We are constantly attentive to your child’s physical and emotional well being:
- We have rules of conduct and special equipment to help keep our events safe.
- We provide campers with an “Overload” word that allows them to exit an adventure if it’s too scary.
- We offer adventures that are rated for different levels of “scariness” so that campers who are frightened easily can opt to attend a less intense interaction.
- During sparring sessions there is an assigned Safety Marshall who does not participate in the sparring.
- We make sure that campers understand that this is all just pretend; in reality, our monsters are people too!
- Our staff are trained in safe conduct and assessment as well as emergency response. ALL of our counselors and instructors are certified in CPR and First Aid – not just our medical staff.
- Our counselor are on handheld radios – which helps with the logistics of the story, but are also useful in case an urgent matter needs support.
- And finally, there is a dress code at our Burlington day camp facility to make sure your Hero stays as safe as possible while running around and having fun. We require all of our campers to wear closed-toed shoes and long pants. Please: No sandals, shorts, or skirts. This it to reduce the likelihood of tripping and scraped knees. Our Overnight and Quest Camps allows for shorts, but closed toed shoes are still required.
As mentioned in the Philosophy/Mission/History section, safety is the first rule of assessment in our 3RO. However, it deserves its own heading and details. It is an aspect of all of our camps, classes, and events.
Even though our safety record is impressive, we train for and try to consider the unknown. Since our camp and company is owned and run by parents whose own children attend, safety is part of our regular assessment for each activity.
Our camps and events are filled with physical interactions. We have both indoor and outdoor excursions where kids run and play like healthy, active kids should do. As such, we cannot guarantee that a child will not experience risks associated with physical contact activities in a dynamic environment. Trips and falls do happen. Excited kids sometimes don’t look where they are running. An accidental hard hit with a foam sword can be scary.
This is not like sitting in a living room, playing a computer game. There are risks. But we can insure you that your child will also be at a higher risk for having serious fun… and an increased chance of burning calories, learning important skills, and making friends of the real kind instead of the virtual kind.
We are parents. We want to protect our kids. But we also want them to experience more than a virtual life… and feel the excitement of real adventure. We hope you feel the same way too.
Letter from Guard Up Camp Directors:
Take a moment to look over this article called The Overprotected Kid by Hanna Rosin. What was your reaction to the kind of environmental dangers found in “The Land”? Were you one of those who thought, “This is insane”?
Children grow up in a very different environment today than 30 years ago, and there has not been a consensus on whether this is good or bad. Most likely, it’s a little of both. Parents today are challenged to construct an environment for their kids that protects them from danger without missing out on the personal growth that comes from making mistakes, getting into trouble, even getting hurt.
Then again, there’s a fine line between giving children the freedom to experience danger and allowing them, through their inexperience, to cause themselves serious harm. Active parents have to analyze the environment that they construct for their children with this balance in mind. As Rosin points out, the lengths that parents go to with the intent of insulating their children from danger ultimately have very little effect on their odds of falling victim to the catastrophes that we might see on the news or in a movie.
At the same time, what is lost when parents too often place themselves between their children and a perceived danger? Rosin projects consequences as severe at “more fearful children and increased levels of psychopathology.” But fundamentally, what is lost is the child’s ability to engage in risky behavior with the understanding that consequences may follow. This is a critical adaptive tool for adults, making risky behavior a very important part of a child’s development.
To allow children to learn how to adapt to risk while avoiding major danger, communities need to contribute by building dedicated locations for kids to encounter danger, to behave in a way that is out of control, and to become exposed to the consequences of that behavior. Places like “The Land” provide a model for an environment that a child can shape to match their imagination, and where they can grow into strong and adaptive adults.
In our classes and at our camps, kids are engrossed in activities involving physical contact… they are hitting each other and getting hit by our staff with swords! They are running around, tripping and falling, getting bruised, scraped, and on a rare occasion, ending up with a cast (Owner Meghan Gardner’s youngest daughter) or stitches. Yes, it happens. How many of you parents reading this escaped an adventurous childhood free from a trip to the hospital? The hospital trip is not the objective… it’s just a possible sidebar journey for any active child.
We pride ourselves in our mature staff who are trained intensively and who make good decisions. But the truth is, our staff are human and cannot foresee every circumstance. They cannot prevent every painful moment. The more physically dynamic any activity is, the more the kids are at a greater risk of serious injury. They are also at a greater risk of having some serious fun!
Note: Our classes, events, and camps use foam weapons and masks which are constructed with latex.