Friday, July 19, 2013

Fanboy/Fangirl Camp?

 So I’ve been reading the book Nerd Camp by Elissa Brent Weissman (who will be at the Collingswood Book Festival this year).   It is such a fun book and is an excellent summer read.  Every time I open the book I’m instantly transported to the camp and feel like I am hanging out with Gabe, Wesley and Nikhal.  When Color War finally broke, I was just as excited, sadly maybe even more excited, than the characters in the book.  It made me wish that as a youngster I could have gone to an awesome camp like Gabe (note: you had to pass a test to be accepted into the camp. I imagine the test included a lot of math so I probably would have never gotten into Gabe’s camp) but my brief camp experience was not that awesome, in fact I hated sleep away camp and was happy when after two years my parents did not make me go again.

   Firstly I thought that the camp brochure was a gross misrepresentation.  There were pictures of smiling kids swimming, doing archery and making crafts.  My expectations were that I would go to camp and shoot arrows all morning and then maybe take a dip in the pool before heading to the craft room to whip up a little something.  When I got to camp I learned that we were allotted only an hour of “free time” and the rest of the day was micromanaged with a strictly followed schedule. The schedule included a lot of activities involving balls, like whiffle ball and kickball and a lot of organized group games.  As a child who had the luxury of a stay-at-home-mom and summers that were slow, unhurried and free, I did not acclimate well to being forced to participate in activities like daily kickball games.  The camp that I went to was a conservative Christian camp and we were taught a song that went…

Yoda, Obi wan Kenobi, using the force.  E.T. with his magic finger, He-man with his sword, all of these are using powers God’s word does condemn, the Bible calls it sorcery and sorcery is sin…

The song made my 8 year old self skeptical of the camp and its leaders because 1) I watched and really liked He-man. He-man was great (I had yet to be introduced to the world of Star Wars). 2) I would argue that E.T. came from another planet and that any abilities that he possessed were the result of the atmosphere and/or the evolution of his species on his planet and/or the advanced technology of his planet and in no way falls under the category of “magic.”  It’s funny what miffs you off as a kid that still sticks with you into adulthood. 

   Aside from one friend (hi Sharon) who went to space camp, I don’t remember there being a lot of cool summer camp opportunities when I was young.  Now there are theater camps, rock music camps, forensic science camp and I even passed a sign this summer advertising robot camp (I believe you build robotics not that the camp is run by giant robots although that would be neat too unless it turned into West World…).  I started thinking as an adult, what kind of summer camp would I like to go to now?  I decided that I would love to spend a week at a  Fanboy/Fangirl summer camp.

  There would be archery of course but you could also learn sword fighting or light saber dueling. All activities would be optional of course.

  For crafts you could design your own superhero mask and of course no one could leave camp without a popsicle stick TARDIS.

   There would be indoor games like Vampire (if you have never played Vampire in a large group of people I recommend it, it’s fun), pin the beard on Riker and of course video games…lots and lots of video games. Also don’t forget RPGs and a special room reserved for games featured on Tabletop.  Outdoor games would be offered as well like wrestle the inflatable Kraken in the pool and instead of capture the flag you would play Rebels vs.  The Alliance to capture River Tam or Orks vs. The Fellowship to capture the one ring, and you couldn’t have a Fanboy/Fangirl summer camp without a week long kick ass quidditch tournament. 

   The camp would offer workshops like Zombie Survival skills, comic book writing, calculate River Song’s timeline…are you seeing how much fun Fanboy/Fangirl summer camp would be?

  At night everyone would gather around the fire to sing Klingon battle songs or lullabies in Elvish before hitting the hay with dreams of time travel dancing in their heads.  Oh, if only my Fanboy/Fangirl summer camp was real.   

 Here's a picture of me at summer camp.  Don't let the smile fool you.



  1. If you are hiring for Fanboy/Fangirl Camp Counselors, I'm interested! what's the best way to get you a resume? I taught a Summer Kids Academy course at Cumberland County College on "Star Trek"! One of my daughters could assist with the "Skyrim" & "Fallout 3" appreciation classes and my other two girls would be more than happy to cover Japanese Anime & Manga. ...Just sayin'.

  2. Yes! There would have to be an Anime class for sure.