#126 – Nerdy Summer Camp


This week I am at summer camp with our high school group. I love summer camp. Even though I’m sleeping in a room that smells like a boys’ locker room, camp is one of my favorite weeks out of the year. I’ve already written about how summer camp can be difficult for nerds, so here are some ways to make summer camp a little nerdier.

Nerdy Theme

The best summer camp themes appeal to a wide audience. If the theme is too narrow then there’s a chance a large group of campers will check out. That being said, I would love to see a summer camp themed specifically for nerds. I went to a Star Wars-themed camp once and it was glorious. Star Wars is a little too mainstream, though; it doesn’t alienate enough of the normal population. I want to run a Battlestar Galactica-themed summer camp.

Campers could compete on Human and Cylon teams.

Campers could spend their afternoons trying to figure out which camp staff are really Cylons.

And the speaker could talk about how we are a new creation in Christ, just like the Cyclons became a new creation.

I would love a Battlestar Galactic-themed summer camp. But I fear too many campers would check out from the camp like you have checked out from this post.

Nerdy Recreation

A big part of summer camp is competitive recreation. As a camper I didn’t really enjoy recreation; it was like P.E. at camp. The only thing more humiliating than getting picked last in P.E. is getting picked last at church camp. It’s also terrible for nerdy campers to volunteer for a game only to be passed over for a jock. From personal experience, though, it’s even worse getting picked to play and then failing miserably. In those moments, especially at church camp, it’s important to remember that the last will be first and the first will be last. I believe Jesus when he says that, but I don’t think he was ever picked last for dodge ball.

Nerdy Free Time Activities

When I went to camp in the eighth grade, my favorite free time activity was sitting in the cabin and reading my Star Trek Encyclopedia (I wish I was making that up). The camp we’re at has less nerdy options like surfing lessons and sea kayaking. Options like that, though, go against nerds’ inclination to stay inside away from the harmful effects of the sun and fresh air. Here are some nerdy free time options.

  • Magic: The Gathering tournament.
  • Panel discussion on leveling World of Warcraft characters.
  • Competition for who can stay in the sun longest with only SPF 50 sunscreen.
  • Use someone else’s inhaler and see what happens.
  • Fan fiction writing group focused on the Acts of the Apostles during zombiepocaplyse.
  • A formal debate on who was the better captain: Kirk or Picard or Janeway (just kidding, Janeway was terrible).

A lot of times nerds are forced to go off on their own during free time because none of the activities are designed for them. Instead of pushing them towards solitude, free time activities could pull them together. Because when two or more nerds are gathered together, Gandalf is there.

Summer camp is great even if it’s not as nerdy as I’d like it to be. Whether we’re a nerd or not, though, camp is about engaging with others and being blessed through those relationships. But I wouldn’t mind engaging with 15 other people in a massive game of Halo.

What are some of your favorite summer camp memories?


8 comments on “#126 – Nerdy Summer Camp”

  1. Only time I remember going to summer camp, my parents were counselors and I was very young. I remember throwing dirt clods against a wall and pretending they were explosions. Unsurprisingly military history became one of my future geekisms.

    Otherwise my parents never made me go. I was never enough of a bother to make them want to be rid of me that badly and they were introverts too and could understand that I wouldn’t enjoy it. They also never presumed to control my recreation more then necessary.

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