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Unexpected allies come together to create a unique experience for kids

'Camp Fire' staff and a LARPing group teamed up to make something special

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In Holly, Michigan on June 30, metro Detroit children will go on an incredible experience. They will be given foam swords before setting out into a 200 acre campground where actors will play villains in their own personal adventure.

How did this come to be?

Elizabeth Longley, CEO at Camp Fire, decided that the best wat to reach her goal of encouraging kids to appreciate nature was to ask them what they were interested in. It came up that the Percy Jackson series of young adult novels were something that were pretty much universally loved, and so Elizabeth got reading.

Seeing how the novels could translate into a camp experience, Elizabeth contacted the publicist for author Rick Riordan.

Blood and steel! Or more accurately; Kool Aid and foam!

"[They] told us there was no copyright issues, and that Rick Riordan really encourages people to do these camps," she said, adding, "That just sold us!"

Elizabeth got the camp started with a great deal of success, and last year she asked Gary and Diana Eaken-- two people who were out of state enjoying a medieval weaponry seminar at the time- to come by and act as facilities manager for the summer.

Diana Eaken at Camp Fire's kitchen.

You don't have to talk with Elizabeth, Gary, and Diana long to understand that they know how to run an excellent camp, but for the children who will attend the Percy Jackson Quest Day Camp at Camp Fire, they've added something special.

"Did someone order villains?"

The Shifted Lands LARPing group has volunteered their services to the camp. This includes building prop weaponry (think "sock 'em boppers" but with swords), assembling a giant indoor labyrinth, creating interactive puzzles, playing the villains in the adventures, and of course keeping an eye out for safety.

If you don't know what LARPing is, think of an activity that combines the best elements of fencing, costume parties, and camping. Shifted Lands is used to running these adventures for adults, so it was a natural fit for them to adjust their adventure-running skills to suit kids.

The result of the combined efforts of these very different groups of people is one of the most interesting camps available for children to experience. There's still time to sign up, so if it sounds like something your children might enjoy check out Camp Fire's information below.

Adventure awaits!

The Percy Jackson Day Camp teams consist of five members and one adult chaperone. Team registration is $125. Individuals can register with one adult chaperone for $30. Price includes lunch and a snack (all of Percy Jackson’s favorite “blue foods”). To learn more about the Percy Jackson Day Camp or to register, call 248.382.8382 or visit www.campfiresem.org .

For more information about Shifted Lands, visit www.shiftedlands.com .