May 24, 2018
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New Maine summer camp teaches kids how to survive a zombie apocalypse

Photo courtesy of Unity College
Photo courtesy of Unity College
Campers work on their wilderness first aid and rescue skills during Warden Camp at Unity College in summer of 2017. Campers will be learning those same first aid and rescue skills at the new Zombie Survival Camp, launching summer of 2018.
By Aislinn Sarnacki, BDN Staff
Updated:

Surviving a zombie apocalypse is no joke. It would likely take a wide range of skills in outdoor cooking, navigation, foraging, first aid, hunting and teamwork. Or, at least, that’s what the educators of Unity College believe would be an end-of-world scenario.

The school will be hosting its first ever Zombie Survival Camp this summer for kids ages 11 through 17.

“We want to help campers enjoy the Maine outdoors and also learn some very practical skills, and what better way to do that than through the theme of zombies?” said Jennifer deHart, the organizer for Unity College summer camps for kids and teens.

The weeklong overnight camp — with a cost of $600 that includes meal and lodging — will run July 16 through 20, and spots are filling up fast.

With an emphasis on teamwork, the camp will blend zombie-themed games and roleplay with hands-on lessons in things like archery, orienteering, shelter building and even paddling.

“We think it’d be fun to evade zombies in a watercraft,” deHart said. “We hope that this is extremely energizing and exciting, and of course, everybody will be safe the entire time.”

But that doesn’t mean there won’t be a few shrieks and startled laughs from campers as they work together to escape undead hordes after dark in the Unity College Forest. Camp counselors will likely transform into zombies throughout the week, deHart said. Meals will have some zombie-themed foods. And campers will take personality assessment inventories to see where they’d fit best in a post-apocalyptic society.

“We’re going to weave the scene throughout their entire experience,” said deHart. “We’re also hoping to give them an experience in the theatrical side of zombies, a little bit of the makeup.”

The idea for the camp grew out of the annual human versus zombies game that Unity College students have played on campus each fall for the past five years, said Ray Phinney, Unity College dean of students. At the start of the weeklong game, one person on campus is designated as a zombie, and as the week progresses, the infection spreads throughout campus as student defend themselves with Nerf guns and hide — and study — in safe zones.

“Our math department tracks the spread of the zombie disease,” said Phinney. “There are some educational components to it.”

Likewise, Zombie Survival Camp will include plenty of learning experiences, even if the campers don’t realize it.

But that’s not all. If this zombie-filled summer experience isn’t for you, Unity College is offering another, new and fantastical summer camp option: Wizard Adventure Camp.

Taking place during the same week — July 16 through 20 — Wizard Adventure Camp will take cues the magical world of Harry Potter, with lessons in potion making (identifying and using wild edibles), broom flight (on the college’s ropes course and rock climbing wall) and the care of magical creatures (both livestock and native Maine species).

“We have some rather fantastic creatures on campus on our heritage farms,” deHart said.

And in true Hogwarts fashion, on the first evening of camp, campers will be sorted into “houses,” which will compete all week for the Wizard House Cup. And since the zombie and wizard camps are taking place during the same week, there will be opportunities for the campers to meet and share their experiences.

“We’ll be able to have some zombie-wizard time in the evenings by the campfire,” deHart said.

In addition, three more summer camps will be offered simultaneously at the college from July 30 through Aug. 3: Environmental Science Camp, Marine Biology Camp and Warden Camp.

“All three of those we have run successfully before,” deHart said. “They were very well received.”

And for the first time, campers who complete the Warden Camp or Environmental Science Camp will have the opportunity to earn two college credits. The college also provides housing for the families of campers, opening a door for those who might be traveling from afar or those who simply want to take a vacation in the midcoast area while their child survives the zombie apocalypse.

To learn more about Unity College summer camps, visit summer.unity.edu. Spaces are limited, so apply early.

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