If you’re an adult who knows about the power and fun of larping (live-action role-playing), then you’ll want to pass that experience on to your kids. But perhaps there’s no organization offering larping for young people in your community. Guard Up! wants to change that.
Guard Up!, based in Burlington, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston, is raising funds via a Kickstarter campaign to create a license for their youth program called “Wizards & Warriors.” The licensing program would allow activity providers anywhere, such as recreation centers, martial arts schools, fencing clubs, after-school groups, gyms, and fitness centers with youth programs, to run weekly adventures and monthly events using their game system.
“This program is designed to engage kids and teens in live, story-based adventures where they play a character in an ongoing storyline,” said Guard Up! and Wizards & Warriors founder Meghan Gardner. In the adventure games she and her staff orchestrate, the kids (they call them “Heroes”) fight monsters with foam swords, win treasure and solve ancient mysteries; a futuristic version of their game system, called “Zombie Blaster Adventures,” uses Nerf Blaster guns. “Both programs involve kids interacting with creatures and characters out of real life history, literature, and mythology.”
I’ve seen the program in person, and I have to say, the kids have a blast.
We all know that football, soccer, basketball, cheerleading, gymnastics and other sports and after-school and weekend activities just can’t appeal to every child or teen. The geekier or nerdier kids, already predisposed to stories of fantasy derring-do, need programs like “Wizards & Warriors.”
But these LARP adventures aren’t available in many part of the country. “We get many requests from kids, teens, and parents around the world asking if our programs are offered near their location,” said Gardner. “This Kickstarter project will make it possible for individuals and facilities across the globe to offer this exciting program to children and teens.” She said that “100 percent of your donation goes towards making our license a reality.”
Why is she going with Kickstarter rather than other sources of investment? “We prefer not to have funding that’s ‘out of the kindness of someone’s heart,'” Gardner said. “That way, if we don’t reach our funding, we know that it’s because the interest level just isn’t there.”
Rather, she prefers to get funding from those who want to be a part of the result — those who will use their license, or send their kids to the programs. And if they do reach their funding, Gardner added, “We have a big group of people — the people who ‘get’ what we are doing — to give us feedback and help us refine our license, instead of a group of wealthy investors.”
If you want to support this Kickstarter project, you have until Tuesday, Oct. 30. At press time, Gardner is already about halfway toward her $5,000 goal. Game on!