Minecraft Camp 2022

Yesterday (Monday, 6 June 2022) marked the beginning of Minecraft Camp 2022.  I’ve been doing Minecraft Camp since 2014, when a former colleague of mine created the camp and brought me on as his assistant.  That first camp—eight long years ago!—was announced on Friday, 6 June 2014 (it started on Monday, 9 June 2014) so there’s a nice symmetry there.   The cycle of time—and Minecraft—marches on.

My former colleague created a little blog for Minecraft Camp, Minecrafting at 5001, way back then, but I did not do a great job of keeping it updated last year.  That’s in part because we had something like sixteen campers, which made keeping up with the blog difficult.

I’m hoping to keep it updated a bit more frequently this time around.  I’m actually running two sessions of camp this year:  one this week, and another next week.  At the time of writing, I have eight campers confirmed, with a possible ninth.  I just have three campers for the second session, but I look for that to change—Thursday of last week I just had five campers enrolled in the morning; by that afternoon, I had three more last-minute sign-ups.  One of my campers is doing both sessions.

I decided to try two sessions because we had such huge enrollment last year.  I managed to get our ancient version of MinecraftEDU working on twenty of the school’s aging computers, which ended up being exactly what we needed—sixteen for campers, three for my counselors, and one for me.  The problem with running at peak efficiency is that if anything goes wrong—a computer crashes, a game file gets corrupted, etc.—there’s no backup.  I could put a student on my computer to play as their character, but it’d make it more difficult for me to distribute items to the students on an on-demand basis.

As such, I figured that two sessions would help break up the enrollment a bit.  That seems to be the case, though I’d rather have the eleven or twelve students in one week from an efficiency standpoint.  Nevertheless, it will make both sessions easier to manage overall, and if we do get more campers for the second session, it will balance out nicely.

I also jacked up the price this year from $175 per camper to $200.  I did that primarily because the camp is so popular, and I’ve been wanting to hit that price point for some time.  In retrospect, I think I should have offered a deal along the lines of $50 or $100 off if campers did both weeks (so the cost would be $300-$350, rather than $400).  I’m look at a gross of around $2200-2400, with shirts costing a little less than $250.  Assuming no new campers, and assuming I pay my one counselor this year $100 a week, I’m looking at a cost of around $450.  I’ll round that to $50, as I always get some goodies and bottled water from Sam’s Club for extra snacks.

As such, $2200 less $500 comes to about $1700.  The school takes a cut of the gross, somewhere around 15%-20%.  Assuming 20%, that’s another $440 to the school, so $1700 less $440 is around $1260 net for me.  I think the school’s cut is actually less than 20%, but I want to err on the side of caution with these calculations.

Anyway you slice it, you can see why this camp is important financially for yours portly—it accounts for a large chunk of my supplemental summertime income.

Based on a conversation with our new Director of Technology, we’re getting something like forty new computers for next school year, and the new MinecraftEDU is just $5 per license per year, so it sounds like we might be getting an upgrade after this summer.  It’s bittersweet—I’ll miss the old-school Java version, but it will be great to have all the crazy additions to the game since 2014 (I hear there are whales or sharks or something now).

Eight years is a good run, though.  Like presidents, maybe an ancient, un-updated version of Minecraft needs an update after eight years of faithful service (and lining my pockets).

Anyway, here’s to crafting!

—TPP

10 thoughts on “Minecraft Camp 2022

  1. You’re going to have to help me here, Port … Minecraft is the game that comes installed on my Windows 10 – is that correct? Next – parents pay you to play this video game with their children? Next – there are teenagers that need help playing video games? Next – are you all together in the same room when you play or is this distance play (they’re in their homes and you’re in your home)?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, I think you are thinking of Minesweeper. Minecraft is basically virtual LEGOs—you’re plopped down in an open world full of animals, minerals, trees, oceans, etc. You can mine and harvest those resources to build anything—towns, houses, dungeons, castles, farms, etc.

      Yes, parents pay me to play Minecraft with their kids—and, more likely, to get their kids out of the house for awhile. The fun of it comes—as you intuited—from having everyone playing in the same room, so we can collaborate and work together, or at least try to do so. It’s a good opportunity for kids to learn some collaborative skills, but I won’t sugarcoat it too much—it’s mostly about playing Minecraft!

      I’ll try to get some pictures today and update the camp blog. That will give you a better sense of what it’s like. We take a break about every hour for “screen-free time,” during which we shoot hoops, relax in the sunshine, and/or just have a snack. It’s a good opportunity to talk to the kids about what they’re working on in the game, and what sorts of things they want to try during camp. It also helps get to know them better, and build camaraderie.

      But, yeah, it’s a pretty good racket, all things considered. The quandary I am in at the moment are the t-shirts: I ordered enough for the kids I had signed up already, but I had some last-minute additions. I should have ordered a few more as “safety stock,” but oh well. I should have just enough if I strip my counselors and myself of our shirts, but I’m not sure if a kid will want my 2XL! : D Worst case, I’ll go to Target and pick up some Minecraft-themed t-shirts or the like.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I just checked – it is, indeed, Minecraft. I clicked on it this time and there was a graphic video displaying ‘blocks’ as well as a ‘nature’ scene created, I guess, by the blocks. The page came up with these buttons: “Play”; “Settings”; “Marketplace” – with a little sign saying it’s new; “Unlock full game”; “Sign in” and “Dressing Room” (whatever THAT is, lol!) It tells me this: v1.18.31 and it’s made (I guess?) by Mojang AB.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Whoa, that is wild! I had no idea Minecraft came packaged with Windows now. It makes sense, I guess—Microsoft bought Minecraft from Mojang AB, the creator, some years ago. Very cool! It must be a demo version, as there is an “Unlock full game” option.

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      • Coming down from that Minecraft high. Two more days in this week’s session! I bought two massive packages of King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls. Last year, I took the kids some rolls that were leftover from a men’s fellowship dinner at a local church. They went BONKERS—it completely threw me for a loop. So I announced today that I was bringing more tomorrow, and the kids went wild.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. You were talking about decent handheld games the other day and I remember recently mentioning Township to you. If you have a tablet, you can get it on free download; the only things you are required to pay for are things like the golden ticket, which you don’t have to buy. In fact, you don’t have to buy anything if you don’t want to – it’s all optional. It’s just your type of game, if you like building games. When you look at the menu screen for it, it all looks a bit childish but it really isn’t. It’s excellent but horribly addictive.

    Thanks for the email on your porch Spring jam by the way. It sounds like you had a great time. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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