This camp lets kids show off their imagination and battle skills. Cardboard required.

There's a camp in Minnesota that's taking kids on quite an adventure.

GIF via Julian McFaul/YouTube.


An adventure in cardboard, that is.

For the past few years, the Minneapolis-based camp Adventures in Cardboard has been opening up the hearts and minds of area youth through outdoor arts and play — and lots of it.

All images come from Amy Wurdock, used with permission.

Created by artist and teacher Julian McFaul, the camp is based around workshops that encourage kids to use nature and their imaginations to create their own fun spaces, both mentally and physically.

And they've got plenty of space to do it. With six locations scattered around the Twin Cities, you can find campers on fantastic wooded trails, high open country fields, and miles of lake or river shoreline. It looks like the ultimate adventure.

The camp comes with the mindset that when you give kids the freedom to be outdoors and be creative, it can compete with any smartphone app, video game, or television show.

I think that's right.

Julian told me that the idea for the camp came naturally from the culture of the Powderhorn Park neighborhood that his family, including his two kids, live in.

"People here just like to build stuff and play. ... We had a giant pirate ship on wheels one year that we ripped around the blocks of Powderhorn, and the kids would get off every once in awhile and storm someone's yard."

Um ... that's amazing and quite a way to get to know the neighbors. And it does pose the question: Why play video games for hours on end when you can be the star in your own real-life version?

I think it's safe to say the kids are enjoying themselves — and it's good for them, too.

"From the work of Richard Louv and others describing 'nature deficit disorder,' we know children are smarter, healthier, and happier when they have time for semi-structured play in natural places," Julian said.

And this year, the camp is trying to make sure ALL kids have the opportunity to experience the fun. Because you shouldn't have to be rich to kick butt in cardboard.

"I know the first thing a girl or boy usually does when they stand at the entrance of the Great Forest, no matter what their gender, ethnicity, or culture, is to grab a stick, do some sword-fighting moves and taunt the monsters inside to come and get her!"

If you feel like helping to make the camp available to more kids, feel free to check out the Indiegogo campaign they are running to raise scholarship funds for future campers.

Adventures in Cardboard is such a great outlet that adults want in too.

"We've had so many requests for an adult retreat organized around the same games and creative activities we do with kids that we're organizing one in the spring and one in the fall of 2016," Julian said.

I mean, I get it. Laughing and screaming with your friends while running around in handmade cardboard gear? It's like the ultimate dream.

I love that it's turned into a reality.

More

Gerrymandering is a funny word, isn't it? Did you know that it's actually a mashup of the name "Gerry" and the word "salamander"? Apparently, in 1812, Massachusetts governor Elbridge Gerry had a new voting district drawn that seemed to favor his party. On a map, the district looked like a salamander, and a Boston paper published it with the title The GerryMander.

That tidbit of absurdity seems rather tame compared to an entire alphabet made from redrawn voting districts a century later, and yet here we are. God bless America.

Keep Reading Show less
Democracy

Children in middle school can be super shallow when it comes to fashion. To be part of the in-crowd, you have to wear the right shoes, brand-name clothing, and listen to the right music.

The sad thing is that kids that age can be so creative, but they forced into conformity by their peers.

Sadly, some people never escape this developmental phase and spend their entire lives wasting their money on material goods and judging those who do not or can not.

Keep Reading Show less
Family
Wikipedia

Women in country music are fighting to be heard. Literally. A study found that between 2000 and 2018, the amount of country songs on the radio by women had fallen by 66%. In 2018, just 11.3% of country songs on the radio were by women. The statistics don't exist in a vacuum. There are misogynistic attitudes behind them. Anyone remember the time radio consultant Keith Hill compared country radio stations to a salad, saying male artists are the lettuce and women are "the tomatoes of our salad"...? Air play of female country artists fell from 19% of songs on the radio to 10.4% of songs on the radio in the three years after he said that.

Not everyone thinks that women are tomatoes. This year's CMA Awards celebrated women, and Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles saw the opportunity to bring awareness to this issue and "inspire conversation about country music's need to play more women artists on radio and play listings," as Nettles put it on her Instagram. She did it in a uniquely feminine way – by making a fashion statement that also made a statement-statement.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via Dogspotting Society / Facebook

Over the past few years, Facebook has been a lightning rod for controversy, whether it's the 2016 Russia election hacking scandal, privacy concerns or numerous disputes over what it censors and what it does not.

So it's easy to forget that the world's largest social network is also a place where beautiful things still happen on a daily basis.

A blind man named Stephen William Dale Shkuratoff asked members of the The Dogspotting Society public Facebook group to describe pictures of their dogs so that he can get a better idea of what they look like.

Keep Reading Show less
popular