the camp nerdly story

how it all began

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. The person in charge of the event for the year (June through May) is referred to as the Chief Owlbear.

Camp Nerdly is run by a large group of volunteers known as the Owlbear Council. 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.

chief owlbears

they run this sh*t, yo

The Chief Owlbear for Camp Nerdly 13 is Megan Hex Knouff.

  • Camp Nerdly Zero (2006): Dave Younce
  • Camp Nerdly 1 (2007): Jason Morningstar
  • Camp Nerdly 2 (2008): Remi Treuer
  • Camp Nerdly 3 (2009): Eric Provost
  • Camp Nerdly 4 (2010) and Camp Nerdly 4 Redux (2011): Mark Xai Causey
  • Camp Nerdly 5 (2012): Andy Kitkowski
  • Camp Nerdly 6 (2013): Jeffrey Collyer
  • Camp Nerdly 7 (2014): Kelley Vanda
  • Camp Nerdly 8 (2015): Rachael Storey
  • Camp Nerdly 9 (2016): Adam Dray
  • Camp Nerdly 10 (2017): Arnold Cassell & Clinton Dreisbach
  • Camp Nerdly 11 (2018): William Nichols
  • Camp Nerdly 12 (2019): Tim Rodriguez
  • Camp Nerdly 13 (2022): Misha Bushyager
  • Camp Nerdly 14 (2023): Melissa S. Cohen

the owlbear council

we are masochists

The Owlbear Council currently consists of:

  • Misha Bushyager
  • Mark Xai Causey
  • Donovan Chase
  • Melissa S. Cohen
  • Jeffrey Collyer
  • Adam Dray
  • Clinton Dreisbach
  • Joshua Drobina
  • Megan Knouff
  • William Nichols
  • Jamie Paulson
  • Scott Price
  • Rachael Storey
  • Jule Ann Wakeman