I’m Topher Bradfield, Children’s Outreach Coordinator and Camp Director for BookPeople – the largest independent bookstore in Texas. I began The Ranger’s Apprentice Training Camp in the summer of 2010 after four years of getting kids excited about reading through our Literary Camp programming. The decision to bring the world of the Araluen Ranger Corps to life was a thrilling one. Like so many of you out there, I’m a huge fan of Will, Horace, Halt and the rest. I wanted to be sure I treated your favorite characters and places with the respect and attention to detail they deserved. Last summer was a successful journey for all of us and we discovered such a rich tapestry of people and places to explore in John Flanagan’s world that we can’t wait to do it again!
My goal with Ranger’s Apprentice Training Camp is a straightforward one: bring the books to life. Camps based on books seemed like a good idea when I started the Literary Camp journey five years ago and it’s turned into a passion. Since your kids are such huge Ranger’s Apprentice fans and have basically memorized the books I felt that it was more important to create an environment, with engaging backstories, that run parallel to the stories in John Flanagan’s books without copying the books themselves. This allows your kids to become their own Apprentice/Ranger characters within the world of Araluen. Your Apprentice will get to have adventures and go on missions as their own story unfolds over the course of their camp session. They’ll learn and utilize critical lateral problem solving skills and use creative play and teamwork to win the day. They will get trained in tracking, covert movement, archery, orienteering, plant identification, field first aid, hand-to-hand combat / self defense and diplomacy. We favor a whole learning approach to the camp experience. We try to make meaningful connections between history, mythology, folklore, literature, art, music, science, sports, current events, language and rampant creativity.
We have an amazing family of councilors and educators, also big Ranger’s Apprentice fans, who return year after year to be a part of the community that your Apprentice/Ranger campers have made so rich and rewarding.
When you combine this with support from author John Flanagan, publisher Penguin and BookPeople, there isn’t much we can’t bring to life. This is the kind of camping community we love – everyone with a vested interest in continuing to find new ways to make reading the adventure we all know it can be.
I hope to see you and your Apprentice(s) this summer,