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August 21st-27th

A Day in the Life: Survival Camp August 21st-27th

CmcWFEWe ended our summer season with an exciting new program: Survival Camp. This camp featured a close knit group of participants who soaked up a good deal of knowledge about and appreciation for the outdoors. The camp focused on teaching a variety of survival skills with workshops in fire building, shelter construction, knife safety and carving, camouflage, stealth and more. It was amazing to see the focus and dedication our participants brought to these new skills.

Holmes is a beautiful land, and for many of our participants it is the first place they went to an overnight camp. For these participants the week was a homecoming, having spent the past two summers away from the land. Along with survival skills the camp featured some wilderness appreciation in the forms of hiking and nature inspired art.

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Both of the Adventure Games had a survival theme as well. The first Adventure, The Year King by new staff member Devon Brinner, was the tale of a small Yorkshire town in the 1700s in the midst of a famine. At the yearly harvest festival, a group of fairies arrived in town and entreated the townsfolk to help them in their quest to bring back the health of the land, ending the blight. The townsfolk provided this help but the cost was great.

The second Adventure, Nevena Loop by the Sets & Props master Ruby Lavin, took place in a not so distant apocalyptic future, in which the survivors made new lives for themselves out of the rubble. With water being scarce, gangs formed and fought each other over control of the precious resource. Little did these groups of ruffians, scientists, and survivalists know that they would take the creation of this world into their own hands and end the existence of gods once and for all.

Even with two epic Adventures and time set aside for learning new survival skills we still managed to fit in a good deal of fun. Each morning the bunking groups would have a goofy team base survivor challenge pitting them against each other. From scavenger hunts to making wacky human obstacle courses to complete, these morning challenges were the highlight of my day. We also had time for some Wayfinder classics such as Mask Workshop, where we saw some amazing examples of “go with the flow,” and Ninja the Flag, where we used our new camouflage skills to make that game even more intense.
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It was a great end to our summer of adventures. We’ll be back with more A Day in the Life in December for Winter Game. In the meantime stay tuned for the return of our regular Wayfinder Wisdom and Where Are They Now features, as well as some new series we have rolling out. Thanks for reading!

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August 14th-20th

A Day in the Life: Advanced Camp August 14th-20th

Ollie BirdAdvanced camp came and went with a flourish. We played three Adventure Games in six days, and while everyone was a little tired out, we had a great time doing it all. The games kept the camp living up to its name, with every game putting us into a unique world and new magic system. Mike Jones game, Faith and Fire, was first. The game imagined a fantasy world that had begun to pour its magic into technology and gave a fresh spin on a common fantasy conflict with elves facing off against humans in a WWIesque scenario. Humanity (with the help of your dear blog writer) prevailed. Next we played Silence Blooming by Jay Dragon and Jeremy Gleick. The game starts with the introduction of an interdimensional spore, which feeds on sound, into our world. All magic encountered by players is foreign and, to be frank, terrifying. Players worked their way through this eerily silent Adventure Game finding new ways to express character arcs and roleplay intrigue. Finally we played Aurora Rising by Jack Warren. This game featured robots pushing the boundaries of what it means to be alive (and starting a potentially staff sanctioned robot revolution). Players got to experience first hand some of the great questions which have plagued those who read or envision things within the realm of science fiction, in particular at what point does artificial consciousness demand freedom? (If you see any of our production staff be sure to thank and appreciate them as they did an amazing job bring these worlds to life.)Adv. Camp WFE

Outside of the Adventure Games camp was an all-around great time. We were able to get deep into the communal aspects of camp (something only aided by the experience of playing other personas) with three trust workshop blocks, and we managed to have a little old fashioned fun playing both Bloodrush and British Bulldog (classic Wayfinder camp activities). This camp managed to capture, for me, the real essence of what it was like when I was a participant, with everybody putting their all into every aspect of camp. Community experiences only really work with that level of engagement, and we had it top to bottom. We even managed to pull off some super late night shenanigans with a roaring Bardic Circle and a impromptu participant written Adventure Game (a sequel to the one written at Immersion, naturally). As an added personal bonus there was a friendly popularity contest featured at the camp. An SIT, who shall remain unnamed (Django Shizzard) challenged yours truly in an attempt to take the reins. All told the challenger was unsuccessful but as a consolation received some public outpourings of love from members of the community.

Thanks as always for making the community what it is, hope to see you all soon.

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August 7th-13th

Day in the Life: Immersion Camp and High Meadow 2 Aug 7th-13th

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The first week of overnights for the summer was a blast! An amazing, and immersive game and plenty of time together in community.
Legendary Mafia runner, Brennan Lee Mulligan, was back in action. Each round of Mafia takes place in a different town which has been plagued by mafia members. Participants in the game must decide based upon their suspicions on who to vote to eliminate (only learning the truth of their identities once they are out). Brennan set this round in Rome and telling beautiful stories for each round of this game. The citizen did win, but it was a close one! Camp also featured a community night which hosted a combo dance party/ninja the flag game that was a rousing success.

Settlers Keep, Immersion’s Adventure Game by Eliot O’Clair and Mike Phillips was epic! It started in the temple of Mona, one of this world’s gods whose heart was broken when she had to send her dog away. On this night in the temple, players attended the funeral of the greatest monster hunter of all time. Manvera, the second in command for the monster hunters gave a heart wrenching eulogy and lead everyone on a monster hunt in honor of the fallen. While the hunt was in full swing the other players realized there was a new wolf pack in town. Players ended the first night realizing that these wolves were not mere wolves, but werewolves.20747040_1905201539802529_1713754453_o (1)

The day game was an epic hunt for these wolf dens. However at the end of the game Manvera and her gang revealed that they were in fact werewolves and that everyone should join them. In the third and final installment the townspeople holed up in the woods as they retrieved all the silver in the town to make weapons that could slay the ferocious beasts. In the final stand everyone fell to the beasts except one, the person who Mona’s broken heart had fallen into.

One reason the game was so amazing for all the participants was the amount of world building that the campers got to do. Mike and Elliot gave participants the opportunity to create sections of the world that they were playing in such as the names of cities and towns, and the world’s creation myths making the game an openly collaborative experience.
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It was an epic week at our other camp as well, as it was the third and final installment of the War Gate trilogy. This was years in the making and the Swarm (the alien bug race) was out to take over the galaxy once again. This time our heroes (both the human and elven races) discovered a way to get rid of them once and for all, ring peace throughout the galaxy, and save existence as we know it! With such a combat heavy game our staff became curious as to how many times each of the participants died and went to RE (the location where you receive a new character after dying). They asked how many people went once, over half the circle raised their hands, two? Still almost half. Three? Three kids with hands up Four? Only 2 kids with hands up. Five? One kid. Six? Same kid. Seven?! Still one kid. Eight? She finally puts her hand down. An epic game and week indeed.

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July 31 – August 4th

Day In The Life: HVSS Adv Camp and High Meadow July 31 – August 4th

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Week two of Wayfinder at the Hudson Valley Sudbury School was a week of advanced day camp. That means that we run a game that is slightly more advanced and tailor our programming to participants who have been to enough events to have a basis of knowledge in our game systems and daily programming.

This led to some very advanced improv work during a game of Why Were You Late as the game took place on a broadway production of Spongebob Squarepants. Participants were able to perform what looked to be choreographed dance routines on the spot and improvise dramatic lines in order to make it appear they had been doing their improvised jobs. The underwater theme continued into a game of Shark Week themed Mafia.

20645188_1620896344596582_840565192538906846_oThe Adventure Game, Til Your Legs Give Out, was run by the illustrious Kate Muste. In this alien filled science fiction scenario, a human military base fought against a spreading forest full of alien monsters, relying on small teams of runners entering the woods and dodging attacks to retrieve fuel to hold back the monsters. When they discovered a threat coming from inside their ranks they had to race against the clock to figure out who they could trust, and how they wanted to make their last stand.

Meanwhile at the High Meadow School, our director put one of our campers to work as his assistant (by the camper’s request). Near the end of each workshop it was this camper’s job to let the workshop teachers know they had 5 mintues left. This little addition to the staff pool for the week brought many a smile to the workshop teachers.

20626442_1764628856899755_5288784478999051710_oThe Adventure Game, “The Order of the Archons,” by Dylan Scott, was a tale of seasoned adventurers heading to a retirement celebration in their honor. But lo and behold, the King had been kidnapped and the adventurers had to go on one more epic quest to rescue him from a lich queen (who was once part of their adventurers guild). In the end they slew the lich and brought the king home. It was a delightful and classic adventure.

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July 24th-28th

Day In The Life: HVSS July 24th-28th

20464800_10155506512378698_1326248697_oWe love to play here at Wayfinder. At Sudbury we showed this a couple different ways. First in the way we interacted with the weather. Almost everyday (we caught some sunshine on Friday) we were outside in the rain. While many activities may be cancelled due to rain, we tend to view it as more of a set dressing. This was on full display all week as campers left smiling each day despite having run around outisde in rainfall.

The other place we displayed our penchant for play this week was through the fun things the staff make up on the spot at camp. One of our SIT’s taught the Mage casting class (the class where we teach our young wizards how to use their magical abilities) entirely in character. He chose the name Jango Shizard the Cowboy Wizard which the other staff (and the camp at large) could not stop laughing about. He left quite the impression, so much so that many participants wanted to use some part of his name in their own characters’ names.

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We also like to provide mental challenges for our campers. For this Adventure our production staff made an amazing 10 piece Omega cannon that the participants had to assemble in Game. They had to learn how to put it together quickly and under pressure like they would have to in Game.
The Adventure, tiled The Great War, was written by two Wayfinder veterans Henry White and Thomas Gordanier who are master crafters of adventures having over 20 years of combined camp experience. To prep for this Adventure they played a new game called Infiltrate the Flag. As the name would suggest the game is built around capture the flag. In this version we play on the full land and each team spends time strategizing and building tactics for themselves before the game begins. Strategy was an important thing to practice for this Game, as the summary of it reads “The Great War is a war story set in a fantasy world full of elves, with endless years of pointless bloodshed in the trenches. An isolated group of soldiers is ordered to hold a point crucial to a major offensive against escalating enemy forces.”

Written by Trine Boode-Petersen
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July 17th-21st

Woodstock Day School and Unison Arts Center Week 2

20232196_1602652399754310_5840791133403237278_o Have you ever wanted to be a sneak thief? Or a highly trained master of disguise? How about a crafter of special potions or purveyor of magicks? Well in Assassin Town at week 2 of Wayfinder at the Unison Arts Center participants got to do just that. Assassin Town is an Adventure Game written by long time staff member JJ Muste in which there lives a town full of assassins. When the king stops in for a surprise visit the assassins must attempt to hide the truth of their village and pretend to be simple townsfolk. Needless to say after many mind wipes and goofy adventures the king, the very same one who banned magic, figured out what was going on. It was up to the assassins (participants) to figure out what to do with the king. In a beautiful twist they convinced the king that magic isn’t evil and started to train him in their ways. 20157501_1602652799754270_4352019888076173512_o

Over at WDS the war between order and chaos raged on. Lord Subtle (portrayed by our very own Wes Chaplin) called on beings from all over the dimensions to help aid in saving the world. From velociraptors to disco witches this rag tag team of heros defended the realm. Written by Jay Dragon, Debts Collected was quite the adventuros romp.

During the day, while not playing unlikely, interdimensional heroes our campers had a blast playing sword games, improv games and more: such as endless rounds of Prince a Paris (a focus game) and Combat Roleplaying (it’s like mixing serious improv in to sword games, it’s wonderful).

We also made a new wayfinder record for the longest round of capture the flag at Unison when 45 people played a continuous round for over an hour and forty five minutes which ended in a sudden death. It was amazing to see these campers and staff working so hard and planning each wave just to be so equally matched.

That’s a wrap on day camps at these two lands. Two weeks of play, two weeks of community, and two weeks of adventure in the books!

Written by Trine Boode-Petersen
Photos by various staff at camp

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July 10th-14th

Woodstock Day School and Unison Arts Center week 1

20170713_181835There was an abundance of excitement in the air at both camps as we started our first week of camp this summer. We ran around and laughed in wacky games, played capture the flag with swords (with 83 kids!), and learned about the worlds we would venture into later in the week. It is always a joy to see familiar, yet much older, looking faces on the first day; as well as the new faces of soon to be friends. At lunch I saw more than a few Magic the Gathering games take place.

At Woodstock Day School our campers won many battles, including the legendary Grass Wars (a battle that has been raging for eons; but at long last Jud succumbed to battle fatigue) and an epic round of Staff vs. Campers. A long-time staple of the WDS last day of camp, Staff vs. Campers is a battle where, as the name says, the staff are pitted against the campers. It has historically been an incredibly difficult fight to win. Yes, there are 55 kids fighting about 10 staff members, but years of experience (and ALL of the monster weapons available) usually wins out over sheer numbers. It is becoming clear that after time our campers are getting very good (dangerously good) at sword fighting and destroyed the staff the week in at least one round. 19884184_10154678580171129_5387834451030897292_n

The Adventure Game at WDS was written by former WDS camper Eric Lasko, and paid tribute to the golden age of comic books. Our heroes had to stop the world from being destroyed! (Literally.) Which they did indeed do, however after that business was taken care of, they were tasked with deciding what to do with the villains who made the mess in the first place. Following deliberation, and after making the noble choice to give them a second chance, our heros noticed that the villains had (in classic comic book fashion) slipped away to plot and scheme another day!

Meanwhile, over at The Unison Arts Center, the Adventure Game was a little different. Written by a new friend to the Wayfinder Experience, Emma Puranen’s Wandering Stars was a tale celestial tribes that followed the various planets. It was a beautiful tale about putting aside small, but long held grudges and differences to do what was right. Through a series of quests, encounters and the deciphering ancient texts our heroes uncovered a 50 year old deception that began a war that tore the very universe apart. They managed to band together and work with their former enemies to defeat the powerful and false priest of the Sun, bringing peace to the universe. Plus they got to meet this sweet Moon dragon, (Moon dragons are notoriously voracious, cranky and love all things shiny). 20049586_1583308485026114_1607104966_o
A great week was had by all, and for many another week of adventure was to come.

Written by Trine Boode-Petersen
Photos by various staff from both camps

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July 4th-8th

Staff Week

8882222825051136544This summer the blog is featuring a new series called A Day In The Life, with stories and pictures of all the fun things going on at camp. There may even be character drawings and stories from our participants! We’ve got camp running until the end of August, so there’s a lot to look forward to as we go through the summer.

This last week we ran our annual Staff Week, a time for us to reconnect as a staff pool, fostering the communal spirit that is so key to what we do at camp day to day. We do this through a good deal of the same exercises that we run at camp. For Staff Week this year our focus was on the intentional creation of communal space, the staff and their own enjoyment of our programming (trying to reignite the feeling that we all clung to as campers), and as always ensuring that our staff is fully trained and IMG_0134ready to go into the summer’s programming. We ran an advanced version of the programming that we run at our regular camps, featuring everything from trust to capture the flag. Camp wouldn’t be camp without an Adventure Game. This year we played a Game written by the illustrious Chase Spearance. The Game centered around a fairy tale world with staff taking on the roles of woodland creatures trying to reconcile their relationship with a fairy queen after they had accidentally killed a member of the royal family. As with any camp, Staff Week both filled us with joy and left us ready for the next experience, excited for the coming opportunities to share our programming with the community at large.

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Coming up next week we’ve got camps at the Woodstock Day School and the Unison Arts Center. Check back here for updates on the games we play and the incredible things our participants are getting up to in them.