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Openings are still available in Week 11, ages 10-16!

“Hands down one of the best camps in the Twin Cities! Julian and his staff create a magical adventure full of fun and creativity! My daughter is already looking forward to camp next year and hopes to become a camp leader someday! I highly recommend this camp to children that love the outdoors, building castles, designing weapons and armor out of cardboard, theater and being creative. Great Job to all of the staff at Adventures in Cardboard!"

-Jennifer Jouppi, parent

“The BEST camp ever!! My boys loved all aspects of the camp - building weapons and castles, writing spells and incantations, playing capture the flag, searching for treasure (relics), and playing in the woods. The staff is engaged and supremely creative.”

-Shannon Baker Overdahl, parent

“Our kids wait for Adventures in Cardboard more than they wait for Christmas!”

-Paula Warford, parent

“My son LOVES this camp! According to him, it's the most fun he's ever had. We will definitely sign up again and for many years to come! So well organized and the camp leaders are amazing.”

-Melanie Sizer Moriarty, parent

“My son loves every minute of this camp and he's a hard kid to please (unless a screen is involved.) It's an amazing week that is unplugged and full of boyhood wonder!”

-Larissa Judt, parent

“Do you guys know how amazing you are?  I appreciate this camp experience so much for my children. The environment of creativity and acceptance is so special. My son had a rough year at school and this week has been magical (after only 2 days!!) He's happy and calmer than I've seen in over 9 months. So thank you!  Kindest Regards and Huzzah! (My kids tell me we must say this at least 4 times a day now).”

-anonymous parent

“My son continues to talk about AIC, and it's clear that his week in Theo Wirth Park was the highlight not only of his summer but of his year and even perhaps of his 10 years on this earth. He will definitely be back next year!” 

-Miranda McGowan, parent

“My kids come home totally wiped out from all the awesomeness!”

-Kim Pierce, parent

“My son had the best time attending this camp last week. In fact, he made it clear this was his favorite camp ever. He was so totally engaged - bringing his creations home at night and working feverishly to improve them. He practiced his 'epic deaths' and sword fighting techniques often. He was so happy and so energized by this camp - we'll certainly go again. Thanks for creating such a magical experience for kids!”

-Nancy Lyons, parent

“This camp is a perennial favorite in our family for so many reasons. We love the fact that it takes place outdoors, it highlights medieval history, promotes creativity, theater and teamwork, and is just really fun.”

-Jennifer Bertram, parent

“My two boys just finished their first week and said this was the best camp they had ever attended. We loved that they allow the kids to roam around and be kids! The instructors are great and we are definitely coming back. Now they are home still working on their weapons and armor just because it’s fun! It's a great idea and I hope it continues to be successful forever!”

-Kristin O’Brien, parent

“Thank you, my son fully enjoyed the camp, saying it is the best camp he has ever attended!!!”

-Angela Rosales, parent

“You guys are doing an amazing job. I’m so impressed with your program and want to thank you for creating the most memorable week of Chase’s summer (this year and last). Chase can’t wait for next year (and we’ll try to sign up for two weeks this time!)”

-Scott Litman, parent

Professional Staff

artists & teachers lead all activities

Strong Staffing

1 staff person for every 4 or 5 campers

Full Days

Monday-Friday, 9am-3pm, low structure, maximum fun

Elementary, Middle & High

ages 8-15 & ages 11-16

Busses

from Minneapolis to Plymouth, Hastings & Bloomington

Adventures in Cardboard is for girls and non binary kids just as much as boys. We know that battle games and tragic fantasy role playing are enjoyed by all people of all genders. Our instructors are sensitive and skilled and will be aware of gender dynamics when it comes to combat play and every person at camp, boy, girl and non-binary, will find instructors that will be supportive big siblings to them throughout the week.
 
Unless adventurers instruct us otherwise, we always make sure there are several houses that are at least half-filled with girls and/or non-binary kids. This insures that all adventurers will:
 
  • experience activities in cohorts of equal gender ratios,
  • be able to battle other houses that are similarly composed,
  • avoid a competition-dynamic based on gender.
We strive to build a culture and legacy of respect for all people at camp, and also especially for girls and non-binary people who are often under-invited into the domain of battle play and tragic fantasy. 
 
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Whether any kid is necessarily even interested in battle play, know that there are a plethora of cooperative and theatrical activities available at camp every week and battle play and other competitive activities can be avoided entirely! 
 
Please let us know if we can answer any further questions for you about gender dynamics at camp.
bryant-castle-AIC

Step into a world of swords and sorcery, catapults and castles, mythical heroes and legendary beasts!

Join an ancient House of the Realm and jump into live-action adventure gaming! Build your own arms and armor! Create your own culture and histories! Defend your lands from opposing houses and monsters! Construct giant castles, labyrinthine villages and fortified cities! Battle on trails, fields and shorelines as you seek out lost relics of eldritch power! Tell a hundred stories by your word and deed in enchanting wild places!

Our camps are places that demand the use of legs and feet as much as hands and head, where artist-instructors seek to unleash a zeal for creative role-playing, and where “wonder” is the preferred path to igniting a passion for design, construction and playful exploration of the natural world.

How to get into an AiC camp!

  • If it's your first time registering, being flexible in your choices and being willing to get on waitlists will help you get into camp this summer. Check the schedule the day before your register to see what camps are still available.
  • If you're new and have kids 8-15 years old, we suggest keeping several Classic Weeks in mind that could work for your schedule.
  • If you have kids that are 11-16 years old, Tactical, Theatrical and Advanced Weeks are fantastic options too.
  • Some people wonder if because we have a Girls and Non-Binary Week if all our other camps are for boys... absolutely not! All of our camps are for all genders.  Most weeks of camp are at least 1/3 girls and nonbinary kiddos!
  • We have several busses scheduled from Minneapolis to Spring Lake Park Reserve and French Regional Park.

The Summer Camp Programs

Our different weeks of camp are more similar to each other than different from each other. Each week features live action games, free role playing and cardboard construction. Classic Weeks follow our orginal programming, the other weeks highlight different activities. Tactical Weeks do not feature a castle project and Theatrical Weeks feature an entirely different structure.

Classic Weeks are the original camps based on the fantasy-medieval lore of the Six Houses that all adventurers know and love. All Classic Weeks include

  • free role play and building in the castle village,
  • the creation of individual props, costumes, arms & armor,
  • playing tactical and exploratory games on the trails,
  • and swimming or boating whenever there are safe places for water activities.

Adventurers will have elective opportunities over the course of each week to customize their experience and by Thursday and Friday campers can pretty much gravitate to their favorite activities as they like.

The Armory

Build anything you want for your character or your group.

Adventurers begin by designing their own arms and armor: the Realm can be a dangerous place after all. Work independently or collaborate with a team. Add spikes, fins, scales, plates, helmets, gauntlets, shields limited only by your imagination. Go classic or go mythic. Create your heirloom sword, ax, mace, halberd, spear or other deadly accoutrements. Use and improve what you make in daily games of capture the flag.

Or... scrap the arms and armor and work instead on magical tomes, artifacts of power, hoods, capes, crowns, wands and rings of power!

Or... work on a farmstead and corral, a shop in the village, a tavern with games of chance, a forest hut for your sorcerer or a library for your guild of wizened sages.

Each week will have optional special projects with visiting local artists. Create a village, work on a giant maze, focus on siege engines, specialty bows or on more advanced live-action games.

The Castle Village

Design and build an actual castle and fortified village to inhabit, employ your trade, defend or attack. Make walls festooned with battlements. Raise towers. Install a gatehouse with portcullis, arrow-loops and drop-holes for defense. Add a smithy, a tavern, an inn, a stables, a thieves' den, a sacred temple, catacombs beneath the castle, anything goes!

Later in the week this sprawling fortification becomes the locus for many free role playing activities. It's final size and the variety of activities that go on inside of its walls is up to our collective imagination. And for every person who manages to become Queen or King? Beware the Sword of Damocles that hangs over your head!

The Games

Develop group identities and team strategies in daily competitions of Capture the Flag and other tactical games. Each site usually hosts plenty of paved paths for bicycle patrols, open fields for pitched battles, shoreline beaches for longboat raids and woodland trails for haunted towers, wizardry and scouting! Some sites have caves, gorges and other extraordinary features to explore. Always seek magic or unusual characters in such remarkable places when you stumble into them.

Adventurers are divided into six different Esteemed Houses each with its own set of virtues and weaknesses. The Houses of Arko, Draech, Sahn-Gliér, Áquilah, Hákkarl and Hart collaborate and compete in games that seek to instill integrity, chivalry, creativity and collaborative play. Each House also possesses a growing history that you will develop and add to as your week progresses. 

Click here to view backstory ideas for games and props design!

Swimming & Boating

Swimming is available at sites where safe swimming spots are available. Sometimes when swimming is not available we still have the opportunity to use boats or even build them out of cardboard.

Classic Weeks usually follow the fantasy-medieval lore of the Six Houses. The lore and themes in the Band of Storms, however, sometimes diverges away from the fantasy genre of castles, knights, wizards and elves. You can still expect swordplay and trail games, but expect a very different type of co-created world on Weeks 9 and 10 at Tony Schmidt Regional Park. Iron Band is also serving a Tactical Theme Week this year.

Storms Week 9: The Skurgedome (inspired by 'The Hunger Games')

Tribute, expect to be engaged in Battles Royale as well as Strategic Capture the Flag! You must gather boons throughout the week by finishing impossible quests set by the game's sponsors. You will then use these gifts and whatever skills you have practiced to help bring yourself to victory in a culminating day-long event for the entertainment of our glorious district!

Storms Week 10: A Pirate's Murder Mystery

Arrg! The dread pirate Broadboard has been murdered! And bly me if their crew of miscreants now ain't at each other's throats, accusin' each other of mutiny, whilst lookin for the rumored treasure! But which of 'ems will find the infamous riches and solve the mystery of the murdered villain?

Iron Week 10: A Galactical Tactical

Iron Band's theme week will be a science fiction Tactical Week with nerf guns for ages 11-16. This is likely to be the world of the Six Houses but set in a futuristic realm still with swords and shields. The castle may be a space station, fortress or crashed starship. If you're familiar with the world of Dune, that may be what counselors and campers go for! But can they make a sandworm big enough??

All of our other camps are for girls, boys and all genders; yet it's also wonderful for some girls and nonbinary kids to have their own space. 

In all other ways this is a Classic Week of camp with all the same programs that kids of all genders have come to love!

These camps, like all our camps, may include staff of all genders.

A little different from Classic Weeks, make sure these camps are what your kids want and expect! Tactical Weeks trade the castle for a heightened focus on strategy and competition gaming. Theatrical Weeks trade a schedule for a heightened focus on role playing and creating-your-own-structure.

In both weeks the story is still king!

Tactical Weeks trade the castle activity for more time playing games and building props in the armory. We focus on playing a single extended game of Dominion all week long.

Tactical Weeks require much higher levels of maturity and fir play and feature stricter game rules, more competition and a greater focus on team strategy and battlefield tactics.

Come and test yourself: if you were transported into a tragic fantasy conflict of ascension, would you have the cunning, resourcefulness and character it would take to organize a warband and capture the throne?

 

Theatrical Weeks (or Free Role Play Weeks) have all the same activities as a Classic Week but tend to be slightly less focused on games and are almost completely without structure.

Campers are free to wonder from activity to activity as they wish. This can require more of an independent drive from campers and we suggest trying a Theatrical Week after experiencing a Classic or Tactical week first! 

In a Theatrical Week you and your friends will have a large responsibility for helping to create the world we will all be inhabiting. Be prepared to immerse yourself in your character and in the Realm at a much deeper level.

The Advanced Week is a new variation of a Classic Week that enthusiastic counselors in Iron Band designed for 2023. More info will be coming soon, but Classic Camps will follow a system of character classes somewhat aligned with Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 5E, and a lore that includes factions and secret societies that campers can join for story-specific objectives during the week.

The Four Bands

The staff in all four bands are equally experienced and fun-loving. They are artists, teachers and fantasy enthusiasts of the highest order, all are masters of art, performance or fantasy lore. We've balanced their strengths and interests in each band to bring you all the competitive games, cooperative free role playing and creative open building that you have come to expect from Adventures in Cardboard!

Band of Storms

Coordinators: Roger, Huyana & Daniel

Counselors: Mark Safford, EJ, Kathy, Abby, Franklin, Macy, Grey, Alec, S.J., Bea, Greyson, Joe, Aidan, Colin, George and others!

Band of Mountains

Coordinators: Leo, Michelle, Declan

Counselors: Remy, Grace, Zoe, Anna, Henry, Josh, Mia, Kirian, Mike, Akin, David, Sadie, Max, Matt, Derek and others!

 

Band of Iron

Coordinators:  Brett, Kevin  & Bill

Counselors: Taelyn, Addison, Gabe, Cat, Luca, Lauren Jacob, Will, Ani, Devin Sage, Calvin, Jill, Lewis, Alex, Josh Vana and others!

Band of Thunder

Coordinators: Rachel "Alfie the Elf", Faithann & Logan

Counselors:  Noah, Ranea, Ace, Lena, Nat, Armory Pete, Oliver, Daniel, Henry, Nathaniel, Jamee, Loren, Kate and others!

The Locations

Camp Locations 2024

The 2024 Summer Schedule

Check the Dynamic Schedule-Viewer,  below this schedule, to see which weeks of camp are still open.

*NOTE: WEEK 11 NINE MILE CREEK is now a Classic  Week.

2024 Park Schedule

Five of our weeks have busses available from Powderhorn Park Recreation Center, 3400 15th Ave S, Minneapolis. 

Drops-offs begin at 8am. Busses leave at 8:30am and return typically by 3:30pm.

All bus service is optional. You can select it for the week if you wish when you register for a $35 fee.

With new levels of wildfire smoke in our state, midway through last summer we started arranging for indoor contingency sites to keep from closing.

When you get your week-before-confirmation-email, the email  will list where your camp's indoor space will be in the event of an emergency. You can read more about this in our policy guidelines here.

Sites may vary widely from week to week:

Tony Schmidt: Harding Arena, 1496 6th St E, St Paul

French Regional, Theo Wirth: In the Heart of the Beast Puppet & Mask Theater, 1500 E Lake St, Minneapolis or Adventures in Cardboard, 4501 Hiawatha Ave, Minneapolis

West Bush, Nine Mile, Moir: International Spanish Language Academy, 5350 W 78th St, Edina, MN 55439, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre or Adventures in Cardboard 

Spring Lake Park Reserve & Caron Park: TBD

Dynamic Schedule-Viewer

Check this viewer before your register to get an idea of what weeks still have spaces available.

If everything looks full here you can still register for our General Waitlist and indicate what weeks you'd be interested in. Many spots will open in the next few weeks and months.

Last updated Wed, Feb 7th, 11:34am.

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Click any heading to organize the viewer as you like.

STATUSWEEK
DATESLOCATIONPROGRAMBUS OPTIONSBAND
OPENWeek 2June 17-21Moir ParkTactical (ages 10-16)noneIron
OPENWeek 6July 22-26Tony SchmidtClassic (ages 8-15)noneThunder
OPENWeek 10Aug 19-23West Bush LakeTactical, Science Fiction (ages 11-16)noneIron
OPENWeek 11Aug 26-30French RegionalTactical (ages 10-16)noneThunder
OPENWeek 11Aug 26-30Tony SchmidtTactical (ages 10-16)noneStorms
OPENWeek 11Aug 26-30West Bush LakeTactical (ages 10-16)noneIron
waitlist openWeek 1June 10-14Moir ParkTactical (ages 10-16)noneIron
waitlist openWeek 3June 24-28Moir ParkTactical (ages 11-16)noneIron
waitlist openWeek 5July 15-19Tony SchmidtTheatrical (ages 11-16)noneThunder
waitlist openWeek 8Aug 5-9Moir ParkTactical (ages 11-16)noneMountains
waitlist openWeek 11Aug 26-30Nine Mile CreekClassic (ages 8-15)noneMountains
waitlist openWeek 11Aug 26-30Caron Park (Faribault)Classic (ages 8-15)noneNorthfield Band
full waitlistWeek 1June 10-14Wirth ParkClassic (ages 8-15)noneMountains
full waitlistWeek 1June 10-14Tony SchmidtClassic (ages 8-15)noneStorms
full waitlistWeek 1June 10-14West Bush LakeClassic (ages 8-15)noneThunder
full waitlistWeek 2June 17-21Wirth ParkClassic (ages 8-15)noneMountains
full waitlistWeek 2June 17-21Tony SchmidtClassic (ages 8-15)noneStorms
full waitlistWeek 2June 17-21West Bush LakeClassic (ages 8-15)noneThunder
full waitlistWeek 3June 24-28West Bush LakeClassic (ages 8-15)noneThunder
full waitlistWeek 3June 24-28Wirth ParkClassic (ages 8-15)noneMountains
full waitlistWeek 3June 24-28Tony SchmidtClassic (ages 8-15)noneStorms
full waitlistWeek 4July 8-12Spring Lake ParkClassic (ages 8-15)Powderhorn ParkMountains
full waitlistWeek 4July 8-12West Bush LakeClassic (ages 8-15)noneIron
full waitlistWeek 4July 8-12Tony SchmidtClassic (ages 8-15)noneThunder
full waitlistWeek 4July 8-12Wirth ParkClassic (ages 8-15)noneStorms
full waitlistWeek 5July 15-19Spring Lake ParkClassic (ages 8-15)Powderhorn ParkMountains
full waitlistWeek 5July 15-19Wirth ParkClassic (ages 8-15)noneStorms
full waitlistWeek 5July 15-19West Bush LakeClassic (ages 8-15)noneIron
full waitlistWeek 6July 22-26West Bush LakeAdvanced (ages 11-16)noneIron
full waitlistWeek 6July 22-26Wirth ParkClassic (ages 8-15)noneStorms
full waitlistWeek 6July 22-26Moir ParkClassic (ages 8-15)Powderhorn ParkMountains
full waitlistWeek 7Jul 29-Aug 2West Bush LakeClassic (ages 8-15)noneIron
full waitlistWeek 7Jul 29-Aug 2Moir ParkClassic (ages 8-15)noneMountains
full waitlistWeek 7Jul 29-Aug 2Tony SchmidtClassic, Girls & Nonbinary (ages 8-15)noneStorms
full waitlistWeek 7Jul 29-Aug 2French RegionalClassic (ages 8-15)Powderhorn ParkThunder
full waitlistWeek 8Aug 5-9Tony SchmidtClassic (ages 8-15)noneStorms
full waitlistWeek 8Aug 5-9French RegionalClassic (ages 8-15)Powderhorn ParkThunder
full waitlistWeek 8Aug 5-9West Bush LakeClassic (ages 8-15)noneIron
full waitlistWeek 9Aug 12-16Tony SchmidtClassic, 'Hunger Games' (ages 8-15)noneStorms
full waitlistWeek 9Aug 12-16West Bush LakeClassic (ages 8-15)noneIron
full waitlistWeek 9Aug 12-16Nine Mile CreekClassic (ages 8-15)Powderhorn ParkMountains
full waitlistWeek 9Aug 12-16French RegionalClassic (ages 8-15)noneThunder
full waitlistWeek 10Aug 19-23Tony SchmidtClassic, Pirate, Murder Mystery (ages 8-15)noneStorms
full waitlistWeek 10Aug 19-23Nine Mile CreekClassic (ages 8-15)noneMountains
full waitlistWeek 10Aug 19-23French RegionalClassic (ages 8-15)noneThunder

The LORE OF THE REALM

The lore is an ever advancing chronicle of deeds and misdeeds based on events that happen at camp and through stories presented to us by both staff and campers. There is a secret society of lore masters who oversee all of this so that it can grow in a thoughtful, organized way.

Some adventurers know the lore like the back of their hand and often present us with stupifying questions that cause important revisions in these 'great works.'

Other adventurers could care less and still have a fantastic time at camp. Yet... it never hurts to know a little lore if you find yourself on a quest for an lost magical relic, or are trying to bargain with a particular character or if you get tangled up in some strange scholarly debate that springs up in the castle.

Mostly this jumbled collection of stories is just a frame for you to hang your own story on - at any camp things are always subject to revision and change!

The Realm - Master Black Shields_

OUR SUMMER LOCATIONS

All locations are chosen for natural beauty, tranquility and options for creative outdoor play.

Spring Lake Park Reserve, Hastings

East Parking Lot, 8395 127th St, Hastings
  • old growth forested trails
  • fascinating riperian trails
  • bluffs with dramatic views of the lake
  • shady rolling meadows for castle
  • no swimming onsite

French Regional Park, Plymouth

Skyview Picnic Area, 12605 Rockford Rd, Plymouth
  • dramatic rocky hills and topographical shifts
  • incredible woodland variation in an enclosed nature exploration area
  • miles of bogside and lakeshore trails
  • swimming possible, check with staff

West Bush Lake Park, Bloomington

Shelter #1, 9401 West Bush Lake Rd, Bloomington
  • minutes from south Minneapolis
  • quiet and majestic oak forests on gargantuan hilly promontories
  • miles of beachfront walks for possible canoe and dragon boat assaults.
  • diverse topography for maximum strategic impact in games
  • no swimming onsite, but boating is available

Caron Park, Faribault

6816 170th St E, Faribault, MN
  • near Northfield, an hour south of the Twin Cities
  • fantastic rock cut creeks
  • glacial erratics of astounding proportions
  • diverse topography for maximum strategic impact in games
  • some creek wading onsite depending on conditions

 

Theodore Wirth Park, Minneapolis

Wirth Beach Parking Lot, 3200 Glenwood Ave, Minneapolis
  • minutes from both downtown Minneapolis and Saint Paul
  • rolling hills and forests with lots of shade, bike paths, tremendously varied and beautiful woodland terrain
  • swimming onsite

Tony Schmidt Regional Park, Saint Paul

3500 Lake Johanna Blvd, Arden Hills
  • minutes from both downtown Minneapolis and Saint Paul
  • plenty of twisting, maze-like wooded trails, lots of hidden places, some swamps and open fields
  • bright and sunny parts of the woods are crisscrossed by bike paths, optionally Tony Schmidt has plenty of dark and spooky interior places to explore as well
  • swimming onsite

Moir Park, Bloomington

10320 Morgan Ave S, Bloomington
  • miles of fantastic hidden creekside trails
  • rugged forested areas
  • expansive oak savannah and fields
  • creek wading onsite

Nine Mile Creek, Bloomington

10455 Humboldt Ave S, Bloomington
  • miles of fantastic hidden creekside trails
  • rugged forested areas
  • expansive oak savannah and fields
  • creek wading onsite
french castle grant 6
boat with nick and slight shrug 2

“The Road goes ever on and on down from the door where it began.

Now far ahead the Road has gone and I must follow if I can,

Pursuing it with eager feet until it joins some larger way,

Where many paths and errands meet. And whither then? I cannot say.” 

―B.B.

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien