Camp Nerdly

Camp Nerdly

An annual gathering of nerdy friends

About Camp Nerdly

Camp Nerdly is an annual gathering of people in Triangle, VA to play role-playing and board games, experience nature, and spend time with friends both old and new. It’s casual, relaxing, family-friendly, inexpensive, and an all-around great time!

Camp Nerdly is run by a large group of volunteers known as the Owlbear Council, and the person in charge of the event for the year (June through May) is referred to as the Chief Owlbear.. The Council consists of former Chief Owlbears (new Chiefs automatically become part of the Council) and a few closely-interested individuals, and act as advisers for all new Chief Owlbears.

The Nerdly Code

Camp Nerdly is a place for gamers of all stripes to play together and work together. It is a place for joy, friendship, and peace. It is not a place for grudges, squabbles, or trouble.
All campers will be expected to live up to the following code:

  • You will have a job at Camp Nerdly, as will everyone else. You should be happy to perform this service in order to help your fellow campers have a good time, and should do this service well.
  • Sometimes issues come up and extra help is needed. If you see somewhere help is needed, you should be proactive and step up to help. If someone asks you for help, you should be happy to give it.
  • Everyone is responsible for fun at Camp Nerdly. You should come ready to run a game for other people.
  • Games and the outdoors are great for young people, and they are encouraged to come. However, people under 16 must be under the supervision of their parents or a guardian at all time for safety’s sake, and to help everyone have fun. They are still considered campers, and should follow the Code.
  • Camp Nerdly is a place to have your senses fully engaged. You are outdoors, with friends, playing fun games.
  • Because of this (and park regulations), no alcohol or drugs are allowed at Camp Nerdly. We realize some people smoke and/or vape nicotine, and they are asked to only do that in the designated area (the parking lot.)
  • People can have issues with each other, and you are expected to keep them to a minimum and deal with them in a mature manner. If an issue comes up, and outside resolution is needed, you are expected to ask a member of the Owlbear Council to help.
  • If you break the Code, you bear responsibility. You will be asked to fix any problem you made, and any member of the Owlbear Council can ask you to leave the camp. If asked to leave, you will not get a refund.

Nerdly Traditions

Over the last 13+ years, several Camp Nerdly traditions have been born.

Check them out for yourself!

How It Started

In 2006 (or so the story is told), Clinton Dreisbach conceived of a convention that, unlike GenCon, would not keep people in hotels for long periods of time. Dave Younce suggested Prince William Forest Park, and the first Camp Nerdly (numbered as Camp Nerdly Zero) was born. Attendees included Dave, Mark Causey, Jason Morningstar, Andy Kitkowski, Remi Treuer, Andrew Morris, and Frank Manna. It was held in October and was bitterly cold; legend has it that the attendees of CN0 abandoned their individual cabins and slept huddled together in the main lodge, using the fireplace and crockpots for warmth. Despite this, it was declared a success, and the group decided to do it again in May.

Jason took over organizing the next event, declaring that Dave should not do it again so as to prevent burnout, thus starting a tradition that no one should run the event twice. This tradition is still in effect today!

Attendees of Camp Nerdly are referred to as Owlbears. The exact origin of this is lost to the mists of time, but generally stems from the fact that owlbears were the cool thing d’jour in the story games community in the mid 2000s. See The Story Games Names Project for an example — there is at least one section of Owlbear Names.

We can keep waxing lyrical about how amazing the Nerdly community can be… but why tell you, when we can simply show you?

Sounds great, right? Learn how to attend.