Celebrating Renaissance Adventures' 30th Summer!


If you’ve ever watched kids soft sword dueling at the Boulder Creek Festival or at a park in the greater Boulder and Denver Metro area, you’ve likely gotten a glimpse of what Renaissance Adventures looks like in action.

For 30 years now, Renaissance Adventures has been providing Colorado children and teens opportunities to come together at their Boulder and Denver summer camps to engage in interactive, live-action, role-playing journeys of discovery, creativity, and responsible empowerment—all while practicing social/emotional skills and having an incredibly fun time.

Particularly well known for its flagship Adventure Quest program, filled with fun and dynamic quests, children and teens become heroes, working together in a mythical and magical world to overcome interesting challenges, solve riddles, brainstorm unique solutions to puzzling dilemmas, and swashbuckle with foes. Unique in their small group size of about six campers, Adventure Quest camp experiences are not what you expect from your average summer camp. Quests are tailored to fit the goals and needs of the group. Individual kids receive a lot of attention. And, every camper is celebrated and given their chance to shine and be the hero of a mythic quest.

“Small groups encourage staff and campers to really connect with each other, and the dedicated staff creatively and spontaneously embellish adventures to challenge and inspire both individuals and the collective group,” says founder Mark Hoge of their Adventure Quest program. “For 6-year-old animal lovers, for instance, the quest story might shift to involve unicorns or baby rabbits. For 10-year-olds who need to get active, the quest might involve more soft Swasher sword dueling adventures. And, sci-fi lovers can engage in a science fiction-themed quest.”

The adventure began in 1995 when Mark Hoge, an Eagle Scout with years of experience in the summer camp industry, started an after-school enrichment program in Boulder, Co that encouraged kids to foster their creativity and sense of adventure through live-action role-playing games.

Over the last 30 years, that small Boulder after school program has evolved to also offer adventure-themed birthday parties, private events, homeschool groups, and their most loved and popular summer camp programs. Summer camps, geared for children and teens ages 6-17, are now the cornerstone of Renaissance Adventures, and have provided exciting adventures for more than 20 thousand children and teens since the first camp experience at Settler’s Park (now called The People’s Crossing) in 1995.

Over the course of summer camp and after-school sessions, participants wield safe foam Swasher swords, play dueling games, and act out challenges, such as fending off a bullying ogre or a thieving band of pirates, in an environment that teaches good sportsmanship, fair play and respect for others. Campers exercise their minds while piecing together clues in a riddle, follow a map to buried treasure, and end the program feeling empowered, excited, and full of stories to tell.

Beneath the surface of these fun games, questers gain valuable social and emotional skills that aren’t always taught at school, which is why all Renaissance Adventure programs support social and emotional learning (SEL) goals, such as responsible decision-making, social awareness, and building relationship skills.
One mom whose children have been attending the camps for three years said, “Our children have gained more opportunities to learn about self-regulation and conflict resolution than I would have expected from a camp that is so much fun. The camp provides opportunities for nurturing relationships by engaging questers in low-stress, socially relevant situations. At home, we see our children applying skills that they unknowingly learned while questing. Opportunities in this super fun environment enhance their abilities to manage individual goals, show empathy for others, and make caring choices.”

The small group format also allows for inclusivity and serves as a space for kids to feel safe being their true, authentic selves. The dynamic role-playing adventures and riddles inspire creative thinkers and active kids. Twice-exceptional (2E) and gifted talented students also often thrive here, whereas in other, more traditional camps they may get bored.

“We were beyond thrilled with our experience with Renaissance Adventures,” says Ginamarie Showalter of The Profoundly Gifted Retreat. “The staff worked closely with us to tailor their many offerings to our unique‎ group of children and proved to be impressively adept at shifting gears throughout each session, in response to our group’s many needs. The parents and children found their events to be a breath of fresh air—outrageously fun, as well as mentally and physically stimulating, while also very safe, which was of paramount importance to us.”

Given the success of Renaissance Adventures in the Boulder/Denver Metro area, founder Hoge and Aaron Pirnack, who joined the team in 2000, are about to launch a licensing program to help others take Adventure Quest throughout Colorado and eventually across the country to reach more kids. For more information, you can contact Renaissance Adventures directly.

To celebrate three decades of summer camp experiences, Renaissance Adventures is planning a 30th-anniversary party at a park in Boulder this spring. Beloved campers, staff, families, and alumni will join together in celebrating Renaissance Adventures’ 30th summer by engaging in sword dueling and family mini-quests with their favorite quest leaders. Past and current Questers can expect details soon!

Summer camp registration is now open! Register today to reserve your child’s spot in an adventure they will never forget!

And, look out for the Renaissance Adventures sword dueling booth at this year’s Boulder Creek Festival, May 25-27, as well as at the Tulip, Fairy and Elf Festival on April 28th on the Pearl Street Mall to help wake those spring tulips up!