Dear Parent or Guardian:
As parents, we understand the process involved in making a decision about where your child spends their summer. We know your concerns about whether your child will be safe… and whether they will have fun… will they make friends… will they grow and learn from this experience… and so many other questions that need answers. As parents, we want you to have those answers and feel confident in your choice.
Meghan Gardner is the founder and CEO of Guard Up. Starting as a martial arts facility in 1999, Meghan’s experience as a black belt and Assault Prevention Specialist allowed her to work around her hours as a stay-at-home mom. Being the mother of two girls, Meghan was inspired to learn a great deal about how to raise independent children who could make safe decisions and how to “unplug” them from the computer so they would enjoy real life more than a virtual one.
As her two daughters grew and changed, so did the company. The sword and fencing classes grew quickly and became the focus of Guard Up. As well, Meghan’s kids greatly influenced the creation of the story-based summer camp and programs. When Meghan would tuck her daughters in at night, she would tell them an interactive bedtime story where her kids were the heroes and could influence the story by stating their actions.
Meghan began to realize the profound ability that interactive stories had for teaching children and teens valuable lessons – for both personal and intellectual growth. So she and some instructors created an interactive story based class where kids could learn through adventure. That was over 10 years ago. Over the years, both of her children have worked at Guard Up summer camp in the Logistics division, where they help make the magic happen… and her husband, Frank, can often be seen volunteering during set-up and wherever else needed when he gets a break from his day job as an Environmental Engineer.
If you stop by our summer camp some time, you can find Meghan playing a variety of characters including the Fire Spirit (She’s the one who breathes fire in the videos), the bodyguard to the Chairman, and other fun characters.
Jeff Wegman is the father of three boys. He was a consultant for Guard Up back in 2001. Jeff’s experience as father and a mentor to teenagers through his church helped form his passion for working with all ages
Jeff was one of the creators of a Live Action Roleplaying Game in Massachusetts and was part of the Talent Staff. It was here that Meghan and Jeff met in the late 1990’s when Meghan arrived as a player. The two quickly became friends as they shared a passion for both business and for using roleplaying to educate.
At camp, Jeff could often be seen giving the Heroes their next assignments as the Chairman, CEO of Zee Corp. However, on a rare occasion, you may have also seen Old Man Geezer out and about talking about how hard life was when he was the age of the campers.
Our staff live for their summer, where they get to unplug themselves, play with kids and teens, and make stories come alive for the campers.
We may be parents, but we never lost our passion for imagination and learning.
It is our hope that you will consider our summer camp for your own child… and help them be the hero they know they are in a place that recognizes their uniqueness and their potential.
The Story School Inc
In 2013, Jeff and Meghan joined forces with parents, teachers, and coaches to form the 501c3 nonprofit organization The Story School. The Story School’s mission is to increase awareness of the benefits of story based education through events and workshops. The Story School is a licensed provider of Guard Up programs and camps. To prevent a conflict of interest, The Story School is the recipient of fundraising and donations from Guard Up, but does not provide scholarships to Guard Up programs or camps. As such, the camps and programs that are run by The Story School allow for campers and attendees to apply for scholarships through The Story School itself.