camp traditions


The Soda Pop Exchange dates back all the way to Camp Nerdly I in 2007. It began with Dave Younce, whose obsession with Blenheim had him begging Xai Causey to bring him some from the wilds of North Carolina.

It’s now a Camp Nerdly time-honored tradition for those who wish to participate in the Exchange to bring their favorite soda, or to simply bring some new and interesting flavors to share.

Please do not take more than you bring! We will make sure that there are plenty of non-fancy drinks for those of you who are not participating in the Exchange.


The precise origins of the Hot Sauce Exchange are lost to the mysteries of time (unless someone remembers, in which case let us know), but we keep doing it anyway. Bring your favorite hot sauce to share for the Friday and / or Saturday night dinners, and sample those brought by other campers.


Every Camp Nerdly, we bring some small scraps of paper, some writing implements, and several small-ish piggy banks. This is where we deposit out-of-context quotes that have made us laugh. After Camp Nerdly has wrapped up, the quotes get posted to the Piggy Stardust website, to be forever immortalized. Check out some of our previous Camp Nerdly #nocontext quotes below!

* Some quotes are NSFW. May not be suitable for children.

Camp Nerdly 9 (2016)
Camp Nerdly 8 (2015)
Camp Nerdly 7 (2014)
Camp Nerdly 6 (2013)

Want more? Check out The Origin and Heritage of Piggy Stardust! Here, you can link to more ridiculousness and laugh yourself into oblivion.


Q: What is Secret Owlbear?
A: Remember those “grab bags” you had in elementary school? This is the Camp Nerdly version. Secret Owlbear is a way to recycle new and/or gently used items. If you have a game that is in good condition but just isn’t your jam, this is your chance to gift it to a new home. In exchange, you will get… something. Bring a thing, get a thing. It’s that simple! (If you want to bring extra items and do not want anything in exchange, great! We will give them to people who want things!)

Q: What kind of things can I bring?
A: Games, gaming books, other fun game-related items (minis, puzzles, etc.). Nerdy non-gaming books are cool too. Basically, anything cool you have lying around that you aren’t using but you think someone else would enjoy! If the thing you brought is inappropriate for younger audiences, please make sure that you mark it as such! Conversely, if the thing you brought is perfect for younger audiences, please mark that as well. Our tiny campers sometimes get the short straw, and we want them to feel like they are part of the community as well!

Q: What kinds of things shouldn’t I bring?
A: Secret Owlbear items from previous years that people have not been excited about, games that are missing vital components and can no longer be played, or things that are large and difficult for a camper to transport home.

Q: How do I participate?
A: Since it’s a Secret Owlbear, wrap your stuff! (We recommend you do so before you get to camp, but you might be able to scrounge some supplies once you get there.) Put one word/phrase on your package to give a clue at what is inside: e.g. “sci-fi”, “euro”, “creepy”, “Vikings”, etc. Or write up a whole poem if you want; don’t let us cramp your style. Just make it a hint, not a giveaway!

Q: When and where will Secret Owlbear take place?
A: Secret Owlbear will take place Saturday evening, post-dinner. Everyone who brought an item will also have the opportunity to receive one. You are then welcomed to open it, keep it, or give it away.