Last week we announced our new Online Homeschool Classes that will start in September for those families looking for alternatives to in-person school. These online classrooms will have an instructor to student ratio of 10:1 or less so that each student will receive appropriate attention and opportunities. The curriculum will cover STEM concepts (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) as well as Essential Learning Skills such as project management and assessing bias in media, all while staying true to our interactive storytelling roots. 

Due to the surge of demand for these types of programs, we are also offering an Online Afterschool Program for our enrolled homeschooled students as well as students with other learning options. This will allow students more social interaction with their friends from camp, school, or their community and to make new friends with similar interests. Participants will become the heroes of their own tales, exploring new and magical virtual worlds while working together with the other heroes to save the day every afternoon.

Our Online Afterschool Program touches on education and provides ample opportunity for practicing essential learning skills but with more emphasis on story, adventure, and camaraderie than education.

On August 26th we will be hosting a free trial day of both the Online Homeschool Class and the Online Afterschool Program. If you wish to register for this event, please fill out the survey.

The schedule for both of these programs is below. There are also an additional 30 minutes of online teacher office time (for our homeschool students to get additional help on lessons) every day between the STEM class and the Essential Learning Skills class. We have provided start times for other time zones to accommodate those students attending from outside of the east coast.

 

Online Homeschool STEM Class:

  • Monday – Friday 1:00-2:00pm Eastern Time (starts: 12pm CT, 11am MT, 10am PT)

Online Homeschool Essential Learning Skills:

  • Monday – Friday 2:30-3:30pm Eastern Time (starts: 1:30pm CT, 12:30am MT, 11:30am PT)

Online Afterschool Program:

  • Monday – Friday 4:00-5:00pm Eastern Time (3pm CT, 2pm MT, 1pm PT)

 

You can find more information on our Online Homeschooling webpage, by calling us at (781) 270-4800, or through our Contact page. You can also register for our online classrooms today!

We look forward to seeing your homebound hero in the classroom!



Homeschooling is a brand new adventure for many parents and we are here to help.

Before the end of August, we will be accepting new students for our Guardian Adventure Homeschool Classes.  Parents are able to choose anywhere from 1 trial week to a full semester’s worth of story-based STEM and essential learning skills. We have made the tuition affordable with 20 weeks of classes as low as $10/hour.

Parents who live in Massachusetts can find out more about the process of switching to homeschooling by visiting the MA Home Learning Association. Since we are prepared to immediately offer 2.5 hours of curriculum and tutelage a day, parents can meet fully half of their learning requirements through our service.

As well, our curriculum can be purchased by current Homeschool groups and Coops so that they can run their own STEM adventures and Essential Learning Skills.  Interested organizations should sign up for our online learning platform. Updates will be sent out as soon as the transfer to the platform is complete.

You can register for our online classrooms today!



ARRIVAL/PARTICIPATION/DEPARTURE POLICIES

ARRIVAL TO CLASS

  1. All entries will be at the back entrance.  
  2. Parents will drive to the back entrance and parents and students will remain in the car.  
  3. While in the car using a cell phone or other device the student will complete the COVID SCREENING FORM.  This form must be completed before every class or you will not be allowed to enter the building.  
  4. A staff member will approach your vehicle to confirm that the form is complete and that the student is wearing a mask.  
  5. Once the staff person has confirmed that all of those requirements are met, they will signal that it is okay for the student to exit the vehicle.  The student will then be directed to enter the building at the appropriate time.  
  6. Students will be directed to particular locations in the adventure/class space to ensure maintenance of social distancing guidelines.  Please observe markings on the floor.
  7. Parents MUST stay in their car at the facility for the duration of the class.  If their child/teen is unable to abide by the health and safety rules, they will be escorted to the exit of the building and they must go to their parent’s car. We will not be monitoring the child after they depart the building.

Classes are being rescheduled to reduce/eliminate overlap in the parking lot.  

  • Adventure/ACE/Historical Weapons  
  1. Remember that students will no longer have the option of using Guard Up weapons or costume items.  Students will need to provide all of the costumes, props, and weapons necessary for their respective classes. 
  2. New students, as part of their introductory lessons, will receive a complimentary foam short sword (for sword classes) at their first class. 
  • Fencers
  1. New fencers will be allowed to borrow fencing items only for their introductory classes. They will then have to purchase fencing gear.  This means that all fencers need to have a replacement blade in case their own blade breaks as they will not be able to borrow one of our foils to complete the class.  Please purchase a fencing bag to transport fencing gear. 
  2. Fencing students should arrive fully dressed, they will not be allowed to change clothes for class while inside the building.  They do not need to be wearing their fencing mask to enter the building but they will need to be wearing a cloth mask and that mask must stay on under their fencing mask.

DURING CLASS

  1. Parents will be welcome to view their children’s classes on our new WiFi Cameras.  You will be provided detailed instructions for downloading the app and accessing the cameras at the end of this document.  
  2. Parents/Siblings/Friends/Visitors/Vendors will not be allowed into the building except by appointment with a particular staff member.  All purchases of retail items, class upgrades, school adventures, events, etc. will be via phone or internet only.   We will no longer accept cash.
  3. Upon entering the building, students will be directed to put any personal items in the “Red Zone” that exists around the entire adventure space.  There will be markings on the floor to indicate proper distancing.  
  4. Students must keep their breathing masks on at all times except for taking drinks from their personal water bottles.  Please note that the water fountain in the hallway will no longer be operating.  Each student should arrive with a full water bottle.  There will be no additional drinking water available to students until 8/13/20 when a foot-operated water bottle fill station will be installed.
    1. Students needing to use the restroom during class will first need to inform the instructor.  
    2. Only one student at a time may head to a particular restroom.  Students will place any personal items or weapons with their other items in the Red Zone or in an unoccupied space in the Red Zone if they have no other items there. 
    3. Students will then proceed to the appropriate bathroom using the hallway that leads directly to the restroom of their gender identity.  If you are trying to reach the boys room from Cyclops or Dragon Room while another class is taking place in the Ogre room, simply use the former Fencing Closet to pass through to the other side.  
    4. After using the restroom, you must wash your hands with soap and water for at least 30 seconds and dry them using the disposable paper towels.  On the way back (using the same hallway) to the class, you should use the hand sanitizer at the entrance to the adventure space as a further safeguard against infection.

DEPARTURE FROM CLASS

  1. At the end of class, students will be responsible for gathering all of their belongings and exiting directly from the adventure space down to the front of the building and promptly exiting the building.  Students should maintain social distancing on their way down the hall and should also use the hand sanitizers as they pass them on their way out.
  2. Students must keep their masks on until they are INSIDE their vehicle.  Failure to keep one’s mask on at any time while in the building or the parking lot is grounds for exclusion from classes.
  3. Parents should be waiting in their cars near the front of the facility.  Regardless of the weather, students will not be allowed to stay inside the building or congregate in the front.  Parents must be present to pick up their students.  Guard Up will not be responsible for students once they depart the building.

ADDITIONAL NOTES

The procedures noted here are part of Guard Up’s overall COVID-19 Control Plan.  This plan is designed to minimize the risks to our students and staff of contracting this, or any other, infection.  It is not a guarantee that any particular student will not contract the virus while on our property.  By entering our building you acknowledge that risk and agree not to hold Guard Up, its affiliates or officers, liable if a student contracts the virus.  We will inform you promptly if a student or instructor with whom you may have come into contact is diagnosed with or tests positive for COVID-19.

Our COVID-19 control plan includes time to clean and disinfect the adventure spaces between classes to further protect everyone.  That is why you may notice that T1 classes are 50 minutes in length and T2 classes are 1 hour and 20 minutes in length.

As mentioned in other correspondence and above, we will no longer allow students to borrow weapons from Guard Up for use during class.  All students are required to purchase their own items either through Guard Up or through an approved vendor for use in class.

ACCESSING THE WiFi CAMERAS

  1. To access our WiFi Cameras you must be connected to our guest network 5WORD5-Guest using the current password which will be shared by a staff member who will meet you at your car.
  2. Once you are connected to the guest network you will need to download, install, and open an app HeimKits from Himalaya Trading Inc.  (You will only need to perform this step once).  
  3. Once the app opens on your mobile device you will create an account by registering your email address with HeimKits.  
  4. Then tap the + symbol to add a device.  
  5. On the next screen, tap Kit and the app will locate our cameras.  
  6. You will see 2863325023 and the letter NVR>, tap the arrow next to NVR.  
  7. On the Add Device screen, you will have to enter the password (provided by a staff member in-person) and then tap Complete in the top right-hand corner of the screen.  
  8. In a few moments, you will see a message that the device has been added successfully.

  • Using the App
  1. You can then tap on the thumbnail to show the live cameras.  
  2. There are 3 cameras installed.  You can double-tap the camera you want to focus on to make that camera full screen.  
  3. Once you have set up your access you can view just open the app and tap the thumbnail while sitting in your car.  
  4. We will be changing the password periodically so watch the GuardUpdate for new passwords.


Friends, Parents, and Students,

While our staff thoroughly enjoy running online adventures and classes as well as online summer camp, we are also excited for the day we can slowly open the castle doors and welcome everyone back. As you can imagine, though, when we do come back we know life will never be the same.  

We have been in regular contact with the health department and the state regarding how to reopen safely. Our planned phased reopen date (if the trend for new cases continues to stay level or lower) will be Wednesday, August 5th. Please note that there will be significant changes in both our class schedule as well as procedures. We will start with only one class on Wednesday and another on Thursday so we can help our staff and students ease into our new operation model. We do not expect to be open for all classes and events for quite some time… so we appreciate your patience. We WILL continue with online programming as we phase into a full reopening. After we are fully open, we may continue with online programming if there is enough demand.

The health and safety of our entire community require that we change how we do business. Prior to the stay-at-home order from the Governor, we instituted new cleaning and disinfecting procedures as well as installed hand sanitizing stations at the entrance to each of our adventure spaces. These procedures will continue.

SO WHAT COMES NEXT?

After polling our staff and some of our clients, we have decided that we will not be providing offline summer camp during August. We will continue our successful course of Online Day Camp sessions through the remainder of the season. If you plan on attending more sessions, please register ASAP as some of the weeks are close to capacity.

We are also partnering with a school in the UK, creating online STEM adventures and classes for their teachers to use and distribute to their member schools. In addition, we will be making this curriculum available via our Learning Platform for schools here in the US which are opting to either teach remotely or perform a hybrid of remote and in-person schooling.

As well, we are researching the possibility of running Remote Homeschooling Classes for our customers who wish to continue their education online during the school year. These classes will be made available for any existing and new students. If you are interested in these classes, which will be held Monday through Friday from 11-2pm, please let us know.

OUR PHASED REOPENING SCHEDULE

The first week in August, we will start phasing in our in-person classes.  Here is the latest version of the schedule. These classes are open to anyone homed in that day’s same class/age type. If there is enough room, students from other days may also attend. We are starting with NERF and Fencing classes first because it is easier for students to maintain distance and also to limit contact exposure. Note that the classes now end 10 minutes early so that our team can disinfect and to limit cross-traffic between entering students and students leaving class.

The following are now available as in-person classses:

Wednesdays 4-4:50pm for youth fencing

Thursdays 4-5:20pm for NERF ACE (combined with Sword ACE to make one T2 class – students from either class can attend, however only NERF blasters will be used)

Saturdays 10-11:20am for TS fencing and 12-12:50pm for T1 fencing

NOTE: Arrive dressed for class! There will not be any available space for changing clothes.

NEW SAFETY MEASURES FOR PARENTS, STUDENTS & STAFF

The next phase in our effort to be able to open and operate safely is halting the use of shared/borrowed weapons. Effective immediately:

    • Properly fitted and worn Masks (not handkerchiefs) are required of all students, staff, and any individual in our facility, in our parking lots, or anywhere on our property. Before exiting your car or stepping foot onto our property, you should be wearing your mask. Mask MUST cover the bridge of the nose, nose, mouth, and full chin.
    • The only shared weapons will be the ones used by staff or non-player characters (those playing story enhancing characters instead of their own character).  Enrolled students MUST have their own weapons and equipment in order to enter the building and attend class.
    • Admission will be done through the back and the front door will be solely used as an exit.
    • Anyone in the building is expected to maintain social distancing of six feet.
    • Parents will not be allowed inside the facility and all transactions will take place over the phone or through forms/emails. Livefeed cameras have been installed so that parents can still watch their students in the adventures from the safety of their cars.
    • We will maintain a small inventory of fencing gear that will be available ONLY to trial students arriving for an introduction to fencing class. Enrolled students MUST have their own equipment in order to enter the building and attend class.
    • We will also provide a limited inventory of foam swords and NERF blasters for one-time experiences such as birthday parties and events. These will NOT be available for enrolled students or campers to use.
    • All equipment used by staff and one-time or trial students will be sanitized at the end of each class or day and may not be used by a different person until it has been fully sanitized.
    • Trial students enrolled in paid introductory lessons to non-fencing classes will receive their own complimentary short sword prior to their first introductory lesson which they will then take home.  
    • Proper signage reminding everyone of these rules shall be posted at the entrance and other conspicuous locations throughout the facility.

In Sum:

  • Enrolled students and campers must provide their own authorized equipment and they must take it home after each class to be washed or disinfected.
  • You will see this policy repeated often because it is very important that you understand that those who show up without their own properly fitted mask and weapons or equipment will not be able to participate or enter the building.
  • There will be no exceptions to this policy.

REQUIRED EQUIPMENT & PURCHASE DISCOUNTS

For Fencing Students: To avoid any missed classes when we return to operation, please visit http://www.blue-gauntlet.com/ now and order your equipment. If a student has questions about their sizing needs please call us at (781) 270-4800 or contact us with your name, email, and phone number and one of our staff will get back to you. We feel that directing you to our supplier will provide you with the most savings possible and also allow you to have your equipment delivered directly to you.

Required Equipment (MUST be purchased in advance by students and brought to each class): Foil, Glove, Mask, Jacket, Plastron, breathing mask.

We recommend this breathing mask for fencers for under their fencing mask:

Absolute Safety Sports Mask

  • $19.99 each
  • Athletic fit face mask suited for fencing as it extends down below the bib as well
  • Can also use this mask for other activities increasing its value

For NERF Students: You must own your NERF Blaster. These can be ordered through Amazon or Walmart or many other retailers. Note that due to the nature of streamlining the items we carry and have to disinfect, we will only be using Rival rounds and so all NERF blasters that are used in our classes and programs should be compatible with Rival Rounds. You can see the RIVAL Blasters at https://nerf.hasbro.com/en-us/rival. Please order now to have them ready when the castle reopens. Blasters that have been modified to make rounds shoot faster or harder will not be permitted onsite. Again: NERF blasters that use NERF darts will NOT be permitted at the facility… only those that use Rival Rounds.

For ACE and Points & Powers: Most of you own one or more foam weapons. However, if you don’t own a sword or shield or if you wish to purchase more, we have extended the 25% discount on these items. You can access our Online Order Form and we will have your items shipped to the castle for pickup when we reopen. Those who come to class without their own weapons will not be able to enter the building or participate in class.

Required Equipment (MUST be purchased in advance by students and brought to each class):

ACE: Eye Protection, Rival NERF Blasters 

P&P: Eye Protection

 

And finally, let’s talk about gloves. Some people think they will help reduce the spread of viruses, others disagree. In general, the argument is that you are less likely to touch your face while wearing gloves and you are not touching people or objects with your bare hands. On the other hand, once you touch a person or object with your gloves they are potentially contaminated and you would not normally sanitize them while on. Consequently, frequent hand washing and the use of sanitizer are considered your best protection against the spread of germs. If you use gloves, be cognizant of the dangers of touching your face or bringing them home with germs on them.

 

CONCLUSION & THANKS

Requiring our students and campers to purchase their own weapons was not an easy decision. However, based upon currently known guidelines from the state, it seems a clear decision. We know it is a change to the way we’ve done business in the past and that change is never easy. We understand that. But harder than change is the fact that the failure to adapt the way we interact with one another puts everyone’s health in jeopardy.

We will be sending out additional information in the following weeks with the following:

  1. How to engage with staff regarding your account
  2. Filling out and submitting COVID screening forms before each class day
  3. and much more…

Our heroes have learned the importance of Courage, Honor, and Compassion. We wish to lead by those very same virtues and there is nothing more compassionate than allowing for inconveniences in favor of the safety of our friends and family. To quote one of our favorite movie lines, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one.”

If you have any questions, please contact us and we will be happy to help you. 

We look forward to seeing you back at the castle soon.



Even before the beginning of social distancing, summertime meant a season away from school. While many of our children excitedly await the break from classroom learning, our hope remains that our growing heroes will never stop learning. Learning doesn’t solely take place in the classroom. In fact, we believe that some of the best learning happens outside of school.

Student-driven learning, also referred to as informal education, is a wildly successful method for delivery or lessons, comprehension, and retention for heroes of any age. Changing the goal from memorizing facts to actually solving problems that inspire emotional immersion makes learning an adventure.

Our Online Summer Camps are designed to take STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) concepts and integrate them into fantastic stories. Campers are not doing math equations to get a good grade and please the counselor. They are doing equations because without the right numbers the quest will not be conquered.

A recent example of STEM and informal learning being implemented into our stories was the lesson on marine biology in our Online Wizards & Warriors camp. Our merry band of heroes needed to obtain a magical potion, one that would allow them the ability to breathe underwater. In order to concoct this potion, they needed a basic understanding of how it might work. Insert STEM here.

This is how it works! Create an immersive world, deliver an engaging story, give the heroes the autonomy to decide how to interact with the characters they meet, and use real-life applicable education to grant them the tools they will need to succeed. With our camps, there is no need for fear of a gap in your hero’s education.

Classrooms might be closed, but learning is a daily adventure.



Some parents are concerned that your child won’t enjoy a whole week of half-day or full-day online summer camp.  We hear you and we have a solution: We invite your hero to join us for adventure, in the same fashion as our online summer camps, with this trial version which is only 1.5 hours long and is running for 3 days only next week. Let your child see how exciting our educational adventures and out-of-your-chair activities are with Guardian Adventures Online Summer Camps.

The trial camp will follow our Wizards & Warriors story theme, expanding on our magical world known as Sidelterra. Each day of trial camp is 1.5 hours in length (9:30am-11:00am) and priced at $50, or give your hero the gift of all three events for $135. Adventures are reserved for ages 7-10.

Trial camp dates are:

  • Monday July 13th,
  • Wednesday July 15th,
  • Friday July 17th.

To register or find out more information visit our dedicated event page for Trial Online Summer Camp.

Update: We are no longer accepting applications for Trial Camp registration at this time.



What is cultural appropriation? Is it different from cultural misrepresentation? Who is affected by these practices and who can we turn to for guidance? These questions can be uncomfortable to ask ourselves but, especially in today’s national dialogue, uncomfortable questions are often the most important. With this in mind, Guardian Adventures decided to take the first step in beginning a conversation on the topic of cultural misrepresentation in the media.

 

An online gathering of minds was held last Monday with three experts as featured panelists. These three women have been or currently are cultural consultants for the Guardian Adventures team, providing their feedback regarding all cultural details of our camp plots and storylines. From costumes to characters to the furthest reaches of history, myth, and literature, these consultants have guided us in establishing the quality and integrity of our story-based summer camps.

 

First, the attendees to this discussion were introduced to Claudia Fox Tree, a cultural educator of Arawak and Native American culture. You may remember her work from a past Day Of The Dead event. Second, the attendees were introduced to Alma Richeh, a cultural educator for our exploration of Syrian culture. Our campers from last year will remember her as the bringer of song to our summer camp. Third, attendees met Amina Zakki, a cultural educator of Moroccan stories, whose impact will be seen in this year’s Moroccan themed storylines at (online) camp.  The panel was moderated by our CEO, Meghan Gardner.

 

Our panelists delivered thought-provoking stories and perspectives on the topics of cultural appropriation and misrepresentation. The hour-long conversation was well received and, we feel, worth a watch for anyone interested in broadening their own definitions of currently spotlighted terms. If you are interested in learning more about the subject of culture in media, you are invited to watch the panel program about Cultural Appropriation and Misrepresentation online.



 

We’re getting everything in place to host the best online summer camp experience we can for you and your hero. Adventures are being imagined, virtual worlds created, and our staff is getting prepped to be the best counselors (or monsters) that they can be. There’s a lot to cover, especially as this year will be different than any other before it. Luckily, we’ve gotten pretty good over the last twenty years at making learning fun. Every day the team is joining on Zoom to learn new skills, protocols, and creatures.

What’s staff training like for an online summer camp? Take a peek at this synopsis of half of the training that took place last Tuesday…

The day began, as most training does, with an ice breaker. We couldn’t “pass the ball” around, so instead, we chose an intellectual warm-up. Everyone explained, in surprising detail, what insect they would be and why. This was followed by a game of virtual hide and seek, acting as both a fun activity to use with the campers but also a vehicle for familiarizing oneself with the functions of Zoom as well as sharpening spatial awareness.

After that, discussions were held on managing camper behavior, screen etiquette, and how the “tree” of our staff is set up. This lead to a discussion on allowing the campers, or heroes, to lead their own stories. Even if we are not live and in-person, this idea continues to be an essential part of a Guardian Adventures summer camp experience. Adventures are pre-designed but can, and will, be edited in real-time to fit with what the heroes decide. Our virtual world is a living one mixed with magic and autonomy, which are a conscious part of all of our camps.

Once the nitty-gritty details were covered, we dove back into the fun! Improvisation is a key component of what we do, so it’s only natural that improv games are part of our training. The games played included challenges that sharpen quick thinking, promote nimble minds, and help our counselors stay one step ahead of the kids so that the story can stay living. We also played games that assist in time management, with the goal of packing as much adventure into the day as possible.

Halfway through the day, we were joined by our founder, Meghan Gardner, who shared some company secrets (sorry, we can’t share those here). She also dove into detail on the company’s ideals of Courage, Honor, and Compassion. These are applied not just to our campers, but to our entire staff. We discussed the importance of our cultural educators.  Some of whom, are participating in a panel discussion today about cultural appropriation (if you attended, good for you!). Meghan and the team discussed the facets of Informal Education and Student Lead Learning, both of which are very apparent in our STEM modules during adventures. We discussed some of the lore of Sidelterra too, from the Greater Spirits to the most minimal characters campers might encounter.

We also dove into what we call “APB” or Autonomy, Progress, and Belonging. These are very important to create the inviting, accepting, and educational environment that we are known for. Going online doesn’t make any of these less crucial and we are prepared to maintain these ideals in every adventure that we lead.

Seems like a lot of stuff to cover? Believe it or not, but this was just one day. Just one half of one day. Yes, our staff training is rigorous and that is to ensure that this year’s summer camp, even online, is the greatest adventure we can possibly provide. We are beyond excited to still offer amazing camps for our heroes and thank you all for your support as we’ve made this a reality.

Until camp begins, we wish you all health, happiness, and adventures of your own. We’ll see you in Sidelterra very soon!

Not registered for camp yet? Start your registration process today at: https://guardup.com/online/online-summer-camp/



Needless to say, things have been a little…different this year. Life threw our merry band of adventurers a curveball, but our heroes are the kind who won’t back down from a challenge. Our parents, our students, our campers – everyone came together and helped our team make an online world a truly amazing and magical place. We thank you all profusely for the enthusiasm that you’ve provided in making Online Summer Camp a wonderful adventure that we can all look forward to this summer.

Quarantine won’t last forever though (even if it feels that way). We’re excited that we’re beginning to see hints of normalcy on the horizon. With what we’ve been told from both national and local health agencies, we are hopeful that The Castle will begin to reopen to our community midway through Phase 3 of Burlington’s reopening. Phase 3 begins June 29th (as of now – this could change), which means very shortly after that you’ll begin to see events and classes being announced as in-person and back at our favorite facility.

We will still only hold camp online through June and July, but the possibility of seeing some of our regular adventurers in person has our entire staff smiling. We expect that fencing and NERF will be two of the first classes to return to The Castle as they provide the most protection against person-to-person contact.

We also are brainstorming how to hold full-day adventures, similar to our school break adventures, on a limited first-come-first-serve capacity, reserved for currently active members and campers. This will help us prepare for the possibility of a full day camp at our facility this August.

We are working diligently to make sure we do everything we can to keep the facility safe. At the start, classes or events will not run simultaneously, limiting the number of people inside the building. New cleaning measures will be put in place indefinitely.

One important difference is that student and camper equipment will no longer be shareable – which means that you must bring your own personal equipment.  In order to offset this expense, we are offering significant discounts for a limited time on our 2020 Retail Order Form.  We are not providing Fencing Equipment at this time and encourage you to purchase your equipment from Blue Gauntlet or another reputable provider. If you or your child typically use our facility equipment, please be sure to arrive at our facility with your own equipment already in hand so that you can enter the class, camp, or event.

Requiring our students and campers to purchase their own weapons was not an easy decision.  However, based upon currently known guidelines from the state, it seems a clear decision. We know it is a change to the way we’ve done business in the past,  Change is never easy.  We understand that.  But harder than change is the fact that failure to change the way we interact with one another puts everyone’s health in jeopardy.

Our heroes have learned the importance of Courage, Honor, and Compassion.  We wish to lead by those very same virtues and there is nothing more compassionate than ignoring our own inconvenience in favor of the safety of our friends and family.  To quote one of our favorite movie lines, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one.”

We are constantly striving to make our castle a safe space for learning, having fun, and adventuring with your friends in the Guardian Adventures community.

Warmly,
Your Team at the Castle

PS  With all of this in mind, we’re curious: What would you want to see make a triumphant return to The Castle first? Let us know in the form below. Until we see you again face to face – stay active, stay engaged, and keep adventuring.


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We recently shared a Survey designed for the parents of our young heroes and adventurers. Our hope is that we can better understand your concerns and offer solutions that will not just ease your mind but improve you and your camper’s experience this summer. Below are some of the most prominent answers we saw from the 34 parents who shared their thoughts along with our responses.

 


79% of our camp parents see physical activity as the most important part of an online summer camp, closely followed by personal interaction and then STEM learning.

Rest assured, our online summer camp does not mean an entire day of staring at a screen and clicking your way through a story. Our camps are based on stories that lead the campers through grand adventures… and adventures need heroes who can overcome any type of obstacle. We’re creating those obstacles to be both in our fantastic online world as well in the real world around us (even outside).

Actions won’t just be typed or stated, they’ll be performed by the camper: “Dodge! Attack! Parry! Jump! Reach! Run (in place)!” Before a hero can enter battle they’ll need to choose skills and equipment to defend themselves. They’ll hunt the house for just the right props. Before a hero can solve a puzzle they may need to find certain objects from nature. They may travel to the backyard and start poking around.

Heroes also rely upon the help of their fellow adventurers. Our stories are designed to promote teamwork and cooperative creativity. There are also time blocks dedicated to letting the campers interact, encouraging friendships that feel real, even if separated by a screen.

We have made STEM a major component of our online adventures, just the same as our in-person camps. Using printable cut-out materials and lists of basic items found at home, STEM activities are a key part of solving puzzles and saving the day in the online world they are navigating.

Many parents are worried that they will be incapable of focus on their jobs, working from home, when their child finds themselves bored in a quarantined summer season.

This is something we considered early on and have developed a system to help.  We are sending out instructions for connecting to Zoom and Google Classroom platforms ahead of time. We also have a Tech Check day before camp begins to make sure that your child is versed in how to log in and navigate the adventure.  Our objective is to keep your campers engaged so that they need as little of your assistance as possible.

If budget is an issue, many organizations are recruiting the help of online summer camp companies (like ours) to provide their work-from-home parents the child care support they need to keep up. Online camps are an excellent solution to combatting boredom at home. If this is something that concerns you as a work-from-home parent, you can ask your employer about considering hiring us to make your life easier to manage and your company better succeed this summer. You can share this link with them and let us take it from there: https://guardup.com/online/company-online-summer-camp/

As well, we are still accepting applications for scholarships for those families on limited income at this time.

Some parents fear that their child will experience social skill regression as an outcome of the quarantine. There is also a hope for an increase in mental health due to a sense of belonging.

Our online adventures heavily rely on communication and team efforts. Interaction is imperative for saving the day! We’re also extremely proud to be a company that for twenty years has been praised creating a sense of belonging for our students and campers. This is not something that will be lost moving online. Our programs are designed from corner to corner to create an environment where everyone can belong and feel like they really are a hero amongst fellow Guardians. That sense of belonging will increase mental health, confidence, and peer to peer skills. We are strongly committed to this and have it in mind every day.

Online safety is a big part of parents’ unease.

We’ve been online since the moment we shut the castle doors in mid-March. During that time, we’ve held weekly classes and events, birthday parties, and a full week of Spring Break. We feel confident in saying that we’ve had a lot of time and practice with our online classroom. A big part of our adventure thus far has been learning how to best maintain safety, both physical and mental, in everything that we do with the kids.

All of our staff and counselors are trained in our methods of hosting online adventures. There are many protocols in place to keep your camper safe and engaged.  If you feel you have specific concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can address them.

We do hope to see your camper in our online camp this summer and we look forward to keeping them mentally, socially, and physically engaged in our educational adventures.  If you haven’t registered yet, please do so now so that you can enroll your camper in the full or half weeks that best fit your schedule.  Let the adventure begin!

 


If you haven’t yet done so, feel free to share your opinions with us using the Parent Survey, still open for responses. Thank you all for your continued support and feedback that is essential to improving our Guardian community.


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