If you’ve been paying attention to popular culture for the past few years, chances are you’ve heard of the Netflix original series Stranger Things. If you’ve really been paying attention, you may have noticed a sudden rise in popularity of the tabletop game Dungeons & Dragons. While there is definitely a correlation between the two phenomena, there might be more to the legendary “game of geeks” than you think…

D&D first hit the shelves in the early 1970’s. In its first year, the game had around one thousand fans playing the roles of wizards and warriors. In its second year, that number tripled. By 2007 over six million people around the world reported playing D&D on a regular basis, making it the most popular roleplaying tabletop game of all time. So why is it that a game made up of just some oddly shaped dice, a grid, and a big dose of imagination has skyrocketed to such fame? The answer is simple: roleplay.

Roleplay is an intriguing concept. You don’t just put on a silly purple hat and become a wizard, you have to adopt a wizard’s characteristics. Your character is no longer imaginary…your character is truly you. The actions are of your character. The consequences are of your character. The real you is completely free from the story. This freedom is a major benefit of roleplay and the game itself.

Imagine a world filled with magic, monsters, and quests of incredible grandeur. Now imagine that you can do or be anything you wish in that world. Imagine that freedom. All of a sudden, the world isn’t such an intimidating place. You can experiment with your morality and take risks that may have seemed impossible before. If you succeed, congratulations…it’s just a game. If you fail, trip, stumble, or fall…it’s still just a game! There is no risk of embarrassment. You didn’t make that mistake, your character did. When there’s no embarrassment involved, you might find yourself becoming a bit braver than you thought you could be. Roleplay is the perfect opportunity to grow. Your character is a vehicle for self-discovery and that vehicle can never crash. You’re immune from real-world consequences but you can still learn them in real-time.

You’re finally allowed to make mistakes.

The magic of D&D has been growing in popularity nonstop since it’s humble beginnings in the early 70’s. Here at Guardian Adventures, we fully support the roleplaying juggernaut. It’s a fantastic and fantastical adventure for our kids, teens, and adults where they can grow as heroes in a safe space made up of imagination and comradery. That’s why every other Friday evening we embark on quests of our own with the 5th Edition of D&D here at The Castle!

Our biweekly D&D events have rapidly become some of our most popular Friday Night Adventures. The exponential increase in attendance has actually become so great that we are now implementing a limit to the roster. The capacity for attendance will from now on sit at 8 participants per DM (dungeon master) with a maximum of 2 DM’s per session. This means that the roster will either be closed at 8 attendees or 16 if enough interest arises. With this capacity in place, pre-registration (24 hours or more in advance) will be required for all D&D events at Guardian Adventures. The event registration will close the day before the event. If you don’t want to miss an opportunity to resume your quest, or give the legendary game a try, pre-register today at www.guardup.com/events/



“The Introducer isn’t just a publication, it is a vehicle for creating meaningful connections around the globe that expand social impact.”
This is a mission strongly supported by Guard Up and our CEO, Meghan Gardner, so it’s no wonder that she sat down with the magazine to share our stories of cultural education and life long learning. See what she had to say in the brand new article from The Introducer
As informal learning evolves, Guard Up remains front and center, pushing the boundaries of education. It’s important to us to share what we’re accomplishing and spread the word about this rapidly growing practice. Informal learning is the name of the game at Wizards & Warriors STEM Summer Camp. Heroes aren’t given a question and answer, instead they are presented a challenge. Through overcoming that challenge, the lesson is learned on their own terms. Knowledge is discovered rather than drilled in the grand adventure.

Is your hero ready for the challenge? Bunks are still open at camp this summer. Reserve yours today at www.guardup.com/campreg 


If you’ve come to our Summer Camp before then you’ve definitely heard the word “LARP,” the common abbreviation for “Live-Action-Role-Play.” Sounds like fun! But before you can play…you must create your role. Character development is one of the most creative aspects of LARP. You can be anyone, or anything, from anywhere, or any time.

Take long-time camper Kira for example, or should we say Barrel…

 

 

The possibilities are endless. If that seems overwhelming, don’t fret! Guard Up is always here to help. Try your hand at one of the Character Creation guides. Remember to use Mythology as your resource, get as wild as you wish, and, above all, stay true to your own inner hero.

 

For our Wizards & Warriors Campers: Create Your Character History

For our Zombie NERF Campers: Create Your Character History

 

Best of luck to you all and be sure to have fun as you prepare for an incredible summer adventure! Go Go Guardians.



What do you picture when you read the word: job. Most would answer something along the lines of “the same monotonous task, day after day, fueled by coffee and ibuprofen.”

What do I picture? (yes, I’m breaking the fourth wall for this blog post) Well, let’s run through my week so far, shall we? On Monday I helped a 67 year old man sign up for weekly fencing classes and got to share his excitement of finally jumping back into his passion after a 20 year hiatus from the sport. On Tuesday I spent my break with my NERF blaster, using a Chinese gong for (loud) target practice. Yesterday I walked around our Castle…on stilts.

So what’s on the docket for today? Quite literally, anything! But enough about little old me. Let’s hear from one of our veteran Guardians, our Quartermaster, the incredibly talented Chris Wiley…

Working for a Place You Believe In

My name is Chris Wiley and I am the Program Director for Guardian Adventures, Wizards & Warriors, and Zombie Summer Camp. I get to play pretend for a living and help bring worlds of imagination to life. I am on my 11th year working with Guardian Adventures and approaching my 12th summer with our epic adventure camps.
On any given day, I get to design STEM curriculum, write stories based on myths and legends, pick up a foam sword to spar with kids and adults, dress up and play ridiculous characters (like the villainous Duke of Bones or the friendly Cyclops brothers), or don knickers and a mask and get paid to fence.
I have so many stories and anecdotes over my years with the company. From students growing into instructors under my mentorship to ridiculous birthday adventures coworkers have thrown for me to meeting the love of my life at this very job and marrying her at the campsite where we met, this building and this community of coworkers means so much to me. Guardian Adventures has been an integral part of my life for over a decade.
All of the above are reasons why I started working here and the reasons I enjoy each day I work. But the reason why I stay, the reason why after taking two years of spending time with my family and starting my own family down South I decided to uproot my family and move back to Massachusetts to this company, is because I believe in our mission. The part of working for this company that motivates me the most is that we serve our students and campers — who we call heroes — by challenging them to be better people. Whether encouraging compassion and courage through roleplay and consequences, building a life-long love of learning through story-based informal education, or just helping kids and adults relate to the world around them through unplugged active play, Guardian Adventures helps make kids into heroes and educators into champions.
That’s why I work here and that’s why I believe in Guardian Adventures.

 

 

Needless to say, us Guardians never have to worry about getting stuck in a monotonous routine. There’s always more adventure to uncover at The Castle, and now it might be time for your own adventure to begin…

 

Live the adventure and apply today at www.guardup.com/employment-info for any of our open positions!



“A champion team will defeat a team of champions…”

 

This is a powerful quote. Think about it. It defines exactly what a “team” is: a collective, a collaboration, a unit. When likeminded heroes work together towards a shared goal, they create something larger than themselves. Simultaneously, they become their creation. They become that unstoppable organization. An article from Positive Psychology Program lays out the core of teamwork in 7 elements:

 

1. Team Identity: A group with a strong team identity demonstrates belongingness, a desire to work together, and a sense of clarity around the role of each member. Groups with strong team identity also have high degrees of loyalty.

2. Motivation: A high level of motivation corresponds with the energy and responsibility levels of the team, and whether competition is working for or against the team. Having a motivated team requires knowing and meeting desires, setting stretch goals, reinforcing success, and being persistent.

3. Emotional Awareness: A team’s emotional awareness encompasses the amount of attention the team pays to notice, understanding, and respecting the feelings of team members. Emotional awareness is a critical factor in motivation, productivity, and a team’s ability to collaborate, making it central to the success of every team.

4. Communication: Intuitively, we know that communication is an essential factor for a group of people working together. It provides feedback and guidance on how well each of the team members listens, encourages participation, and discusses sensitive topics.

5. Stress Tolerance: A team with good stress tolerance knows how well it’s doing in managing the pressures of workload, time constraints, and the real need for work-life balance.

6. Conflict Resolution: Assessing a team’s conflict resolution means examining how a team processes disagreement and whether the team is able to deal with adversity as a way to enhance its functioning, rather than being caught up in the conflict. It’s essential for productivity and creativity.

7. Positive Mood: A team with a positive mood has is built on foundations of encouragement, a sense of humor, and an expectation of success. Positive mood is a major factor in a team’s flexibility and resilience, and it’s the heart of a “can-do” attitude. It influences how energized the team’s attitude is.

 

Our summer camps take teamwork to a whole new level with our Houses of Sidleterra. Every House is unique, supplying their own special skills and beliefs to the battle for good. From protecting the weak to conquering the ruthless, each House adds a new way of exploring the magical realm of Sidleterra.

 

Watch the video below to learn about the Houses, do you think you know which one suits you? Try your hand at our Quiz and see if it agrees.

 

 

If you haven’t already registered for camp, fill out the form below and claim your seat in your House. Space is almost gone so don’t wait to jump into the adventure…

 





Role playing games like Dungeons & Dragons have an undeserved reputation for being somewhat … nerdy.  It’s entirely unfair especially considering the massive benefits that role playing games provide.  We wanted to share an article from LifeHacker showcasing the many benefits to be found in the world of RPGs.

Here are a few highlights:

When I first heard about role-playing games, I immediately thought it was something that was just for the nerdiest of nerds out there. I could only imagine how ridiculous it would feel to sit around a table with other people and act like someone—or something—else, pretending to fight goblins and dragons. The entire premise just sounded way “too geeky” for me—even as someone who was way into video games and other “nerdy” things.

Fast forward a couple years, and I found that I was completely wrong. As soon as I took a moment to strip away the facade of monsters and swords, role-playing games revealed themselves to be something far more interesting than other traditional games. Behind the fantasy adventures was a fun social gathering that required you to think on your toes, solve problems, be creative, and ultimately learn how to become a team player. Sound familiar? Yeah, that’s because it’s like every job out there. It turned out that it really wasn’t about the dungeons or the dragons at all—it’s about thinking critically and working like a team.

Playing Cultivates Creativity

Creativity is the bread and butter of role-playing games. They have a certain quality that allows you to transcend typical game interactions. You have real freedom and the ability to move the story forward how you see fit. There are rules for each game, but they are merely the skeleton to whatever story you and your team want to create.

Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to activate our brains, and role-playing games do this incredibly well. When we tell stories—or experience them—our brains have to process language, the cause and effect of events, and also relate it to our own pre-existing experiences. While you’re playing a role-playing game, your brain is firing on all cylinders.

Playing Levels Up Your Social Skills

When you think Dungeons & Dragons, you probably don’t think social skills—but once again, that’s a stereotype that doesn’t necessarily hold true. Role-playing games are 100% social. You need to be able to talk to other people, express how you feel about certain situations, all in a group of people.



Everybody plays games.  Whether you’re a backgammon bandit or a Monopoly master, there’s more than just fun afoot when you roll the dice.  Studies have shown that game play has a variety of learning benefits.   Teachthought.com offers the following advantages to gaming activities:

1. Increase a Child’s Memory Capacity

Games often revolve around the utilization of memorization.   Many popular games require children to remember certain aspects in order to solve the game, memorize critical sequences, or track narrative elements.

2. Help With Fast Strategic Thinking & Problem-Solving

Most games require children to think quickly. Moreover, they have to utilize their logic in order to think three steps ahead in order to solve problems and complete levels. This is great because it is something which helps children in later life as they develop their logic, their accuracy and their ability to think on their feet and outside of the box.

3. Develop Hand-Eye Coordination

Games that require children to use a gamepad or a keyboard and the mouse to operate the games can help develop hand-eye coordination. Not only does this get them more tuned to how a computer works, but it also helps to develop hand-eye coordination because children have to look at the action on the screen whilst using their hands to control what is happening at the same time.

4. Beneficial Specifically For Children With Attention Disorders

Research has revealed that online games can actually help children who experience attention disorders. This was concluded by a professor at Nottingham University (CNN covered it here), and is a notion which has been repeated by many in related studies.

5. Skill-Building (e.g. map reading)

A lot of games contain certain aspects which help children with specific skills. For example, a lot of mystery and adventure games contain maps which children will have to read. This obviously helps their map reading skills and practical thinking. Moreover, there are games, such as football management games, which introduce children to managing finances and general project management.

Looking for a great game?  We highly recommend visiting Harrison’s Comics and Pop Culture in Salem, MA.  Guard Up will be there this Friday (4/12) from 3-6 PM.  Come on in and see everything they have to offer as well as learning about our Zombie Summer Camp and Wizards & Warriors Camp located at Salem State University.


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