SUMMERTIME VIDEO BING INFO
If you are on this page it’s either because you are hopelessly lost on the internet or because your rocker is enrolled in one of our 13 weeks of Summertime Video Bing Bong camp. If you are lost, breath easy - this is one of the tamer pages that you might find on the old electronic garbage mill. If your rocker is enrolled with us, welcome to the longest, most detailed, and hopefully most enjoyable info page you will read today.
With no further ado, let’s get to it. Below are some important details for Summertime Video Bing Bong. Please crack open a bottle of wine and be sure to read all the way to the bottom. If you get to the bottom of the wine please reread this again tomorrow with a clear head.
Wait!! What Camp is My Kid In!!!
Before we get too far it’s important to know which week your rocker is enrolled in. If you don't know, please double check your email account. Search for ActivityHero / Rock Band Land / Summertime Video Bing Bong. If that doesn't work, please throw your computer away then ask your partner to check their account. If that doesn't work, please throw their computer away. Then walk to the Apple store and email me your question.
Rock Band Land is located at Castle Bing Bong @ 400- E Treat Ave between 17th and 18th. Look for the sign that makes perfect nonsense and you'll know you have found us.
Summertime Video Bing Bong runs alongside Rock Band Land’s Summertime Rock Out. Both camps meet at Castle Bing Bong from 9:00 - 4:00 and at times will converge for a shared arts experience. We appreciate that you have to get to work and we'll try and open a little early each day (not before 8:50), but If you are earlier than that, please hang tight. We have a lot of work to do each morning before the campers arrive.
Aftercare is offered from 4:00 - 5:00 (see below). Aftercare is a ton of fun! Last minute sign ups are fine.
We do not offer pre-care as we start each day prior to the camper's arrival meeting, planning, and prepping for the day's events and activities.
RBL offers aftercare (AC) from 4:00 - 5:00 Monday - Thursday. AC is $15 per hour per camper. Sign ups for AC happen the week of your rockers camp - we do not accept sign ups or payment for AC in advance. You can sign up each morning at drop off or, if you know your schedule for the week on Monday, you can just let us know on the first day of camp.
We always have plenty of staff on hand to cover as many artists and rockers as need to stay. Last minute sign ups are fine too, you can always text me if you are running late to regular pick up.
Payments will be made on Thursday afternoon by cash or credit card. If your artist is not in AC on Thurs but was for other days, I will invoice you on Thursday night. All invoices should be paid before your artist’s video premiere on Friday.
AC wraps at 5:00. 5:00 means 5:00. There's no such thing as after aftercare. That'd be silly. If you are picking up before 5:00 ring the doorbell if the door is closed.
Camp Contact # 415-568-7643 / When to Text / When to Call (and When To Not Call)
Stop right now and put my (Brian's) number in your phone and list it as Rock Band Land. You will need this number to contact us if you are late or if there is an emergency.
Seriously though, put my number in your phone. Trust me, I hate using the phone as much as any other busy, self involved person in the 21st century, but this is important. If there is an emergency or a serious issue (after a 911 call, sickness, emotional distress, physical expressions of violence, etc...) that involves your artist, I will be calling you - not texting or emailing. If you mistake me for a robo-spam call and let my call roll to voicemail that's time wasted. Rest assured I will not be calling to talk about the new Netflix series or to ask your opinions on the seemingly endless varieties of nut milks that have flooded the market. If I call, it's important. If I don't - which will be your experience 99.99999% of the time, then you can trust everything is cool with your rocker.
General rule for contacting me: If your artist is with us at RBL and you have a question, then text me, do not call. I can not always answer my phone, especially if I'm leading an activity. I will reply as soon as I am free to do so.
If your question requires an involved answer, please email me. I will reply before the day's end.
If your artist is not at RBL and you have a question, email me. Please do not text me. Seriously, don't text me. If you need to talk about an issue at camp email me first and we'll schedule a call that works for both of us. In previous years some parents thought it'd be super fun to text me often between the hours of 11:00pm and 6:00am when I'm pretending to sleep. Oh boy, that was fun to wake up to each night - multiple times. So fun. If you have weak boundaries, it's time to get some fence materials and start building.
I will only reply to camp texts between the hours of 8:00am and 5:00pm. Outside of those hours, email is king or queen, or a democratically elected, socialist leaning prime minister.
RBL is a Parent / Caregiver Free Zone
Parents, I've some good news and some bad news.
-- The good news: your artist is about to embark on a completely bonkers, creative adventure at Rock Band Land.
-- The bad news:you won't be on that adventure with them, in fact beyond our entranceway (The Cinnamon Forest) you won't even be in the building - at least for the first few days of camp.
Though we have enormous respect for good parenting and believe that it is the cornerstone for building a society of decent people, Rock Band Land is here for the artists and their needs, not for you. When you are in our space, with the exception of showtime on Friday, you are at best a distraction for our staff and the other artists and rockers, and at worst you are completely in the way, and potentially a safety hazard. From the second our artists and rockers arrive our staff will be engaging with them and observing the social dynamics among campers. We'll be looking for potential groupings, behavioral issues, friendships and rivalries. We'll be listening to the campers and getting to know them as best we can in the short time before camp officially begins, while helping them become familiar with the people who will be caring for them, teaching them, joking with them, and creating with them all week. When you are in the space, you interrupt that process and and take our staff's attention away from our campers.
By Wednesday, after we have a solid sense of the production crew and band's working dynamic, there may be opportunities either in the morning (8:50 - 9:20) or during aftercare (4:00 - 5:00) for you to come in and take a quick peek at the castle, but it's not a guarantee. Fear not, you are definitely invited to join us in our Great Hall for your rocker's premiere on Friday.
That went well, how about some more good news and bad news? This time, bad news is first.
-- The bad news: if you are a player (this goes out to dad's especially) and think that you will be coming in for 30-40 minutes of sick jam time on the instruments with your kid each day, please reshape your thinking, that's not happening.
-- The good news: remember, Guitar Center will always love you.
New parents, welcome to Rock Band Land! Please don't be frightened. I am unapologetically a real jerk when I have to be to make sure that our artists and rockers get the best experience possible while they are in our care, but make no mistake about it, we absolutely value our parent community. If you are nervous about sending your artist to a camp that you will be denied entrance to, please don't be because A) we work tirelessly to care for our campers and to make RBL one of the best camp options in the country B) we will be offering tours of RBL so you can see the castle with your artist in advance of their camp start date. See Summer Tours and Summer RBL Clubhouse section below.
Separation anxiety is a real thing. If your artist experiences separation anxiety please connect with us in advance and follow our lead during drop off. If you are the nervous sort, please rest easy, we've had thousands of rockers and artists in RBL and have helped countless young campers overcome their separation anxiety. Within minutes we'll have your artists laughing and joining in the fun. If your artist does experience separation anxiety, it's crucial that you be on time for drop off. Tardiness simply worsens their experience, amplifies their anxiety, and makes it harder for us to smoothly integrate them into the fun that's unfolding in the castle.
The key to successfully integrating an artist or rocker who is experiencing separation anxiety is to first have the parents inform them in advance that mom and dad are not allowed in RBL. This should be done not while driving to camp on the first day but a few days / weeks or so in advance and then with regular follow ups so they can be prepared. It should also be framed a positive; be excited about it when you share the info with them. Then, on the first day, when dropping off you should make a swift and clean, unemotional goodbye. Give them a quick hug and then off you go. Don't linger, and definitely don't come back to "check in". You'd be surprised at the number of folks who sabotage their child's own success by trying to "check in" on their kid. Almost always that's all about the parent's issues and not the kid's anxiety and I run hard defense on those folks so that their camper can have the best experience possible. Believe me, we get it - it's hard to leave when your child is upset or nervous, or in tears, but sometimes it's exactly the right thing to do to help them grow and develop.
Also, we highly encourage parents of campers who experience separation anxiety to attend one of the RBL tours that we are offering throughout the summer and / or attend one of our Summer RBL Clubhouse events, see dates and times below.
If you know now that a rolling drop off (see below) is not going to work for your artist and you are expecting tears or a meltdown on day one, here's what you do:
-- First, as mentioned above, you should attend a tour with your artist and ideally send them to Clubhouse so they can see first hand how much fun RBL is.
-- Then on day one, arrive early enough to park and be waiting outside when we open doors at 8:50. We'll greet you and your artist and if they need an extra minute or two with you that's fine.
-- You can either hang out front or, in this one exception, we'll allow you into the entrance-way to sit with your artist. You will not be allowed into the main hall or second levels.
-- Either I or one of our staff will keep checking in with your artist when we see an opportunity to integrate them into the rest of the camp, we'll encourage your artist to give you a hug and then tell you it's time to go. Please respect that and go when asked.
-- As mentioned, there may be tears and that is sometimes part of the process.
Summer Tours and Summer RBL Clubhouse
For all the curious parents and eager artists and rockers, we will be offering a chance for you all to come in and explore Castle Bing Bong prior to camp, and for new campers who just can't wait till camp or who might be a little nervous, we are offering a special RBL Clubhouse just for them.
We have already offered our first summer tour of the season on Saturday, May 25 and it was a great experience for the rockers and artists who attended. Our second tour will be on July 13 at 12:00 / 12:30 / 1:00 / and 1:30. There’s no need to RSVP, just come to RBL (400 -E Treat Ave) at those times. We'll open the doors on the minute and welcome you in. Both parents and rockers / artists are welcome on the tour. From 2:00 - 4:00 we will offer Clubhouse. Clubhouse is just for the artists / rockers.
Click here to enroll your rocker in Clubhouse. We are limiting this Clubhouse to just 30 spots. If your rocker is a RBL vet, though we'd love to see them, the intention here is to save these spots for our new rockers to help them ease into camp and new their life as a rocker.
If your artist might be nervous about camp or if they experience separation anxiety we strongly encourage you to take advantage of these offerings. For those nervous artists it makes the most sense for you to take the tour with us at 1:30 and then leave your rockers for Clubhouse at 2:00.
Pick Up & Drop Off
RBL Drop Off & Pick Up Protocols
We now employ a rolling drop off and pick up system at RBL that is staggered over 30 minute periods. All parents should read the info below. If your artist is being picked up by another family member or caregiver please make this information available to them. These protocols have been designed with our campers' safety in mind and they will only work if we are all participating to that end. Thank you in advance for helping pick up and drop off run as smoothly as possible.
RBL is located at 400 - E Treat Ave @ 17th. Treat Ave is a one way street running south. The safest and best way to approach RBL is to come heading east via 17th Street and turn right on Treat. If you come from the west or down Treat from 16th you will have to cross 17th at Treat Ave. That intersection is already tricky as it is positioned at an odd angle and there are no traffic lights. With our morning camp traffic, and the traffic of neighboring businesses, crossing at 17th will be challenging, potentially dangerous, and should be avoided.
There may be a few minutes where traffic backs up on 17th. Please be patient and be mindful of the many cyclists who use that route for their morning commute. We’ll be moving as fast as we can on our end to safely receive all campers.
Rolling Drop Off Protocol
There will be two orange safety markers on the street in front of RBL. Please pull up in between those markers or form a line behind the cars already waiting to drop off. Drivers should stay in their cars and we'll come to you, greeting the first two cars in the line.
Please have your artist’s belongings ready to go so we don’t have to watch you pack their lunch on the street and gum up the drop off. If your artist is not ready (ie putting on shoes, looking for their lunchbox, wanting to finish listening to the traffic report on NPR) then we may instruct you to go around the block so you don't hold up the line behind you.
All campers will be greeted and should exit from the passenger’s side of the car. DO NOT LET THE ARTISTS EXIT FROM THE DRIVER’S SIDE OF THE CAR. This will be a moving traffic lane.
We come to greet you please introduce us to your campers and have the following info prepared:
1) Do they need aftercare? Yes or No is all we need to know. If you aren’t sure, say No and then text me later with an update if you do in fact need AC.
2) Will they be picked up early for some reason? If so, at what time and by who?
There's no sign in sheet for you to sign, just a quick hello from you is all we ask. Once we give you the okay, please drive on and go enjoy your day. We’ll make sure your artist has an amazing experience.
If you prefer walk your artist to the front door and need to double park, please drive beyond RBL (towards 18th Street) to do so. If you stop before we'll have to ask you to move as you will gum up the drop off line. Please be sure to not block any of our neighbors’ driveways or roll up garage doors. Seriously, don't do that. We have a great relationship with our neighbors but they get understandably upset when they can't access or exit their businesses due to RBL traffic. No one wants to start their morning with a shouting match and that is what will happen if you block their driveways.
Drop Off Times
Drop off begins at 8:50 and continues through 9:20. After 9:20 our staff will begin transitioning into activities and the front door will be closed. Please ring the bell and we’ll come greet you. Though camp officially begins at 9:00, please don't stress if you arrive later than 9:00. We always allow some buffer in the morning for folks who are running late, and the organized activities don't kick in until 9:30. Dropping off anytime from 8:50 - 9:20 is a-ok. Take your time and enjoy the morning with your artist.
Walking / Bicycle Drop Off
We do not have bicycle (or scooter or skateboard) storage for campers at RBL. There is not bicycle parking in front of RBL (we tried to have them installed but the sidewalks are too narrow). Down the block, closer to 18th St, there is a series of bike racks. Please lock up your artist’s bike there.
If you are dropping off on foot one of our staff will greet you in the entrance way. Please remember that though I am always happy to answer your questions, at drop off and pick up my (and our staff’s) attention must be on our campers and their safety and it may not be possible for me to check in with you at that time.
Pick Up Times
Our staggered pick up begins at 3:30 and runs through 4:05.
If you arrive early and have not previously set up an early pick up notice with me, please hang tight. and don't ring the bell. We will come out at 3:30 sharp.
At 4:10 all remaining campers will go to aftercare and parents will be invoiced for AC.
Vehicle Pick Up Protocol
Beginning at 3:30 RBL staff will be out front to greet parents picking up. Just like in the morning, there will be two orange safety markers on the street in front of RBL. Please pull up in between those markers or line up behind the cars waiting to pick up.
As you roll up just remind us who you are picking up. We will then walkie talkie to the Great Hall in the castle and your artists will soon come out smiling and ready for the next adventure in the day. We ask that if your rocker needs help buckling that you get out of your car and load them from the passenger side to speed the process. Please load all campers from the passenger side of the car. DO NOT LET YOUR ARTIST ENTER FROM THE DRIVER’S SIDE OF THE CAR. This will be a moving traffic lane. If they don't need help buckling you can stay in the driver's seat, we'll bring them to you and then off you go.
Once we hand them off to the driver and have the driver sign them out, your camper’s camp time will have concluded and they are the responsibility of that person. When they are safely loaded and buckled please be on your way so that we can accommodate the next person in line.
Walking Pick Up
If you are picking up on foot please wait outside in front of our roll up garage door.
Three RBL staff will be out front communicating with the drivers of pick up vehicles. Please let one of them know who you are picking up and then wait there.
Once you arrive your artist's camp time will have concluded and it’s time for them to leave and we’ll ask you to sign out for your rocker.
Aftercare Pick Up
Aftercare pick up generally is significantly calmer than regular pick up. We will not be waiting out front for AC parents.
If there are no cars in front of RBL please feel free to double park in between the orange cones in front of our roll up garage door, come into the entranceway and let us know who you are picking up.
If there are cars in front of RBL and you need to double park, please drive beyond RBL (towards 18th Street) to do so and be sure to not block any of our neighbors’ driveways. Double parking before RBL (btwn RBL & 17th Street) will limit the number of cars we can accommodate and slow the process down.
Once you arrive your camper’s camp time will have concluded and it’s time for them to leave.
Early Pick Up Party Crashers
Often many new parents will try and arrive early between (3:00 and 3:30) for pick up to either get our attention and talk for a minute or to get a sneak peek at the inner workings of RBL. Obviously if you need to pick up early for an appointment or something that is of course ok, but if you are trying to get our attention, this is the absolute worst time to do so. The artists (and staff) are tired by this point and we always have lots of little details to tend to to get our campers out safely each day. Please do not come early if you can help it.
If you'd like to speak with me, or ask any questions, I'll be more than happy to talk with you after we dismiss the band or later in the day via email.
We will have plenty of sunscreen on hand, but please coat your artist in UV protection before drop off. Most of our camp is indoors but we spend 1.5 - 2 hours either at In Chan Kaajal Park or Franklin Square Park, where there is limited shade.
Our Artists Are Not Mules
We know you love your kid and want them to have the world, but there is no need to send your artist to RBL like they are going on a several weeklong expedition in the arctic. The only things that your artist will need at RBL are a water bottle, a lunch box, a light jacket, a small backpack to hold just those 3 things, and their imagination. Aside from that we have everything covered.
Seriously, please do not send them with a giant backpack filled with "treasures". We don't have a lot of storage space and since I am absolute neat freak, if you send your camper with extra crap, they will spend their time organizing their unnecessary stuff to my liking while their unburdened campmates head off to the activities of the day.
Lunch / Snack
Please pack a lunch and a small, dry morning snack for your artist each day. Please do not pack any nuts or nut products in your artist's lunch, each week there will be several campers with severe nut allergies.
Dear Dads (it's almost always the dads), I know you are trying your best. You're up late at night making the kids' lunches, trying to do your part, and I know how much you enjoyed PB&J as a kid -- I did too -- but no kid business, or school, or activity is cool with nuts anymore. I know it might seem silly to you, but it's for good reason. Unless you want to be my official EpiPen dude, standing at the ready to stab kids in the thigh with their medicine while tears of fear and discomfort are falling silently from their faces for they can't make anymore sounds because their throat is swollen shut because some ding-dong dad insisted on serving PB&J to their kids even after I specifically wrote him a note to say," Hey ding-dong dad, don't do that!", make something else.
You can do it dads. I believe in you. I truly do.
Yogurts and yogurt drinks are not allowed at RBL. We did the math and 78.7% of all yogurt products end up on the floor. The same is true for milk, juice, and sugary drinks and candy - these all mess up the place in a hurry and the sugar drinks and candy unnecessarily jack up our rockers and artists.
Dry, healthy snacks and lunches are the way to go while at RBL.
We provide afternoon snack (popcorn) to all campers. Occasionally pickles will be shared with the production team and band. This might not sound like a big deal, but trust me, it is. On Friday, assuming the production team and band beat Harry Dave Point-taker (their nemesis and motivating tool towards great behavior) they will have a popsicle party at the park before their show to celebrate a great week.
All artists will need a water bottle filled with good old water. All non-water drinks will be replaced with delicious Hetch Hetchy tap water. We have no less than 5 sinks at the castle so refilling is not an issue. Also, if your artist returns home with a full water bottle, don't freak out. Artists have access to their water bottles throughout the day, and we can refill them for them when empty, but the majority of their self initiated water breaks take place while at the parks where they drink from the water fountain. We do not allow water bottles on the walks to and from the parks because they quickly become a safety hazard while crossing the streets.
Cell Phones / Smart Phones / Dumb Phones / Wrist Phones
Your artist will need exactly zero phones / devices while at RBL. Not zero plus one or one minus zero. Just zero.
This is kind of a newer thing for both as our artists are aging and folks are giving phones to their kids earlier and earlier. We can’t possibly monitor everyone’s phones and nor do we want to, and phones in class / camp are a complete and total unnecessary distraction — we recently had a 5 year old stop in the middle of the crosswalk while we were crossing the street because her mom was calling her on her wrist phone. To keep it simple all phones / devices that are brought to camp will go in a pickle jar in my office. This includes Apple Watches and other wrist style phones. I’m not sure if Apple Care covers damage caused by pickle brine, so please check your plan before sending your artist to camp with a phone.
While at camp if you need to connect with your artist, please do so through me.
Sicky Sick & The Icky Bugs
Just like in school if your artist is ill, please keep them home. Same goes for if they have a healthy case of American head lice. Also, if your camper is undergoing an exorcism, your priest is not allowed to accompany them to camp. Our staff is trained in demon wrangling.
I know some folks think that lice is not a big deal, but when you run a family-centric business it's a huge deal. If you knowingly send your artist with lice (we always find out if a camper has lice --kids talk) they will be sent home immediately. Your artist will not be allowed back until cleared by a doctor or a professional lice wrangler / groomer and refunds will not be discussed.
All Shoes Are Not Created Equal
All artists must have reliable shoes in Rock Band Land. This means sneakers that lace or velcro, or slip on, closed toe shoes that do not fall off easily. Crocs, flip flops, sandals, platform and high heeled shoes, wheeled shoes, and those weird, web toe shoes are not allowed in Rock Band Land. We are really strict on this rule as we have seen too many kids trip and fall in the past simply because of inadequate footwear.
Dressing for Success
Your artist is in a unique program that will include a great deal of green screening. This means if they wear a green shirt, a green pair of pants, a green headband, a green scarf, a green burka, a green pair of shoes, or a green handkerchief that is super long when you pull it out like a clown, that portion of their body will not show up on film. To make things easier on everyone, please do NOT send your artists in green attire this week. Should we want to make part of your artists' body disappear (on film) we have some fun green screen bodysuits and all purpose green sheets and accessories for such occasions.
Also, please be careful to not send your artists covered in corporate logos. If we deem that their Warriors shirt, Camp Mather, or My Parent Went to Stanford and They Think They Are Soooooo Smart shirt is distracting to the shoot, we will provide your artist with either a blank t-shirt or one of the many beautiful RBL t-shirts that have been made over the years.
To fully capture the story/song in video form, artists have the option of acting on camera. In the past, artists have portrayed lions, old men, pirates, goblins, fairies, ghosts, and various other characters that require costumes, wigs and/or facepaint. Costumes are shared and well maintained, and the face paint we purchase is non-toxic and made for sensitive skin. If you are uneasy about your artist using our costumes or facepaint, please let us know by emailing Alejandra at firstname.lastname@example.org. Most costuming and facepaint will happen on Thursday. Additionally, after storyboarding our video on Tuesday, we often ask for families via email to loan very specific props or accessories that we realize we need for our video but don't yet have in-house. Because our stories are original and created by 80 weirdo artists and rockers on Monday, the items we need are more than a little unpredictable. Any loans are appreciated but not required; we certainly do not expect or want anyone to purchase an extra large polka dotted fireplace billow or a unicycle with an attached purple horn, for example. Any items graciously shared will be cared for by teachers until the end of the week when filming is completed.
Park Time / Breaks on The Block / Emergency Meeting Point
We have our version of recess either at In Chan Kaajal Park on Folsom at 17th or at Franklin Square Park on 17th and Bryant, just a few blocks up from RBL. It varies from day to day, but we usually spend about an hour and a half playing at the park.
Throughout the week we occasionally take outside breaks to reset the energy of the campers. Sometimes we'll do running games in front of our space, sometimes we take a walk around the block. Whenever any campers leave our space they are always accompanied by a teacher.
If for some reason there was an emergency that forced us to evacuate RBL, our meeting point will be In Chan Kaajal Park on Folsom at 17th (across the street from RBL). We would be calling parents from there, and whether cell phones worked or not, we would stay in place unless police or emergency services instructed us to move elsewhere.
Summertime Video Bing Bong is great creative fun. Artists will work with rockers in RBL’s Rock Out camp to create a story. Rockers will then compose a song based on that story while your artists form a production team to conceptualize, produce and premiere an accompanying video (most often a music video) to that original rock song. Our artists will have ample time to act, animate, paint, draw, film, photography, design, etc., as well as play and experiment on all of the instruments (guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, microphones, percussion, etc...) There will be countless music, art, comedy, group games, and creative, expressive lessons scattered throughout the week, but the primary focus is always on creative collaboration. We meet each rocker / artist where they are with regards to their experience and ability. No experience with animation, cameras, acting, or playing an instrument is required to enjoy RBL.
What We Expect From You
We expect that:
-- You will communicate with us about any medical, behavioral, life issues (i.e. the passing of a family member or pet, a recently announced divorce, the loss of a favorite stuffie, etc...) that might effect your artist's ability to participate in camp.
-- You will be reading the email updates that we will send throughout the week and make your artist's story and song materials available to them at home so that they can practice and get the most out of their camp week in Rock Band Land.
-- You will be on time for camp drop off, pick up, and the Friday show and that you'll scream your head off an be a great audience member for the production crew.
Staff to Camper Ratio // Team Teaching
At RBL all classes and activities are team taught with a minimum of two teachers present per group. The artists of Video Bing Bong will spend 90% of their time with the Directors of our Video Bing Bong Department, Taylor and Alejandra, however they will spend quality time being bonkers and creative with all of our amazing teachers throughout the week, with a minimum teacher to student ratio of 1 teacher to 10 students.
Different Age Groups and Expectations Per Age
Video Bing Bong, the camp your artist is enrolled in, is for artists 7 years old and older. Our Summertime Rock Out camp includes rockers as young as 5 years old.
Almost all RBL offerings, including this camp, are mixed ages offerings. Our 9-12 year old rockers and artists will get plenty of time with their peer group and they will also be mixed in at times with the younger rockers. Life is best when there's variety, and this year our older rockers can take comfort in knowing they will have more rockers of their age group.
Not Afraid of The Dark
We want to be sure that everyone is absolutely, completely, totally, without a doubt, one hundred thousand million percent checked out on the amazing experience your artist is about to participate in.
We write and produce only original material (songs, stories, art) with our artists and rockers. We do so with great care and passion, and though we help steer, we mostly follow their lead when it comes to the directions that the stories and resulting songs might go. We have a few simple rules that we insist are followed:
-- The stories must be original.
-- Anything can happen in our stories. Crazy, dangerous, and tragic elements might be included, characters can get hurt, they might even die, but the message of the story / song can not be mean spirited.
-- Potty words aren't allowed.
-- We must respect our bandmates and their ideas AND it's ok and important to disagree and express one's differing opinions with respect. If a rocker doesn't like an idea that is presented, if that idea makes them uncomfortable, frightened, or if they simply think they have a better idea, then it's their responsibility to speak up and present their case with a better or different idea. Just saying, "No, I don't like that", doesn't aid the group in creating, in fact it often shuts it down. Having to offer another suggestion encourages creative collaboration and shows respect for the work already done by the others. We are always scanning the room to see if a rocker might be uncomfortable or frightened by a proposed idea and we absolutely help them speak up and work to find a solution that everyone can get behind.
If those rules are followed we can go almost anywhere thematically.
Sometimes our subject matter is dark. We have written well over 330 songs and stories and the subject matter at time includes some really spooky elements - in fact more than any other type of story our rockers and artists almost always ask to write a scary or spooky story / song. Among many other things we've written about humans being eaten by zombie dinosaurs (Family Pets), a young girl who is protected by the spirits of her deceased parents (Family Tree), witches being discriminated against by ignorant neighbors (Blame Magic), a pizza delivery person who steals hands of sleeping people (The Hand Witch Thief), and it's sequel (Grandparent Cake) in which the pizza man bakes a girl's grandparents into her birthday cake. We've written about love, fear, great battles, bullying, gender identity and gender fluidity, revenge and retribution.
We write this to you not to frighten you (we've also written our share of sweeter tales) but because we believe entirely in our process and our product, and want to be sure you are completely aware of what we do. We know everyone is crazy busy and a lot of folks sign up for programs simply because their friends' kids are in it. There is nothing at all wrong with that, but Rock Band Land is definitely not T-Ball or cat petting camp.
If you have yet to listen to some of the songs and stories we encourage you to do so now. We do what we do and we do it well, and though a creative expression program, we are also media producers. As with all media it's your responsibility as parents to determine what is right for your rocker to participate in and to consume. As we write our songs and stories with the bands we will be sharing them with you every step of the way. If ever a concern arises we are always available to discuss how and why the story developed as it did.
The longer your artist stays with Rock Band Land the more their collection of awesome songs and stories will grow. As will their attachment and investment in these stories and songs.
As we are learning the song we will be sending you the song materials via email to share with your artist at home. Please be sure to download or stream them. When your artist's camp week concludes we will be sending you the final studio version of the song with them singing on the track, the final edited story, the final video produced by Video Bing Bong, thousands of photos that were taken during camp, and whatever other creations were made spontaneously during the camp week.
This year, in addition to all the fun and creative activities that are already on the weekly schedule we are hoping to include more photo and video projects. These may be in the form of games, acting, comedy, storytelling, or whatever whimsical idea arises. We've hired another video editor to help us with this project. Some of this media will be shared during or at the end of camp, and other videos might come out later in the year, depending on how ambitious the project is. It's all very exciting and we are thrilled to be able to offer more artistic opportunities than ever to our campers this year.
As mentioned above, here at RBL we are constantly pushing ourselves to both improve our programming and to be able to offer our rockers and artists more creative opportunities. We have ample resources to offer everything that we have said we will do for our campers, but there are certain items that it seems that we can never have enough of, namely computers (Macs), iPads, cameras and video gear.
We've already spent beyond our budget for tech gear for this summer, so if you have any of the items above that are functional but not being used and could benefit the camp, please consider donating them to RBL and we'll put them to good use.
Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of schools and other activities that are struggling, that have fewer resources than RBL, and that could use those items too, also RBL is not a non-profit so donations wouldn't be tax write offs, but I also know that it's not uncommon for folks to have these items laying around and have no plan to use or donate them. If that happens to be you, and you'd like to lighten your load and help our program grow, we would be grateful.
Medical / Behavioral Issues
If something is happening in your artist’s mind or body that might effect their experience or their behavior in our class, please be sure to share this information with us. In addition to years of teaching experience our staff has years of experience working with kids and adults with special needs. We will do everything in our power to help accommodate your artist and give them the best experience possible.
I include this section because in the past there have been numerous examples where parents who, for whatever reason, have chosen to withhold this kind of information from us and if they had shared it we could have significantly bettered their child’s experience. Sometimes they simply forgot to tell us, sometimes they weren’t sure, and sometimes they were either in denial, embarrassed, or afraid of stigmatizing their camper with a label that might accompany a doctor’s diagnosis.
This is your reminder to not forget. If you are dancing with denial or embarrassment, get over it. This is about your kid and not your feelings. And if you are concerned about stigmatizing your rocker with a label, please do not worry – we have your kid’s back.
Here’s the thing: every single one of us has issues. We all come rocketing out of our mothers a perfect blend of completely awesome and totally messed up. Some issues are major some are minor, and together – just like chords of a song- they make us who we are.
Here’s the other thing: whether you tell us or not, we almost always know when something is going on developmentally with one of our rockers or artists. We are not therapists or medical professionals – and we don’t claim to be, but we know kids. Though we are fully capable of accessing and reshaping a situation to accommodate specific concerns that we see in a child, it’s eight million billion times better for your child if you share information with us from the get-go so that we can work together to make sure they have everything they need to succeed.
If you need to, please be sure to update your artist's info in your ActivityHero account and you can write to me directly. Please don't wait till the morning of the first day of camp to share this type of important information with me.
Medication Release Forms
As RBL has expanded, more and more rockers and artists are attending that have allergies severe enough to require either EpiPens or asthma severe enough to require an inhaler to be on their person. Because of this, RBL must have a new protocol in place to ensure consistency in the administration of such meds for the safety of the campers. Thus, we need a medication release form to be filled out by any parent who is leaving their camper with an EpiPen or inhaler, or by those parents who allow their camper to self administer any other medications, in order to:
1) Get parent permission for RBL to administer.
2) To make clear that we will only follow the instructions for administering contained on the prescription box provided by parent (ie. there will be no judgment calls by staff and there will be no accepting a long list of instructions from parent that deviates from the prescription on the container - RBL cannot make those medically related judgments).
If you'd like to save time at drop off on the first day of camp, you can download the form here, print it, and bring it in already filled out. Otherwise I'll have a stack at the ready when you arrive.
If your artist is enrolled in several weeks of (either Rock Out or Video Bing Bong) camp with us, a new form will have to be filled out each week.
Each session of Video Bing Bong will end with a premiere of the production crew's video on Friday at 3pm in the Great Hall of Castle Bing Bong.
Enrollment For RBL 2019 - 2020 Classes and Camps
Enrollment will open soon for all of our fall 2019 - 2020 classes and camps, including Rock Out, Pre-K Rock Out, Video Bing Bong, Drum Out, Winter & Spring Camp, and RBL Day Camps and RBL Clubhouse
If your artist enjoys their time in camp, please don't delay to enroll them in any of our school year offerings. Our classes tend to fill long in advance and the fall sessions will absolutely fill up.
RBL Tax ID # For Your Records
Many of you will be claiming our camps and activities on your taxes and / or getting credit from your employers. To do so you will need our Tax ID number, which is 47-2940974. Every spring I get countless panicked emails from parents who are finishing their taxes and scrambling to collect all the necessary info. If you know now that you will be claiming camp on your taxes, please save yourself the stress and make note of this number.
When you write me in the spring I'll be directing you to search your inbox for the email that included this fancy link, so by recording our tax id now you'll have just altered your future in a more positive direction.
Thank you for reading all of this info. I know it's a lot, but hopefully most all questions have been answered and our collective preparedness makes for a better experience for our campers. If I have forgotten anything or if you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to write.
We are really looking forward to making great art and music with your artists and rockers. Thanks.