to fail doing the right thing. My mission is my steering wheel even if I go careening into the bleachers.
 
With this in mind during this pandemic, I have managed to keep every one of my employees gainfully employed except for me. I filed for unemployment so that my salary could go into cash reserves for keeping my staff employed. We have moved all of our programs into an online environment and are running adventures via video conferencing. If families are laid off and can’t pay, we stop their billing but ask them to keep coming to the online class. We are also creating free programming for the general public. Yes, we are suffering financially. We have no new revenue and we are still (virtually) open for business. It’s scary. And it’s a lot of work trying to figure out how to keep going. But at least if we crash, we crash doing the right thing. This doesn’t make it easier. Just a whole lot clearer.
 
A number of our hero parents (and that’s exactly what they are – heroes) have reached out and are donating their vacation credits and unused tuition to other parents who are unable to pay for classes or camp. This is dearly appreciated. We are a small for-profit benefit company so we cannot apply for grants to help our families who cannot afford our services. We just absorb the cost. So every time one of you dedicates your credit or tuition to our other families, you aren’t just helping that family, you are also helping keep our small business alive.
 
So I thank you – each of you – who are helping out others and who are helping us in this difficult time. You are truly the definition of a community in how you reach out to help people (some of whom you have never met) out of kindness and compassion.
 
If you are a family who wishes to donate your credit or unused tuition – or if you are a family that needs help with your tuition – please reach out.
 
Thank you so much for your support.
 
Meghan Gardner
Founder
Guardian Adventures


Although it may not feel like it, summer is just around the corner. While we continue to work harder than ever at providing classes and events to all of you (with the magic of Zoom) we are also still putting in the brainpower to making summer camp season the best that it can be. We’ve got plenty of surprises planned for our young heroes and fantastic stories to tell.

This year, however, we’re not the only ones telling stories about Sidelterra. Our campers will be introduced to two new faces, both of whom are storytellers of a different variety. Say hello to Alex and Sam:

Alex Corbitt

Alex Corbitt taught middle school literacy for five years in the Bronx, New York. He is now enrolled at Boston College and pursuing a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction. His current education research focuses on literacy and gaming. He will be attending our summer camp as a character while writing a paper all about what we do each summer.

Sam Ho

Sam Ho has been a part of the Guardian family for many many years, helping us film our camps and events, making us look spectacular on your screen. As he continues his journey towards being a master filmmaker, he has elected to create a documentary on the Guardians and their young heroes.

We asked each of these storytellers a few questions. Read on to see what they answered…

  1. What is your background regarding your field and regarding roleplay/live-gaming?

Alex: I was a middle school English teacher for 5 years in New York City, and I am now enrolled at Boston College as a doctoral student of education. As a researcher, I am interested in how people learn through gaming. I don’t have a lot of live-gaming experience, but I am excited to learn more with the staff at Guardian Adventures. I’ve always loved role-playing games, and I continue to play a lot of tabletop games today.

Sam: I am a student at Brandeis University, soon to be graduating with degrees in film and economics. I worked on several short documentaries over the past couple of years; I hope to pursue a career in documentary film. Two summers ago, I worked as the videographer for Guard Up, and although I don’t have much role-play experience, I had so much fun working alongside the heroes, and I look forward to capturing more exciting adventures.

  1. What will you be seen doing this summer?

Alex: I will work alongside the staff and study how Guardian Adventures uses roleplay to create immersive learning environments. During the day, you will see me participate in all of the camp events. In the evening I will be reading and journaling to explore how Guardian Adventures contributes to cutting edge of educational research.

Sam: I will be seen carrying out the usual videographer duties this summer, but with a focus on a couple of heroes in particular. These heroes will be a part of a longer documentary piece that will highlight the camp’s emphasis on informal education, as well as the positive impact that the camp’s environment has on its heroes.

  1. What will it accomplish? – What are your goals?

Alex: My goal is to be a long-term community member at Guardian Adventures. I plan to reflect with the staff and write about how Guardian Adventures rethinks traditional schooling. In the spirit of community, I hope to spread Guardian Adventures’ philosophy and inspire educators around the country.

Sam: I hope to create a piece of art that truly shows what this camp can do and puts viewers in the shoes of our heroes. The kids love coming back year after year, and I want to show why.

  1. If I am a parent, what would you want me to know about what you’re doing?

Alex: With permission from campers and their guardians, I plan to conduct mini-interviews throughout the camp sessions. I hope to get to know the campers, understand how they learn best and explore how Guardian Adventures can best meet their goals.

Sam: I want this project to be collaborative. I want the heroes as well as their parents to be involved in the process as much as possible. Through this transparent collaboration, I hope to develop great relationships and create something meaningful.

  1. What excites you most about this summer’s project?

Alex: Guardian Adventures is the most innovative learning community I’ve ever encountered. The staff and campers are brilliant and creative beyond measure. I am humbled to learn and roleplay alongside them. I look forward to witnessing moments of inquiry and teamwork at camp that set the stage for life-long learning and personal growth.

Sam: I’m most excited about capturing the great relationships that are built through these adventures. Huzzah!

While we patiently wait for summer camp season to return to Sidelterrra, there are a plethora of online adventures available to heroes of any age. To learn more about how we’ve developed fully immersive and interactive online versions of our classes, events, birthday parties, and even our annual April School Break, visit the newest addition to the Guard Up website: Guardian Adventures Online.



Keeping children actively engaged in these socially distant times is very important, not just for their physical but mental health as well. Guardian Adventures Online provides parents with the necessary tools to keep their kids stimulated in this challenging time while we all work together to keep our communities safe. Physical activity, an exciting education, and strong creativity are essential for young developing minds, now more than ever. That’s why all of our regular classes, parties, and even our Spring Break Adventures have gone from castle to computer!

We’re proud to announce Guardian Adventures Online School Break!

In our video conference environment, costumed instructors play fantastic characters leading a group of young heroes through an immersive online world filled with puzzles, brain busters, and big boss monsters. The objective is to keep kids from all over the country engaged and entertained during their school break. Encouraging the heroes to work together and think creatively, aspects of STEM Education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) become their tools as they overcome obstacles and traverse the world around them, both on the computer and in their homes.

We also have an upcoming complimentary Zombie Virus Online Adventure:  Take your first steps into an online world with a thrilling, bone-chilling, hand-washing zombie adventure like nothing we’ve ever done before. The story is set when a scientist accidentally starts a zombie virus, spreading dangerously quickly throughout the laboratory you’re locked inside. Clues must be found, puzzles must be solved, and zombies must be stopped. But… don’t forget to wash your hands before you leave, or you just might bring the zombie virus with you to the outside world. This free event is taking place online for participants from anywhere around the country. Register today to receive your login information and maybe even some hints on ways to win the online adventure bite free!

ziombies reach towards you

Along with the free online adventure, we’re now hosting all of our classes at their regular time proving that there are always adventures awaiting those willing to seek them. Along with classes, we’re also working hard to create online birthday parties for young birthday heroes who fear missing out on their big day.

We’ve also prepped all of our regular Friday Night Events for the web and are now taking registrations. Love Dungeons & Dragons? We do too! That’s why we’ve added a weekly D&D Online session every Tuesday at 4 o’clock.

You can learn more about all of our exciting innovations in our new Guardian Adventures Online pages.

Finally, as schools remain closed, parents are watching their children becoming glued to the TV, their education becoming less social and therefore less interesting, and the regular announcement of the dreaded “I’m bored.” We’ve got a solution…


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