Adam Rodgers passed along this great article
) about a roleplaying camp based in Boston.
At Wizards & Warriors day camp in Burlington, though, taking up foam swords and crossbows against a sea of troublesome villains - human and otherwise - is all in a day’s work. And play.
Thus, on a recent afternoon that brought the camp’s first week to its epic finale, two dozen costumed players, some as young as 7, girded themselves for combat. The action was intense, the rebel forces victorious. In the end, order was restored to the fictional realm of Sidleterra.
Camps like these are great for young people - not only because it lets them fight monsters with swords (and gives us 'older kids' a chance to play, too) - but also because it helps them socially. I've seen this same thing happen in the tabletop RPGs that I run for kids:
According to counselor director Christopher Wiley, the biggest beneficiary is a child with an active imagination but underdeveloped social skills. “Most of our kids are kind of introverted in general,’’ Wiley says. “But they become extroverts once they get out there waving swords and bumping into each other.’’
We really need more of this sort of thing everywhere. Imaginative play is crucial to child growth and development, and it helps to create imaginative adults. These days, it's all too common for kids to miss out on this entirely.
(I'm thinking an interview with some of the organizers may be in order...)