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.



 

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.



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.



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


Dear Guardian Adventures Community,

We hope you will join us as we have brought ALL of our classes and events online through a combination of Google Classroom, Zoom, and more services that are being added almost daily.  You can learn more about on our Guardian Adventures Online webpage.

We are also proud to announce that all of our story-based STEM summer camps are still taking place using the same online resources as our classes. Live, in-person camp may occur as well if admitted by local health departments. By taking the castle to the computer we are able to provide summer camp adventures for heroes from anywhere in the country!

NOTE: We ARE also opening our online classes and adventures to new students & birthday parties. Just contact us for more information.

Important information in order to participate (for current members):

  1. Classes will be held at their normally scheduled time.
  2. All students who are interested in participating must fill out the below online access form so that we can set up an account for them.
  3. Once students are confirmed and receive login information and instructions, they can join the class at the normally scheduled time.
  4. We encourage Adventure students to wear costuming since this is a two-way video classroom.
  5. We encourage Instruction students from Fencing and Historical Weapons to use their own equipment so that they can practice the techniques that the instructors are covering during the class.
  6. If a class is canceled because an instructor is sick, we will send out details on a “make-up” class taught by a different instructor for later that day or in the week.
  7. You must fill out the below form at least 24 hours in advance of your class in order for us to set you up with a login in time.  If it is less than 24 hours, we may not be able to get you access to that week’s class.

We are keeping our students engaged and learning while we are all trying our best to cope with this situation. We also look forward to seeing you (at least on our video conference platform)!

We do hope you will join us in this effort to support our community.  And we wish each of you health and safety while we navigate this challenging time together.

The Team at Guardian Adventures

 

If you are a current member of Guardian Adventures classes, please complete the below form in order to be sent login information regarding access to online versions of your classes and adventures during our physical facility closure (to slow down the spread of the Coronavirus).

Once your account is verified, we will email you login credentials for a Story School Google Classroom Account.  The email will have instructions on how to access your class.  Unless specified otherwise, your class will occur at its normally scheduled time.

 

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  • Name of Class 3Day of Class 3Time of Class 3 
    If you are a 3 Class Guarantee Student
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