Life at Camp Half-Blood
Back in the old days, demigods like Hercules and Achilles had to find their own way in the world. They went on adventures, fought monsters and survived everything on their own. Today, things are different. Young heroes go to summer camp. Specifically, they go to Camp Half-Blood. Instead of having to find their own way, the half-blood children of mortal humans and Olympic gods like Zeus and Poseidon are given a chance to train together, learn from each other and experience adventure together.
Activities at camp include all the usual things. Phalanx training, lava wall climbing, archery class, chariot racing, sword fighting, and arts and crafts are just a few of the favorites. The biggest competition of the summer is capture the flag, where demigod campers are split into two teams and face off against each other in a realistic battle setting. Armed with swords, spears, helmets and shields, campers give it their all to break through enemy lines and capture the opposing team’s flag.
All the events and activities at Camp Half-Blood are designed to prepare demigods for a life of adventure out in the world. You never know when the next monster from the depths of Tartarus will escape the underworld and come picking a fight with a young demigod. It helps to be prepared. And it helps to have friends you can count on to help you through anything life throws at you.
Between the Pages and Summer Camp Challenge Coins
It might sound intense, but there is no need to worry about kids being in any real danger during summer sessions at Camp Half-Blood. The camp is based on the summer camp of the same name in the world of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, a book series created by Rick Riordan. The organization running Camp Half-Blood is a non-profit called Between the Pages, and their mission is to teach children a love of reading through interactive and creative play. By giving their “demigod” campers a chance to live the stories of the Percy Jackson series, they are showing them how adventures exist at their fingertips right between the pages of a book.
The founder and current camp director, Topher Bradfield, described the challenge coins he created for the camp saying, “The coins have all sorts of things that they can do for the people that have them.” Every summer session follows a different storyline from the Percy Jackson books, and the challenge coins created for campers change depending on what’s happening that summer. “They figure pretty prominently in the story,” said Bradfield. “Drachma (coins) are used to communicate between two isolated locations.”
Some say that the history of challenge coins goes all the way back to the Roman Legion, so awarding demigods these types of coins adds another layer of authenticity to the world Camp Half-Blood has created. Just as legion soldiers were given a gold coin stamped with the legion’s eagle emblem after showing courage in battle, demigod campers are awarded these coins as a symbol of their achievements.
In the summer of 2018, Between the Pages designed a set of coins with the Camp Half-Blood emblem on one side and the red and gold eagle emblem of Camp Jupiter on the other side. In the books, Camp Jupiter is a rival camp for Roman Demigods. The storyline of summer 2018 followed the adventures of Greek and Roman demigods overcoming their differences and working together against common enemies.
The custom coins and medals from every summer session are a physical token of the experiences at camp. Bradfield said, “We felt that it would be both a wonderful keepsake and a really great way to support the non-profit.” Purchasing coins at camp not only helps Between the Pages continue to grow, but it also gives campers a small piece of the Camp Half-Blood community to take home.
Bradfield and the Between the Pages organization want kids to experience all the different adventures of the Percy Jackson books first hand. They believe that bringing the stories to life helps counselors foster the development of important skills like literacy and cooperative problem-solving among campers, as well as teach a love of stories. Their hope is that these challenge coins will serve as a reminder of those lessons and that the designs will call to mind the incredible adventures that took place each summer.
More Than Fiction
Author Rick Riordan created a world where the Greek and Roman gods are still alive in modern times. Their demigod children constantly fight off attacks from legendary monsters like the Minotaur, Medusa and the Furies of the underworld by working together. In the books, Camp Half-Blood is a place for young demigods to learn their strengths and to meet other demigods who can help them overcome any adversary.
The swords, spears and chariots of the Camp Half-Blood created by Between the Pages are all fake, but who’s to say that the experience isn’t real for campers? Camp Half-Blood is a place to learn real-life lessons and experience real-life friendships. The custom challenge coins created for the counselors and campers are a reminder of those experiences and symbolize how one person can be a part of something greater than they could imagine. For every demigod who receives one of these custom challenge coins, Camp Half-Blood is more than fiction.