Monday, August 13, 2012

Guest Post from Michael's Dad

Michael's dad went to parents day at his summer camp last Thursday. This is the second year he has done so.

I feel the need to relate one of the remarkable things I have seen in my life and its about role playing games.

My son attends  "Wizards and Warriors Camp" summer camp .  Children (2/3 boys, 1/3 girls) between the ages of 6 and 15 dress in medieval flair  (for example my son wears a cape, a big blue musketeers hat, and a pouch with "spells" in it) and adventure in the woods.

The camp session is two weeks (my son attended 2 two week sessions) and has a "back story" that is different  every session.   Like the best stories, the story writes itself in a general outline.  The kids sword fight, cast spells, and wander the woods while the Monster campers (the CIT's and counselors) play various monsters and NPCs.  There is a loose plot line, and it is generally fleshed out or altered by the actions of the kids.  At the end of each two week session, there is a big battle where parents can volunteer to play zombies, followed by a wrap up and a "feast of heroes".

The wrap up this year was a "trial" for Moebius, a magic being who left the fold and was trying to take over and /or change the world.  The story itself was a mixture of "Prometheus" and "Cain and Able", and was largely told by the actions of the kids and not a script.  At the trail the children sat around a huge stump in the woods and the CITs dressed as various magic beings (one was mother nature, one was earth, etc,) and debated Moebius's fate.  The choice was given to the campers:  Exile, Forgive and let him return, or Death.  The first vote was split evenly between Exile and Death.

Then one boy, perhaps 11 , stood up.  He was a shy boy with glasses, a bit pudgy, dressed in some Robin Hood style garments. No one called on him, pointed to him, or asked him to say anything.  He just stood up on his own.  He walked into the circle and extemporized for ten minutes on how change is part of life just as death is and that they should let Moebius back into the fold, because it is both wise and compassionate.  They voted again and it was a landslide.   They let Moebius back into the fold.

Later at the Feast, this boy was singled out by the head of the camp for his courage and for speaking up.   But "...mostly importantly because he showed compassion, the mark of a true hero."

The boy was beaming.

In summary, a boy who would most likely be f@#@#ing outcast in the outer world was praised for speaking not only with wisdom but with compassion. In a game with lots of simulated violence, campers were told your voice is your best weapon.

The country would be better off if we dumped gym classes for this.  It's just as physical, but it was about imagination, cooperation and learning instead of an Alpha-male "exercise".

I have said many nice things about this camp before and I will do so until its as well known as it should be.

--Michael's Dad

1 comment:

MrsSpock said...

I think that is awesome! I wish there was something like that around here.