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/

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