Trust in Adventure Gaming

Trust in Adventure Gaming

IMG_7313Obviously deep, intensely emotional, trusting relationships exist outside of LARP communities. The point here isn’t to claim that Wayfinder has some unique ability to provide participants with trust or friends or anything like that. The idea is more this: trust, like the realest kinds of trust, are formed through having intense experiences together. Through the Adventure Game we get the chance to simulate a lot of those intense experiences. I have lived one thousand lives in my time at Wayfinder, and the more invested I have been in each one the more I have grown from it. No piece of any character comes from anywhere but inside ourselves. This is something that comes up time and again. It takes an incredible amount of trust in a person, a group of people, or even a whole community to go deep into that, to explore those pieces of ourselves that we normally keep hidden or ignore altogether.

A couple weeks ago I promised to do a series of posts based exploring different types of trust that are directly relevant to Wayfinder and then promptly got sidetracked. I’m returning for the second of that series now. This week’s focus is trust and how it intersects with the Adventure game. It’s a complex relationship. There are a lot of factors of trust required just in setting up the Game. You have the most basic elements, for example trusting that people will play by the rules (reacting to swords and magic) and trusting that people will respect you as a player (building scenes with you and reacting to/building off your offers). There are also some much more complex trust relationships that go into the Game. There is A LOT of physical trust required in playing with a group of people. You are trusting people to chase you/fight with you (often in the dark or in the woods) in a safe and fun way. This kind of trust can be a challenge, but it’s something we work at all week long. The more contact based elements are things that trust workshops are specifically geared towards building to; whereas the elements based upon the rules are a trust that we work at in our game systems based workshops throughout the week (and here you thought CTF was just for fun).

IMG_9412There’s another important element to the relationship between trust and Game that is something we don’t go into quite as much. That is the fact that despite how much we put into building those relationships with each other before Game, like the actual interpersonal ones between our real selves, there is nothing that brings us together quite like an Adventure Game. Once you’ve stood next to someone on a battlefield, cried over their corpse, or literally died to save them there is a different kind of closeness between you. The trust established through having an intense in Game experience together is one that I have never found in any other setting. It’s hard to approach. You both (or all if there were more people involved in the scene/situation) know that something very real happened between you in the Game. Immediately after a Game that has one of those moments there is always a need to find each other, to talk about what happened, share the other side of the experience, or how that moment effected the rest of each player’s Game. But it doesn’t stop there. There are friends of mine I’ve had for years who we still think back to some of those moments as our most intimate, when our friendships moved from close to unbreakable.

During a Winter Game at the Ashokan Field Campus (a Game that I wasn’t particularly emotionally invested in prior to this moment) where my friend (and in Game mother) cried over my dead body until someone brought me back to life. From that moment the two of us held each other and cried in a room full of people who were holding us prisoner (don’t feel too bad, up until then we’d been some of the main bad guys). I’ve never been much of a public crier. It’ll happen, a tear here and there at an intense community circle or trust workshop, but this was loud, ugly crying. Sobbing on a hardwood floor in a room full of people who I was legally responsible for. It’s a moment I remember whenever I’m having a hard time processing my emotions, particularly in reference to other people. I was able to lean on the community in a way that I wouldn’t normally, to allow for an emotionally intense in Game moment because I trusted them to contain it within the Game understanding that my emotion was a function of character not mental state, and also to lower my guard and enter that place of trust because of the way that an Adventure Game is set up. The closeness that is brought about in those kinds of scenes, even if it is an unspoken kind, is one of the most important factors in binding ourselves together.WFE4

Written by Judson Easton Packard

Published 3/24/2017


Sword Saturday

The final Sword Saturday of the season at the High Meadow School, 3643 Main St, Stone Ridge, NY.




The Wayfinder Apprentice program is a way for the younger members of our community to learn the core skills that not only allow people to work at the Wayfinder Experience, but have allowed so many of our alumni to go on to successful careers in positions from Website Developer to published Graphic Novelist. Apprentices must apply using the application below in order to be considered for a position. Deadlines will be posted specific to the event. We look for Apprentices who not only show potential and interest in the skills that we are able to develop, but also people who will be a good influence on the community, are ready to be role models for younger participants, and bring a positive attitude to the work environment. If you think that you might be a good fit, send us an application today!

  • Eligibility for Apprenticeships begins at age 15 for day camps and 16 for overnight camps.
  • An applicant should have attended at least two official Wayfinder Experience events, preferably week-long summer camps. 
  • Prospective Apprentices may apply in any or all of the following Departments for an event: Costuming, Sets & Props, Game System, Story, Theater, Play. Wayfinder Experience will place the applicant in a department based on availability and event needs.
  • Overnight Apprentices must register for the events which they are working. Day Camp Apprentices do not have to register.
  • Apprentices are legally considered campers and must follow all camper procedures and requirements.
  • Apprentices will coordinate directly with the head of their department to receive assignments and ask any questions they may have. The Department Head will be responsible for leading the Apprentice through a training program.
  • Any difficulties felt by either the Apprentice or the Department Head in terms of their working relationship should be directed to the Event Director, Programming Director or the Committee for Community Concerns to be dealt with accordingly.
  • Apprentices will be evaluated at the end of the event by their immediate supervisor.
  • We want to push Apprentices to learn a variety of skills. As such you will be expected to work in multiple departments during your time as an Apprentice.
  • An Apprentice should expect to be in the position of Apprentice for a minimum of two years before becoming eligible to be a paid staff member. If an Apprentice shows exemplary mastery and potential in all aspects of camp, they may become eligible for a staff position sooner.
  • Anyone is eligible to become a staff member at 18 years of age.
  • WFE is under no obligation to hire any Apprentice into a paid staff position or to renew an Apprenticeship.
  • WFE reserves the right to make any staffing changes necessary for the betterment of The Wayfinder Experience.

Community Leader

A Community Leader (CL) is a member of the Wayfinder Experience community who is not yet old enough to work at camp but is invested in building a fun, safe camp environment. CLs must fill out an application and return it to the WFE office by the stated deadline to be considered. The WFE will consider applicants based on contribution to the community, financial situation and event need. CLs must contribute positively to the community by fully and willingly participating in workshops, following camp guidelines and providing a good example for other campers.

  • Eligibility for CLs begins at age 15.
  • CLs receive a discount of $50 off the price of the event where serving as a CL.
  • CLs are legally considered campers and must follow all camper procedures and requirements.
  • CLs must support the community through participating in workshops, clean up and participant bonding.
  • WFE is under no obligation to hire any CL into a paid position or to renew a term of CLdom.

What is LARP?

What is LARP?

LARP or Live Action Roleplay is a term that can be applied to a broad spectrum of activities. While there are many types of LARP in the world, Wayfinder’s brand of LARP is contained in something we refer to as “the Adventure Game.” Within the context of an Adventure Game, LARP is an immersive roleplaying experience happening within a world prepared by our staff for the players. Each player is given the chance to design their own character, picking the type of character they want to play helps guarantee they have the gameplay experience they want.

At each week of the Wayfinder Experience we lead participants through workshops specially designed to prepare them for their time in the live action roleplay Adventure Game. This includes an introduction to our game systems (such as how the use our magic and swords in the Adventure Game), time to design and build a character, some work on improvisational theater skills to prepare for interactions in the adventure, and a good deal of work on trust to ensure a safe and enjoyable time in Adventure Game.

We view the Adventure Game as a transformative experience where players are given the freedom to explore pieces of themselves they may never otherwise get to inhabit in a safe environment. We have run a wide array of Adventure Games based on anything from the historic to the fantastic. We hope you’ll join us for an summer adventure and find the hero inside!

Photo Galleries

Wayfinder Photo Galleries

Here is the link to our albums on FaceBook

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is LARPing?

LARPing, short for Live Action Role-Playing, is one of the most basic forms of play– where participants take on characters and act out those roles together.  At Wayfinder summer camps, we view LARPing as a tool useful for giving participants opportunities to try on new personas and learn more about aspects of themselves not readily apparent in their day-to-day lives.

What is Improv?

Improv, short for Improvisational Theater, is a form of performance art in which there is no script– the actors are instead given the responsibility of quickly creating scenes and stories off the tops of their heads by working together with their scene partners.  At Wayfinder, we teach Improv as a skill, helping participants learn to imagine cooperatively while thinking on their feet, and to trust their instincts and their fellow players.  These skills help us to create a better LARP Adventure Game experience for everyone.

What is an Adventure Game?

An Adventure Game is a live action role playing session in which players take on various characters and interact with one another while enacting a larger overarching story, one which depends on their contributions and input.  An easy way to think about it is as a play, but one where every member of the audience is also an actor, and instead of lines to memorize there are choices to make– choices which can change the entire tone or plot of the game for everyone involved.  It is up to the players to resolve the conflicts of the story, whether by cleverness, courage or cooperation.

At Wayfinder, the Adventure Game is the big culminating event of our summer camps, as well as many of our workshops and classes, and we take it very seriously.  Because we see role-play as a potent tool for effectuating personal growth, we want to encourage our players to become heroes, villains, beggars, gods, kings or monsters– and to take something valuable away from Game, to use in their real lives.  To that end, our Adventure Games most often take place in the genre of epic fantasy, where the players are teams of heroes, and the plot involves overcoming great obstacles and nefarious villains to protect the world.

All of our live action role playing Adventure Games are written by our staff (or, sometimes, our campers!) and are original works.  We very rarely re-run Adventure Games, making each Game a unique experience.  Though our “intro” Games tend to be fantasy we play with every genre: historical, science fiction, western, modern day, comedy, thrillers, etc.  You can find out more about the specific Adventure Game being played at one of our summer camps by checking the event description.

Isn’t sword fighting violent?

The Wayfinder Experience teaches a close-knit integration of competitive and cooperative play– something we’ve never seen anywhere else.  When we act out theatrical violence, it is with the understanding that all parties involved are actually partners in creating a scene in the overarching game or story.  In this way, we can all have some athletic fun running and sword-fighting as hard as we can, while also remembering that we’re playing a game together and respecting other players’ real-life safety and feelings.  Working against each other, but playing with each other.

We have a zero tolerance policy for actual violence or bullying at our summer camps and classes– what we do isn’t possible if participants don’t respect and care for one another.

Furthermore, we do not take the subject of violence lightly.  We avoid glamorizing violence, and often focus on the (heartbreaking) consequences of violent conflict in our Adventure Games.  Further, live action role-playing is a proven psychological tool for teaching and increasing empathy.  As a result, we try to show our participants a more mature perspective on the gravity of violence, and present alternative tools for solving problems.

How did this all start?

Take a look at our history page!

What is your age range?

Our day camps are generally open to kids from ages 8-15, and our overnights are generally open to ages 11 to 18 (though please check ages for each summer camp before registering, as sometimes our partners feel differently). We also run a program called Young Adventurers, which is a camp for children 6-8, and Adult Retreats, which are for anyone 18 years old or older.

What are the facilities and where are you located?

Our office and warehouse are located at 61 O’Neil St, Kingson, NY.  Our summer camps, workshops, and classes are at a number of different facilities in the Hudson Valley and New York City.  For the location of each event please refer to the page for the event, or to the confirmation email you should receive after registering.  Additional informational emails normally go out a week before a summer camp or event, though you can always call or email us to confirm the location.

How are your staff with kids and young adults?

Our staff is primarily comprised of former participants who have grown up in our community.  Most of us feel that our process gifted us with confidence, creativity, and previously untapped talents that we use in our daily lives.  Because of this, we are passionate about paying those gifts forward and making sure that every participant benefits from our live action role playing and community based programming as strongly as we did, helping to foster self esteem, responsibility and individual growth.  We aim to help participants push their limits, while being mindful of their boundaries.  It is very important to us that participants feel safe, happy, and free to control their own identities while they are with us.  We work primarily with kids and young adults and are very experienced at connecting with them and meeting their needs.

How do I request financial aid?

Financial aid and scholarships for our summer camps and programming are offered through the Hero Fund. The Hero Fund is provided by generous donations.

What discounts do you have?

We offer many discounts to our summer camps– siblings discounts, a referral program, and reduced tuition for our Apprentices, among others. A full list of possible discounts will  be listed on the registration page when you go to sign up.

Is there a cancellation policy for your events?

Our cancellation policy for summer camps is located here. Special events, weekend retreats, and classes are dealt with in a case by case basis.

What does my child need to bring?

Depending on the different program they are in they will need to bring different items to make the experience as smooth as possible. Summer camp packing lists can be found here.

What summer camp is best for my child?

This depends on age as well as comfortably sleeping away from home. For day camps, if you have an 8-year-old child who is on the fence about regular day camp or our Young Adventurers, we suggest Young Adventurers for those with more active imaginations who are focused on the make-believe aspect of what we do.  An 8 year old who wants to refine their adventuring and experience some more athletic games throughout the week should go to our more mature day camps.

As for our overnight summer camps, please check the individual event registration pages for the different weeks to learn more about the Adventure Games that will be played to see which your child is most excited for!

Please, call our office (845-481-0776) if you would like help deciding which camp is best for your child!  We are more than happy to help you weigh your options.

How can I, as a parent, be involved with this?

Good Question!  There are a number of ways to stay connected and to participate. For those parents interested in helping out we ask that you spread the word to other parents about our programs- word of mouth has always been how our community has grown and evolved.  Liking and following us on Facebook is a big help, and will also keep you updated on upcoming events.  We have a family event once a year, and an adult retreat, as well – so you can come play, too!  And finally, there are always some tasks that we need help with, and we give campers discounts for certain skilled jobs such as sewing and making marketing materials. Email us to find ways you can help out at:

Adult Retreat

Adult Retreat

This yearly retreat is open to anyone 18 years or older.  A perfect get-away for old campers, parents and first-time friends of the community. Experience the magic of live action role playing in a mature environment! This is a fun and inclusive retreat. We will spend time doing a number of different workshops, such as improvisational theater, sword fighting (with our special foam swords) and New Games to build trust with each other before we play our LARP Adventure Game where you will be in control of your character’s destiny.

Join us September 1st – 3rd, 2023 at the Stone Mountain Farm in New Paltz, NY.

Book your lodging separately; limited on site lodging can be booked here.

Sign up here.

Programming hours:

  • Programming will start at 6pm on 9/1 and go until 10pm
  • Programming will start at 10am on 9/2 and go until roughly 11pm. Lunch and Dinner will be provided on site
  • Programming will start at 10am on 9/3 and go until 5pm. Lunch will be provided, and there will be an optional goodbye fire that night

Retreat Programing pricing: 

  • $250 – Sponsored rate
  • $350 – Suggested rate
  • $450 – Sponsor rate

As ever, we want to do our best to make our programming accessible. If you feel you are able to, we encourage you to pay the sponsor rate and contribute to the cost of attendance for some of our folks who may not be as able to do so. Sponsored rate is available on a need basis; there is no application process. If you need it, take it; no questions asked.

Committee For Community Concerns

Committee For Community Concerns

Wayfinder’s Committee For Community Concerns is dedicated to providing a safe, supportive, and caring environment for participants, staff, and community members. This board, which is purely an advisory board, receives reports and concerns from the community, and tries to address those concerns in order to maintain a positive space at camp. The board has a commitment to confidentiality, and, as such, submitting a report does not guarantee the reporter a knowledge of the outcome. The board also maintains the Rules and Regulations section of the staff handbook, and provides an annual training for each staff member. Reports can be submitted to The current board members are…

Lee Jackson Sorge

Lee is an artist, writer and musician born and raised in the Hudson Valley. When he was eleven years old, Lee attended his first Wayfinder event and was enchanted by the magic of play and the joy of creating fantastical worlds. Lee has worked as staff for Wayfinder for nine years, relishing in the ability to help bring dreams to life and the opportunity to be a part of the community he has come to call home. He now serves on Wayfinder’s Community Concern Committee and as our warehouse manager.

Maya Ziv

Maya didn’t join the Wayfinder Experience community until high school (and eternally laments those missed years), but since then she has found her home here. She loves writing adventure games, teaching improv, and especially running/participating in trust workshops. When she’s not at camp she’s attending Stanford University, studying computer science and game design. But she probably really wishes she was at camp.

                                    Reilly JeckerByrne

Reilly got his start at Wayfinder when he was 17 and has been working as a staff member for 11 years, jumping on every chance to work events in the summer and year round. He particularly loves working as a Counselor as that role allows for an opportunity to really get close with the community and participants. When he’s not working Wayfinder, Reilly works at Half Moon Books and spends his days digging through books, old and new, looking for treasures.

Alyssa Greenway

Alyssa first came to Wayfinder as a participant at the fabled Unison Day Camps. She loved turning fantasy into reality, supporting her friends and saving lives as a stalwart cleric. Alyssa took some time away from camp to pursue her passions in the visual arts, and returned five years ago as a staff member. She deeply enjoys teaching LARPs & Crafts, running trust workshops, and helping build the magic of cooperative storytelling.

Mission & Philosophy

Wayfinder’s Mission & Philosophy

Our Mission

Is to create supportive communities for youth that foster personal growth and empowerment through cooperative play and storytelling.

Camp Philosophy

Wayfinder is committed to the idea of learning through active involvement. Our program is designed to encourage outstanding young people to develop a greater purpose in life. This philosophy of experiential education is evident in everything we do.


The Wayfinder Experience is unique. The workshops we run throughout our weeks of camp teach our participants leadership skills, self-awareness, and on the fly decision making. They are then given the chance to practice all of these skills at once through the live action role playing Adventure Game. The Adventure Game is a transformative experience that pushes players physically, mentally and emotionally, while immersing them in an exciting and engaging fantasy world.

We place our emphasis on strategies that help young people learn to make effective use of both their available resources and innate talents in order to tackle the challenge of becoming productive citizens in their own communities. Wayfinder’s many workshops, games, and exercises train participants in:

  • Social interaction
  • Community building
  • Leadership development
  • Improvisation
  • Crisis management

Wayfinder’s camps and events are held in beautiful, natural environments that allow for safe and supportive education, while still giving a space to have some fun in the outdoors. Through Capture the Flag with foam swords and a variety of other physical games, we strive to teach athletic skills that encourage character development, while still providing entertaining experiences. Our physical program built upon non-competitive game theory engages youth in activities that promote cooperation, sportsmanship, and teamwork.

Our outstanding staff serve as positive role models for campers participants. Wayfinder staff members are employed as workshop instructors, summer camp counselors, and community coordinators. We are responsible, friendly, and professional veterans of the live-action role playing entertainment industry, with many years experience dealing with participants of all ages. We love what we do, and we want to share it with the world.

Each staff member works diligently to help foster self-confidence, responsibility, and individual growth for each participant. We help kids and teens push limits while being mindful of boundaries. We take what we do very seriously and go out of our way to make sure that all attendees are safe, comfortable, and happy. Safety is our top priority. All of our summer camp staff undergoes rigorous training to ensure that they can quickly and capably deal with any difficult situation that may arise.

Wayfinder strongly believes that the benefits of our programs and live action role playing continue beyond last-day farewells to form a foundation for a life of adventure, purpose, and lasting friendships.




See our about Wayfinder page.