Have you ever seen a group of kids or teens playing a video game together? They live the experience intensely and talk about it with passion long after the game is turned off. Games and stories create immersion and inspire engagement. Have you ever wanted to tap into the game industry as a way to attract and retain more campers, students, or participants? We did… so we created programs to do just that.
Our own programs, Wizards & Warriors and Zombie STEM Summer Camps, are the summer camps many adults wanted to attend as a kid – where instead of watching movies or playing video games about heroes, mythological creatures, treasure and adventure, we get to live it! Kids and teens play a character of their own design, battling monsters (with foam swords or NERF Blasters, negotiation skills, or just their wits), and solving mysteries.
Buried within our adventures is the real treasure: Education. Heroes learn the physics of foam sword fighting (momentum, power, leverage, etc). Healers learn biology and basic first aid. Woodland Rangers share knowledge of environmental conservation. Mages cast lightning bolts by learning about electricity. Negotiators learn social emotional skills for navigating conflict. And much more.
In order to run an adventure like this, you need training. So we took our decades of experience and created online training programs so others could run these exciting programs. The courses are based on our creative staff’s combined 100+ years of experience creating story-based STEM Summer Camps, weekly classes, themed birthday parties for our corporate clients.
Each course takes you or your instructors or counselors step-by-step through how to run an educational adventure with lessons, videos, downloadable documents, material lists, troubleshooting tips, knowledge quizzes, and more.
Once a course is complete, you can run the program for your clients or students as many times as you wish as long as your annual license is active.
Whether you want to create programming for your summer camp or weekly classes or online adventures to run in between in-person events, you can provide any hero with an adventure no matter where they are. Story-based adventures with live action roleplaying create a high level of immersion and engagement because participants play the role of a hero who battles villains or monsters and solves mysteries using STEM and teamwork.
If you are like most educators or event hosts, you might not have the time to develop your own program – or the training materials for teaching your staff – and then playtest it and refine it over years. Fortunately, these programs do that for you.
If you want to run an educational adventure that requires less preparation and rules, then the Complete STEM Adventures are self contained programs that you learn in about as much time as it takes to run them.
If you are looking for a simple, entertaining online-only event for your participants, one of our courses that teaches how to run Online Birthday Parties may be the best option with a variety of themes and the flexibility of serving young heroes who are not local.
If you want a system that is more adaptable and will give your campers or participants more autonomy and a deeper sense of belonging, then the Universal Game System (or UGS) is your best bet. This is a complete system with rules, manuals, handouts, antagonist and allies, 6 different themed story backdrops (think of these as the “universe” in which you run your adventure), and marketing materials for promoting your adventures.
The UGS can be run at any location in-person or on Zoom or Google Classroom platforms. This allows you to hold weekly classes or events and even full-day adventures in an online environment or in-person at camps or facilities.
The UGS isn’t just a system that you purchase… It’s an actual online course that teaches your staff how to create adventures and run them as well as providing digital slides, printable instructions, and marketing materials for promoting your adventures.
If you would like to just “dip your toe” into the world of live action role-playing, you can try our free UGS Lite, complete with a 1 hour sample adventure!
The Universal Game System is a full game system that allows you or your staff to create your own programs based on our interactive rules and various themes. Adventures can be designed for ages 7 and up (although instructors can also run a simplified version for ages 4 and up).
The Complete STEM Adventures are self contained courses that are quick to implement and designate which age range the program is designed for. These courses are geared towards teachers and counselors who want to spend minimal time learning
The Online Birthday Parties are self contained courses that teach you how to run a fun and collaborative online adventure geared towards ages 8-11. Almost everything you need is provided including marketing materials, training, and digital assets. You just need a laptop with internet access, camera and microphone, zoom, and of course, your heroes!
“Simply put, Guard Up changed my life. From the first moment I stepped into the ‘tavern,’ to my last glimpse of the camp before I left, I was totally engulfed in the story, characters, and experience.” – Saul Rosenthal
“What some might dismiss as a geeky alternative to more traditional camps, where sports and art classes rule, is actually a precious, even irreplaceable resource to the population it serves… these kids get to engage in more physically challenging and socially interactive versions of the [computer] games they already love. For many, the excitement comes from playing characters of their own creation in a multilayered adventure story their actions help shape. For others, it’s about sword fighting. But everyone seems to agree on the value – and fun – of turning video-game materials into real-life play,” – The Boston Globe
“The affordance to play in a responsive environment is key to engaging players in video games, but [Guardian Adventures] exports the method off the screen and into the real world. Immersive narratives and embodied actions combine to engage players in a range of learning. This illustrates how an informal, story-driven environment can motivate students to take ownership of their learning. Research supports the approach,” – NPR
“What (Guardian Adventures has) accomplished, seems to me, is to have done what Campbell would want us to with his work: synthesize it into our own work which puts us in service to our passion to the fulfillment of not only ourselves, but to the larger community,” – Joseph Campbell Foundation