The other day I received an email from Brandi. Below is her question and my response. Thank you, Brandi, for giving me the opportunity to help out.

THE EMAIL

Hi!

I am thinking of doing “A Series of Unfortunate Events” Camp for Girl Scouts aged K-12 in the fall. Have ideas for different rotation activities that will all be about “Be Prepared (to avoid Unfortunate Events)” activities, i.e. First aid, map/compass reading, games/puzzles, outdoor cooking, obstacle course that uses mind and body, etc. Am wanting to have a camp “villain” like Count Olaf and have sightings and maybe solve some clues to apprehend him and save the Beaudalaire siblings but am a little stuck on this aspect. Can’t be too scary for the littler girls but not too easy for the older girls. Maybe have some clues leading to letterboxes (we taught letterboxing at this last Spring’s campout), but would really like a live human-being villain for the camp to unite against and try to defeat. Any suggestions?

Thanks and YIGS,

Brandi

 

MY RESPONSE

Hi Brandi,

I love this idea. Brilliant! Unfortunately, I don’t know a whole lot about this book series. I did see the movie, though, and I do have a few suggestions.

Having a real person be Count Olaf would be great. How about one of the girl’s fathers. Have “sightings” of him around camp in different disguises. The girls should still be able to recognize him due to a protruding chin, or some other characteristic.

As for clues leading to Count Olaf, I suggest having one of the leaders play a bumbling detective that brings the girls clues because she can’t solve them. The detective doesn’t know where the clues are coming from, though. Perhaps they are from a concerned citizen.

Have the detective give the older girls a more challenging clue that leads them to other challenging clues, and the younger girls will get and easier clue that leads them to different locations with easier clues.

In the end, it’s discovered that Count Olaf himself was supplying the detective the clues so that he could lead the older girls to a trap. The younger girls are led to Violet Baudelaire. They rescue her and she tells them that the older girls have been trapped by Count Olaf. The younger girls and Violet sneak up and capture Olaf and save the older girls.

The clues that the older girls are following should be that of Count Olaf while the clues that the younger girls are following were left behind by the Baudelaire children before being moved to new locations.

Clues can be poems, deciphering clues (e.g. each letter represents a number), compass coordinates, directions, crossword puzzles, actual puzzles, etc. They can be hidden anywhere at camp including the campfire pit, dining hall, crafts shed and someone’s sleeping bag. I like the use of letterboxes, letterbooks or geocaches for some of the clues.

One other idea is to have a clue or two lead to a character that makes them do a task (teambuilding challenge) in order for them to get their next clue. For example, a clue leads a group of girls to the camp store. The old lady running the store says she saw a scary man with 3 children leave the store a few minutes ago. He happened to tell her where they were staying, and she will tell the girls but first they must do something for her. This is where you would add in the challenge.

Here are some sites and resources that may help you out with the clues:
http://www.kidsreads.com/series/series-lemony-snicket-fun.asp
http://www.kidsreads.com/series/snicket/secretmessage.pdf
http://www.childpartythemes.com/teen_parties/unfortunate_events.html
http://kids.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Free_Treasure_Hunt_Clues

I hope this helps. Good luck with your camp. It sounds like a lot of fun.

Sincerely,

Curt “Moose” Jackson