Magic: The Gathering Card Game at Odyssey Teen Camp

Magic: The Gathering Card Game at Odyssey Teen Camp

6 young men at Odyssey Teen Camp showing off a rare card from a booster pack at Odyssey Teen Camp.

Showing off a rare card from a booster pack at the Magic: the Gathering Intensive.

At Odyssey Teen Camp, we have a rich and diverse selection of classes from campers to choose from. One that has become very popular in the last few years is our Magic: The Gathering intensive, where campers get to play the game together in a week-long activity block. One of our counselors, Aaron, has been playing Magic since he first came to camp as a young teenager. Here, he explains a little bit about how Magic works and what makes it so appealing.

The Anticipation 

“There is a great amount of excited commotion and speculation in the Dining Hall today. An eclectic bunch of campers sit in two groups of 8 around the long tables, waiting eagerly to begin. Most of them have never played this game before, and now, they will be expected to make decisions that will impact them for the rest of the week. There is talk of Mythic Rares and magical beings who can travel across space and time. Of ancient and unkillable monsters and of powerful sorceries. When it comes to strategy games, there is nothing like Magic: the Gathering.

The Magic Intensive

In the OTC Magic Intensive: Campers are invited to build their very own deck of cards to battle with through a special format called booster draft. This is kind of like a sports draft, where you take turns picking the player (card) who you think will fit best on your team. At the end of the week, the campers with the best record in a 3 round Swiss (non-elimination) tournament all get more cards to add to their collection (everyone gets something just for playing though).

Much More Than a Card Game

Magic is a game that builds communication skills, promotes friendships and healthy competition and encourages reading, math and critical thinking in ways that stimulate the imagination. The game has been around for 25 years and has seen many changes and at Odyssey, Magic has somewhat developed a cult status. Campers from just about every Pod play the game and older campers as well as counselors help new campers learn the game and improve their skills.

If you’ve never played Magic before, this is the best place in the world to start. We can’t wait to see you on the battlefield!”

Summer Camp Online 2020 now in session!

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we had to cancel camp for 2020 but we now have an online program where teens can jump in any time. It may be the perfect thing for kids that are into fantasy games and all sorts of offbeat activities that we are pretty sure you won’t find any place else. Come test the waters and meet the community. Watch the video to find out more.

Find Out More About Odyssey Teen Camp

Welcomed by Snow Cones and Ultimate Frisbee – More Teen Camp Confessions

Welcomed by Snow Cones and Ultimate Frisbee – More Teen Camp Confessions

Ava laying on her cabin bunk bed

Learning skills and feeling accepted at Teen Camp

Welcome to the second installment of our teen camp confessions!

We’ve got two more for you today. First we have one from Ava, and then one from Venice, Kacper, and Emmanuel (left to right). Enjoy, and we hope to see you at our open house on May 8th, and at Odyssey Teen Camp this summer!


Finding Gratitude in the Sweat Lodge at Teen Camp

Finding Gratitude in the Sweat Lodge at Teen Camp

Two elders at camp

For thirteen summers Bill Record, a.k.a. Medicine Bear, has been leading sweat lodges and unique building projects at camp. He has been an inspiration and mentor to thousands of teenagers and camp counselors. We are lucky to have a man so committed to helping teenagers navigate their lives. Below Bill shares some of his feelings about Odyssey.


Gratitude is a key spiritual practice that we may take too lightly. For example I carry with me an eternal gratitude for the time I have spent at Teen Camp. It keeps me young to hang with a bunch of teens for a month each year. I just had my 70th birthday and most of my headspace is still 18.

The sweat lodges at teen camp are the highlight of my year. It is a ‘Gift from the Gods’ to allow me to pray and sing with a group of young adults. The girls lodge is especially moving. To be in a lodge with 100 young women singing “Amazing Grace” is absolutely mind boggling.

At one of the girls lodges last summer they started singing at the beginning of the second round and sang continuously throughout the round. One of the songs was a call and response type of song with a faint female voice at the far side of the lodge calling with the whole lodge responding. Magic Manifested Magnificently!! I told them that round would go into the Guinness Book of Records.

Another special moment is when there is a period of total silence. Everyone has let go of their usual mental chatter and entered into a dialog with the Infinite. There is an opening to touch Sacred Ground that can eventually be accessed more easily in daily life.

I really don’t know how to fully express my Gratitude for the Sacred Gift of sharing this space with a group of young men and women.

Peace and Blessings,
Medicine Bear

Find out about Odyssey Teen Camp

A great place for teens to be exactly who they are in a community that celebrates diversity. 


How a Shy Thirteen Year Old Girl Came to Teen Camp, Walked Through Fire to Find Her Courage, Voice, and a Wonderful Mentor.

How a Shy Thirteen Year Old Girl Came to Teen Camp, Walked Through Fire to Find Her Courage, Voice, and a Wonderful Mentor.

Caroline by the waterfront

Caroline’s story of firewalking her way to confidence at Odyssey Teen Camp

Today’s story comes from Caroline, and we’re so grateful to her for sharing it. It always inspires us so much to see young women like Caroline come to teen camp and come alive with a renewed sense of self and confidence. But don’t take my word for it! Here’s Caroline’s story, in her words:

“My name is Caroline, and when I was 13 years old, I arrived at my first sleep-away camp, called Odyssey Teen Camp (OTC). I was small, shy, and insecure. I went to OTC to build some confidence and meet some friends.

Little did I know how big of an impact this camp would have on me.

The Director, Adam Simon, is a wonderful man looking to give kids an experience they will never forget. The camp was/is situated in Holmes, New York. on beautiful land. The whole atmosphere of the camp is open, loving, and free spirited. I was nervous at first, and it took me a day or two to adjust to this new place, but soon I felt right at home. However, my story doesn’t end there.

At OTC they have so many different activities and classes to choose from, you can practically do whatever your heart desires. The second week there, I saw a class called “Feel your Fear, Find your Power,” by the one and only Nancy Chernoff. Each summer a few visiting teachers come to camp and lead certain activities. Nancy’s program helps people bust through fears by doing a number of activities, including Firewalking. When I heard about this class, I was very interested and thought I would give it a try.

I had no idea how this workshop would dramatically change the course of my life. In Nancy’s class, we break boards with our hands, snap arrows, bend rebar and of course Firewalk. These physical actions are about breaking through our limited beliefs and to help us realize our true potential. I’ve always had a flame inside me, but Nancy helped ignite it. This workshop showed me that anything is possible. I firewalked, and while I did get a small fire kiss, it just showed me how much unused potential we all have.

I learned so much from this workshop and year after year I continued to go back and bust through certain self imposed limitations again and again. Nancy has not only changed my life, but has become a very close friend, and always will be. In life, you will meet certain people through circumstances like this, and you will feel a very strong bond with them. Hold them close, for they will be there for you through thick and thin.

Today I am 18 and I am strong, powerful, and confident. In the last 6 years, I have achieved so much more than I ever thought possible. I am in my junior year of high school and starting the college process soon. I can’t wait to see where the rest of my life takes me. I attribute a lot of my mental and physical strength to Nancy and to teen camp. So, if your thinking about going to Odyssey, do it, because you never know how it will change your life and I am living proof of it.”

Wow, Caroline. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Your confidence and fire is an inspiration to all of us.

So, what do you think? It doesn’t matter if you’re from New York City (we’re only a few hours away) – Our summer camp community has changed the lives of thousands of young people since 2003.

Find out about Odyssey Teen Camp

A great place for teens to be exactly who they are in a community that celebrates diversity. 


One Camper’s Story – “The Best Summers Ever”

One Camper’s Story – “The Best Summers Ever”

By Ebun Nazon-Power

229869_4235021527547_172406529_nOne of my earliest memories of Camp was the smell of nag champa. My mother and I climbed the infamous hill, nearly out of breath, all the way to the pod Shiva. I remember that day because I was one of the first campers to arrive at my bunk, which is where I also colored in my very first mandala.

There were a lot of firsts that day (including a very awkward but in hindsight pretty darn exceptional session of laughter yoga), but I automatically knew that this would be my new home. As a matter of fact the actual place where camp is held had been my home before. I used to be a Girl Scout, and that place where a plethora of magical and exciting adventures occur between July and August that I’m sure the Girl Scouts could never understand or even dream of, was the exact campsite that I went to Girl Scout camp.

Funny how things work out. I would never have thought when I was 10 years old at that very same place I would walk across hot coals, form a fictional political party with my pod called A.S.S. (Anarchy Sisters of Shakti) steal a stuffed squid mascot from another party and send polaroids of it to the party leader, or even play gaga.

This was the place that I received my first dread lock, it’s the place that I played dead in the middle of lunch with a bunch of others in busking class and rather than freak everyone out, confused them.

It’s the place where I strengthened my fire keeping skills for the sweat lodge, and met wise, amazing older girls, and raided the kitchen.

It’s the place I became a Girl Scout (again), sang Christmas carols around campus and made badges. This was the place that I became me. The true me. I always felt a little sad because at times I would hear other campers talk about how they wish they could be like this for the whole year.

Camp not only gave me, but countless young people confidence, support, love, and freedom to be whoever the hell they wanted to be.

If I had never typed in the words “spiritual” “teen” and “camp” into google there’s no way I would have been able to learn the choreography for the song Bulletproof, make a wish through Serpentessa’s hoop with a slithering snake around it, watch favorite counselors battle it out on the dance floor on the mothership, or hear the words “Magic: the Gathering.”

My mom wouldn’t even be able to rave to her friends who have kids about the amazing “cloud gazing” class that I think I took, once. One of my best friends always described our Camp counselors to friends at school because she thought they were the coolest most interesting, creative people we’ve known, and no one doubted her. I think we both have ranted about Camp to our friends and our undying love for it enough that they know exactly who or what we’re talking about when we mention certain names or moments.

Every year after Camp we try to figure out who our favorite counselors were, but it’s different because every year there were new people, therefore new people to get to know and love just as much as last years.

Though Camp was mostly jolly and whimsical, there were times where it got a bit rough and intense and emotional, but without that there would be no change or progress and Camp has helped taught me that.

Every moment of Camp I have cherished from the incredibly delicious lovingly made food to the trans dance and girls day, to the legendary dance parties that leave you sweating and aching all over.

Camp is this special place literally like no other, it’s definitely not for everyone, I’m sure there are some people who wouldn’t approve of discussions based around sexuality or the Vagina Monologues or even hugging trees and listening to what they have to say.

But that’s okay, because Camp would accept them too.”

A powerful testimonial from a powerful camper. You rock, Ebun! Thanks so much for sharing your story.

So, what do you say? Are you ready to make Odyssey Teen Camp part of your journey? Ready to make a wish through Serpentessa’s hoop? Or just feel the “confidence, support, love, and freedom to be whoever the hell” you want to be?

Thanks, and hope to see you soon!

Find out about Odyssey Teen Camp

A great place for teens to be exactly who they are in a community that celebrates diversity. 


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