The purpose of the Mindful Living Quest (MLQ) eco-camping game is to raise awareness of our Ecological Footprint, and to learn sustainable living practices, as a role-playing game with an associated online Alternative Reality Game for Muslim youth ages 12-18.
The word “camp” can refer to a place, or an activity or both. MLQ is played in a Midwest natural area, centrally located between Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Omaha and Madison.
The game is an epic adventure of exploration and discovery , designed as a role-playing game (RPG), complete with an exciting story line, missions and increasingly difficult challenges, rewards in the form of greater Avatar strengths or more abilities, and a method for tracking each camper’s progress as well as the over-all score for team they are playing on. The game has built-in interactions with the other Super-Heroes, and the game characters called the Guides, the Librarians, and the Companions. These game characters provide hints and information to the Super-heroes. At the end of camp, the Super-Heroes will know whether their group Quest was accomplished, and who among them scored the most points. But it doesn’t end there. The campers can continue playing after they return home because their Avatars already populating the online version of the Mindful Living Quest. As they continue to play game they can take on new roles as they pass through each Level of the game, eventually becoming a Guide, or Librarian, or Companion. With this expertise they can mentor next year’s campers, either playing online or coming back to Camp in-person. In the future, the online game would be available to campers before they arrive at Camp and also be available to those who cannot physically attend, for example: Handicapped, bed-ridden, or sick kids taking on the role as “Companions”. These kids could attend the Virtual camp and be partnered with a Super-Hero who is in attendance. Kids from other states or countries could also come to camp this way.
How this works: it is a variation of the “leave no trace” and “pack in- pack out’ camping practices. Campers are picked up from town and taken to the campground in an RV appropriate for the size of the group. “ Mindful Living Quest” begins now as each camper chooses an Avatar to represent themself as a Super-Hero and the RV is transformed into a Life-Support Ship in transit to an undeveloped New World. While travelling, they each earn 5 points; 4 points for choosing environmentally friendly travel - carpooling, and one point for building community . The first point is for saving on gasoline usage second point for reducing air pollution transmitted by exhaust and (3rd point) reducing wear and tear on the roads The 4th point recognizes that fewer vehicles means less space needed to park them – thus saving the natural area of the campground from being paved into a large parking lot building community, by sharing this time travel together, is a “mindful” skill that earns them the 5th point.
For those who prefer a 4 star hotel over tenting, the “Life-support transport”, offers high end accommodations; comfortable beds, a bathroom complete with a shower and vanity, and a fully equipped kitchen. 3 more points are earned by campers with the awareness that “pack-in, pack-out” camping preserves the integrity of the natural area by eliminating the need for permanent structures which would need constant maintenance, up-dating, protection from vandalism, insurance and other expense eliminating the need to dig up the land and install pipelines for water and wastewater, and septic system for sewage. and no electrical lines need be strung through the trees of the forest
But campers spend very little time inside the RV. Every day they earn a point by being aware of their livingroom without walls in the forest,
Missions, Tasks and Challenges offered to the Super-heroes in their daily life choices score negative points relative to the size of their ecological footprint, and positive points if they choose, create, or discover an environmentally friendly alternative.
A Life-Support transport sleeping 6 – 8 campers - Team of Super-heroes has up to 100 gallons of fresh water, 20 gallons of LP gas, 2 tanks of gasoline, containment tanks for waste water and sewage, an electrical generator to run lights, outlets, air conditioning, and LP gas to fuel the refrigerator, stove/oven, and furnace. Gauges and sensors track every gallon of water, gasoline and LP gas used, and minutes of electricity generated. Survival in the New World, and game points are determined by how these resources are used.
Sustainable living choices and game points are hidden in ordinary activities of the day; (like the manner in which campers learn to brush their teeth, prepare food, sort garbage for recycling, and so on). Every Super-hero wins. The competition heats up with the optional missions and increasingly difficult challenges (appropriate for the age group) offered to the Super-heroes to reduce their Ecological Footprint like Using sunlight instead of the gas generator to heat water, and wind energy to dry swimsuits (its called a clothesline), to baking cookies in a self-assembled solar oven, to inventing a battery from a potato to inventing a gasoline-free electrical generator from a pencil sharpener, coat hanger, and copper wire.
Of course, “Mindful Living Quest” includes all the fun associated with camping: hikes, canoeing, arts & crafts, campfires, swimming, music and games.
For example, a Young Muslim Women’s group might decide upon a schedule like this one, revolving around the 5 prayers of the day, and 4 activity times. The group leaders might plan Arabic language lessons, teaching Qur’an recitation, and calligraphy and henna painting as arts & crafts. Super-heroes earn points for all these “Mindful” activities, physical, spiritual, social, and emotional - leading to happy, balanced lives;
It is up to the community to become involved if the “Mindful Living Quest” eco-camp is to become a reality. Please take action, become involved, and spread the word to those you know who might be interested in serving on the MLQ Board, donate funds for development, or volunteer during camping sessions. A group reservation will get the ball rolling and give us a deadline to work toward.
Both Mindful Living Quest tm and this presentation are copyrighted by Maya Ogren . Thank you for your time. Please pass this on to those you know who may be interested. My cellphone number is 319-540-5114. Maya Ogren, Executive Director, Naturalist Adventures. Ltd., an Iowa non-profit and 501(c)(3) organization.
“ Camp” refers to A place – Midwest natural area An activity – “MLQ”
How it Works <ul><li>“ Leave No Trace” , “Pack in – Pack out” camping </li></ul><ul><li>Campers are picked up in town and transported to the campground in an RV appropriate for size of group </li></ul>
<ul><li>Beds, bathroom with showers, fully equipped kitchen </li></ul>