Literary summer camp.

Bookpeople camp half bloodThe LARB published a post recently about BookPeople's Camp Half-Blood:

Since kids are such huge Percy Jackson fans and have basically memorized the books, I felt that it was more important to create an environment with engaging back stories that run parallel to the stories in Rick Riordan’s books without copying the books themselves. This allows kids to become their own demigod characters within the world of Percy Jackson. Demigods get to have adventures and go on quests as their own story unfolds over the course of their camp session. They learn and utilize critical lateral problem solving skills and use creative play and teamwork to win the day. We favor a whole learning approach to the camp experience. We try to make meaningful connections between history, mythology, literature, art, science, sports, current events, language and rampant creativity. Oh yeah, sword training, chariot racing, archery, lava wall climbing, and phalanx training are pretty fun, too.

So naturally, I started wondering if there are other literary camps—in addition to the other ones offered by BookPeople, I mean—and indeed there are! (There are lots and lots of summer camps devoted to reading and writing, but I'm focusing on the ones that are geared more towards roleplaying.)

Anyway, unsurprisingly, there are other Camp Half-Bloods out there.

Michigan's Cranbrook Institute of Science runs a couple of Harry Potter-themed science camps.

There's a Hunger Games camp run out of Virginia's St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School, and there's a bit more information about that one at The LibrariYAn.

There's another Hunger Games-themed one in the UK that's focused on wilderness survival skills which sounds pretty freaking awesome (but also SOMEWHAT TERRIFYING):

On the morning of the third day, pairs of 'Tributes' enter the 'Arena' and the Games begin. Grabbing a backpack from the 'Cornucopia' filled with all the essential survival stuff, such as sleeping bag, basic food, water bottle, something to help make a shelter, and armed with their new trusty weapon of a water pistol with a safe food coloured dye in it, they take off into the wildwoods to survive, to make fires, to find food and water, and to 'kill' the other tributes off with their water pistols by stalking, camouflage and sneaking; to become the Victor.

YMCA's Camp Kern in Ohio runs Ranger's Apprentice and Brotherband programs, a Harry Potter program, a Star Wars/Clone Wars one, AND a Percy Jackson one.

And the fun isn't just for the younger set! There are camps for grown-ups, too, those they're more heavy on the academics than the roleplaying:

There's the Jane Austen Summer Program, hosted by the University of North Carolina's Department of English and Comparative Literature. Tuition includes four days of lectures and discussions as well as "...a Regency ball, the chance to partake in an English tea, a silent auction of Austen-related items, and the opportunity to view special exhibits tailored to the conference." There's a somewhat hilarious (and nerdily heart-warming) article at the Paris Review about it:

"We are now enjoying “elevenses,” a delightful spread that includes various scones, several buckets’ worth of clotted cream, coffee cake, teas and juices, and the occasional piece of fresh fruit. One’s impulse is to apply a straw to the clotted cream and never look back."

According to the Paris Review piece, the Jane Austen Summer Program was inspired by UC Santa Cruz' Dickens Project, which is a whole week full of seminars and movie screenings and lectures and Victorian Teas and "Post-Prandial Potations" and talks by descendants of Dickens and a Victorian dance.

Any others you know about? And have you seen libraries do anything along these lines?

NewsLeila RoyComment