Towering Pines Blog

Quest Day: A fantasy-themed day of challenges!

It’s hard to believe that half of the season has already gone by! I’ve already been up here for over a month and city living is a distant memory (just the way I prefer it). I find that the periodic change of pace can really help a guy’s outlook. That’s true of the monotony of the school year, the so-called “real world,” and also at camp. Right around the third week, people tend to start slowing down a little. We’ve all settled into the routine, gotten familiar with each other, and had a chance to try something new. This, incidentally, is a great time to challenge oneself! This year, camp is challenging itself with a lot of new programming; from mountain biking to adventure day, to Quest Day. What’s quest day, you ask? Why it’s only the hottest new Sunday special event day, this side of County Highway D!

Huzzah for the Barons and their flagbearers!


These towering pines and verdant woodlands lend themselves to imagination and a possess a magic all their own. Legends abound in the Northwoods, not to mention ghost stories and tall tales, but the Northwoods also summon images of the fantastic and ancient. It’s no coincidence that games such as Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons are so popular up here. A trail ride on horseback or sail on Nokomis are always reminiscent  of classical fantasy, and a boy’s heart has a soft spot for adventure. That’s one reason we’re piloting a new event this summer.

The premise of Quest Day is simple: four Kingdoms or Baronies set in a medieval fantasy period compete for supremacy over the frontier domain.

Valor in the tourney! The Duel of the Pine Knight.

In the morning, each of the four teams (consisting of members from all age groups) embark on multistage quests that require the participation of each camper to achieve the goal and attain a magical item. These earned items can then be used in the afternoon during the Battle of the Baronies: essentially an elaborate game of capture the flag in which two teams ally and compete against the other two.

Defeat the goblin cannoneers at the Blockhouse Battle!

For example, the sea-faring barony might perform admirably in the Blockhouse Battle quest in the morning, claiming one or more skeleton keys. Then, joining forces with the horsemen in the afternoon battle, they could use each key for one jailbreak, freeing their allied players from the enemy dungeon to continue play. Points are earned by capturing an enemy flag or defeating an enemy baron (CITs of immense power), both jobs for a team’s fighters; all while the team’s mages defend their own domain with fireballs and guile!

OK, maybe it isn’t that simple, but there is a reason for this.

Challenge week is all about trying something new from the established security and comfort of the normal. Quest Day is an embodiment of that idea. Not only is it a totally new event, engineered with years of camp experience and a bit of imagination, but it is designed to provide ample opportunity for campers of all ages to try something new and learn about the value of each team member.


A bigger guy from cabin 11 may be well-suited to hunting down an enemy baron in the battle, but only a camper of goblin stature can reach the keys to set their teammates free. It takes more than athleticism to answer the quizard’s questions and it takes a sharp eye to find the pieces of the sword of retribution. Each camper can experience challenge and triumph, all while maybe viewing the beauty of the Northwoods in a new way.

There is comfort in the familiar, stability in tradition. But there is beauty and innovation in imagination and dreams. Camp is all about using the former to spur the latter. That’s what Quest Day is really about.

We’re just trying to do our part to make sure that a little more adventure awaits in 1-8. The boys seemed to have fun, I definitely did, and hopefully quest day can serve as a reminder to all of us that the magic is always there, sometimes you just have to look for it a little outside the familiar.





Also: Fireworks.