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, we view LARPing as a tool useful for give 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 Theatre, is a form of performance art in which there is no script– the actors are instead given the responsibility of quickly creating entertaining 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 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 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 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 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 events 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 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, 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 open to anyone 11 or older (though please check ages for each camp before registering, as sometimes our partners feel differently). We also run a program called Young Adventures, which are camps 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 is location at 61 O’Neil St, Kingson, NY. Our 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 the the page for the event, or to the confirmation email you should receive after registering. Emails normally go out a week before an event, though you can also 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 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. Because we work primarily with kids and young adults, we are experienced at connecting with them and meeting their needs.
How do I request financial aid?
Financial aid and scholarships for our programming are offered through the Hero Fund. The Hero Fund is provided by generous donations as well as promotional off season events.
What discounts do you have?
We offer many discounts to our summer camps– siblings discounts, a referral program, and reduced tuition for our “Staff in Training,” 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 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.
For summer day camps: Please bring a water bottle, close-toed shoes, sun screen, bug spray, lunch, any daytime medications, and all required forms (if not already mailed in). On game days we ask they your child comes in neutral clothes without logos to go under their costume.
For summer overnight camps: Your child must have packed everything on the list above as well as bedding (sheets, blanket (or sleeping bag), pillows, camper mat/pad), toiletries (toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo and conditioner, soap, deodorant, contact products (if used), towel(s) and a bag to hold these items), a rain coat, either laundry bag or enough clothes for the duration of their stay (make sure to pack warm clothes such as a jacket or sweater and long pants, as it does get cold at night), and a flashlight. Also feel free to bring fun things such as board games, personal foam weapons, and anything you might want to share at Bardic Circle (such as a musical instrument and short story).
For classes and workshops: Depending on the workshop you will get an email describing what to bring, but it is always a good idea to bring a water bottle and closed toed shoes.
What camp is best for my child?
This depends on age as well as comfortably sleeping away form home. For day camps, if you have an 8-year-old child who is on the fence about regular day camp or our Young Adventures we suggest that kids with more active imaginations who are focused on the make-believe aspect of what we do choose Young Adventures. 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 overnight camps our Intro and Finale camps are best for kids who love Bootleg Adventures and lots of foam-sword fighting time, whereas our Advanced Camp is better suited to players who want to explore other genres besides high fantasy, and get very immersed into their characters.
Please, call our office 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 always some tasks that we need help with, and we can give campers discounts for certain skilled jobs such as sewing and making marketing materials. Email us to find ways you can help out at: firstname.lastname@example.org.