Homesickness is defined as “a feeling of longing for one’s home during a period of absence from it.” But what is a home after all? Can you only have one home or can you bounce from one to the other? Does a home need a roof or could the night sky suffice? Can summer camp, at least for a few weeks, be just as home as where you live? We say, “absolutely!” But even the bravest hero might need a little help getting used to their summer camp home.

If your young hero has never experienced an overnight summer camp, we’ve got an event that might help them out. This upcoming Sunday evening we’re hosting Midnight Knights, an All-Night Adventure. The event begins at 8 o’clock and runs until the next morning when our MLK Full Day Adventure kicks off. Also, you’ll be excited to hear that the night is free for all registered 2020 first time campers! Not registered yet? That’s ok, we’ve got spots for you too.

The event is designed specifically for first time overnight campers to get a taste of what a night in Sidelterra is really like, all while getting to know the other first time campers they’ll be adventuring with this summer. There will be games aplenty, lots of chill time in The Castle, a campfire (of the imaginary variety, we are indoors after all), and lots of cozy cots to rest on. There may even be some characters, both familiar and new, making appearances, but you’ll have to be here to find out…

This event is for ages 8 and up. Food is not provided so please be sure your stomachs are full prior to arrival. It will lead directly into our MLK Full Day Adventure, which requires separate registration. The event is free to anyone who is new to Overnight and has already registered for summer camp, but pre-registration is required. The cost for non registered campers is $99, but if you sign up for camp by 2/21, the $99 will be applied to the registration, which can be filled out here.

Summer Camp is officially wrapped for the 2019 season. Thank you to everyone who participated and helped make the magic real for the young heroes at King’s Watch Day Camp here in Burlington. After ten weeks of nonstop adventure, there’s a whole lot to remember. Here’s some of our amazing counselors’ favorite bits…


John Cordero

“I loved playing Gilgamesh. I loved playing an evil villain and watching the kids band together to overpower and defeat me as a team. They had to surround me and I was force-fed a potion, which was pretty ridiculous and cool.”
“I learned a lot about how personalities can mesh…or clash. It was also interesting to observe how when you try to explain something to an 8 year old they’ll understand faster than a 50 year old, becuase they don’t hold onto old knowledge and are more open to new ideas. We can learn a lot from the kids.”

Elena Nahrmann

“I also loved playing out the Gilgamesh plot. The campers manufactured a magical weakening potion using STEM and the PH scale early in the day. After there was a this great big battle…it was epic.
Demon Town was a great part too. It was sort of a land of the dead and in order to buy stuff everyone had to do favors and sign contracts since there was no money. Everybody was making each other do silly dances to get potions and powers. Also John acquired one camper’s soul. All the campers fought together to get it back. I think that was my favorite week.”
“I learned how creative kids could be, especially when they started bartering with souls, which we did not expect.”

Sarah Galevi

“I really enjoyed the Orchestrated Meditation for the plot. We did that so we could call upon the spirit Ninsun to get advise and wisdom in order to beat Gilgamesh. She appeared to them after they had successfully meditated in the spirit realm. The kids were (surprisingly) very into! Not to mention, they were really quiet for a whole thirty minutes.”
“I learned how to be a leader, be more confident, own the situation, and improvise when things don’t go as expected. These kids have some wild imaginations and you’ve got to keep up!”

Mikey Scofield

“It’s always a good time goofing off with the kids, especially during the extended day hours when anything goes. I also really get into making the puzzles in Zombie Camp for the kids to solve.
I made one where they had to read cryptic pictures. The campers were tasked with using the clues in the codes to see how many stones they could put in the goblets. Once the correct amount was used the goblets were  keys to open a temple door to a secret room filled with new mysteries and quests. I mean, c’mon. That’s awesome! It looked so cool and the kids picked up on it really quickly.”
“I learned more about what can make this camp even better. Some stuff we weren’t sure would work actually had a surprising impact. We got to experiment in ways we didn’t expect and I think the kids got a lot out of this summer…and so did the adults. Everybody grew together.”

Outdoor camp has come to a climactic close and we simply cannot thank enough everyone who made it possible. From parents to counselors to the heroes themselves THANK YOU for another incredible summer of adventure.
Let’s take a look back at what your heroes got up to this year at Salem State…


Our heroes passed through The Gate Of Destiny and entered the magical realm of Sidleterra. They chose their respective Houses, got some combat training, and began their adventure with smiles and swords held high. Along the way, they studied the natural world around them, embarked on an archeological dig in an ancient burial ground, solved riddles and puzzles galore, and strengthened their understanding of the 3 Tenets of a Hero: Courage, Honor, and Compassion.
Creatures and characters littered their path as the adventure continued. The heroes met King Gilgamesh, a complex character, and fought alongside him in the shifting caverns. They gathered other magical allies and rid the land of the evil witch Baba Yaga. A cultural educator from the Center for Arabic Culture, Alma Richeh, arrived to teach the heroes about language and music.
In the final days of camp, the tablet of The Patrons went missing so our heroes traveled to a dark corner of Sidleterra where The Gate Of Destiny was originally crafted. They gathered information, banded together under a newly designed constitution, and defeated Tiamat’s giant army of evil. They also made boats…

I’ve literally made the best friends ever at Guard Up and they really taught, and are still teaching me, a lot about friendship and what it means to be a hero,” – Annika (Hero)
(Guard Up) is a place that allows children to have this amazing creativity in a space where they can be themselves,” – Lisa (Parent)


The Defenders entered the world of Asimov’s Foundation series, complete with the Galactic Empire, the Foundation resistance, and our big bad boss The Mule, a psychic mutant with control over the zombie hordes. They learned about the biology of the human brain while saving the helpful robot Daneel and vanquished The Mule by outsmarting his living dead henchmen.
The next week we introduced elements from Minority Report, specifically the concept of Pre-Crime. After learning about the concept, the campers decided that is was unethical to use it for themselves. They traversed a treacherous maze by solving parabolic equations, learned about punnet squares, and got to witness Marrow, the leader of the zombies, have a nice sloppy brain for lunch in the cafeteria (this was not served by our cooks, he brought it from home, we promise).

The environment here is really nice. You get to learn all the things that you would in school but in a fun and different way that’s very compelling,” – Panda (Monster Camper)
My son has been part of Guard Up for many many years and he loves the creativity, he loves working with the other kids, he loves being able to play different monsters, and I’m pretty sure he leaves a part of himself in Sidleterra every year,” – Liz (Parent)

Is your hero still itching for more summer camp excitement? We can help. King’s Watch Day Camp in Burlington is SOLD OUT next week but the final week (8/26 – 8/30) still has a few slots left. Register today and add one more week of adventure to your hero’s summer at or give us a call at (781) 270-4800.
We’re looking forward to the next adventures on the horizon with great anticipation. Our storytellers have recently begun creating new interactive stories with a Moroccan cultural consultant, keeping with our standard of cultural respect and accuracy within our stories. Curious what this new tale will involve? Join your friendly local Guardians and find out for yourself…
…but before we dive into that, we’re thrilled to announce our big plans for October! (Hint: it’s got to do with Korea)

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.

“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…


It’s truly a remarkable thing. Think about it…history being presented on something other than the dusty pages of a textbook. Ancient Gods actually walking into the room. Famous battles taking place with you right smack in the middle. Scientific discoveries happening in real time (with real explosions sometimes too). Kids having the time of their lives while developing the skills they will need for the real world once Summer Camp comes to an end.

“In recent years camps have put a greater emphasis on what leaders in the child development field have been saying about the needs of children today. Camp activities and group living in a natural environment are the tools used to create camp communities that provide for successful, healthy development and a place where having fun is a daily criterion. In such a structured environment, children interact with positive role models who have time to listen, talk, relax, and reflect. They learn to work together, make choices, take responsibility, develop creative skills, build independence and self-reliance, and gain confidence. All are necessary steps on a child’s path to a healthy, productive life.”

The above quote is from an article published by the American Camp Association, outlining the real-life benefits of summer camps for today’s youth. Check out the full article right here…or their video below…



More Advice from the Experts

“The building blocks of self-esteem are belonging, learning, and contributing. Camps offer unique opportunities for children to succeed in these three vital areas and even beyond home and school.” – Michael Popkin, Ph.D., family therapist and founder of Active Parenting

“Camp is one of the few institutions where young people can experience and satisfy their need for physical activity, creative expression and true participation in a community environment. Most schools don’t satisfy all these needs.” – Peter Scales, Ph.D., Search Institute in Minneapolis

“What makes camp a special community is its focus on celebrating effort. In this less pressured atmosphere, children learn more readily what positive things to say and do when they make mistakes and face challenges. Brandwein also said, “The traditions and customs of each different camp are like a secret code that allows those who know it to feel embraced by something unique and special…Campers are urged to include, not exclude, others. They are praised for choosing new partners and not always the same ones. They are encouraged to respect the differences between people. In an increasingly sarcastic, put-down-oriented world, camps aim to be an oasis of personal safety where demeaning comments and disrespectful behavior are not tolerated, and children are taught responsible and positive ways to resolve conflicts.” – Michael Brandwein, noted speaker and consultant to the camp profession


Register for Quest Day Camp Today!

Can’t set aside the full time for Summer Camp? Guard Up’s got you covered. Your hero is invited to our Quest Camp day option, taking place at Salem State University. Questions? Give us a call at 781-270-4800 and we’ll be happy to help, that is what heroes do after all…


You’ve had the discussion.  You went to a camp fair, watched a few videos, and it’s official … your child is going to overnight camp for the very first time!  While that’s exciting, it’s safe to say there’s a bit of nervousness all around.  It’s possible that your son or daughter has never spent time away from home.  It’s even more likely that you’re more nervous than they are.

Here are a few things to keep in mind before sending your child to overnight camp:

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