For Parents

Future Participants - Beware Of Mild Spoilers Below

Upcoming mission dates available on the Schedule Your Mission page

What Parents Can Expect

We are excited to be launching our first Dark Planet mission after completing a pilot program last summer. Before we accept your child into this program, we need to make sure you understand the nature of the experience and the inherent risks associated with it.

The Experience

In Dark Planet, participants become members of a team that follow a storyline much in the same way a computer game does. Part of the storyline involves the players assuming the roles of space travelers that crash land on a primitive, forest planet. Here, they must engage in a variety of problem solving activities and engineering challenges that require the players to apply science knowledge and use tools to design and build solutions to their situation. 

Dark Planet takes place on 165 acres near the Red River Gorge. The land is remote and rugged and the topography ranges from level, cleared areas to heavily forested hills and deep ravines. Several miles of dirt roads and smaller paths that provide easy walkways crisscross the area.

At the beginning of the 5-day experience, students board Copernicus 1, a space ship that can seat 8 students and 2 adults. After a simulated space flight and crash, the ship and its passengers are left in a designated crash site where they emerge from to ship to find themselves in a mysterious situation. For the next five days and four nights, the team must use resources planted about the area to build a camp, fix broken components of their ship and interact with inhabitants of the planet.

Throughout the immersion, team members will spend their time searching the surrounding forest for the resources they need. They will be hiking and running through the forest, climbing trees and large rocks, camping in shelters they have built themselves, building campfires, using hand and small power tools to build things, driving go karts and similar vehicles, and defending their base from the inhabitants of the planet using airsoft and laser tag guns. 

5-Day Overnight Experience

  • 5-Day / 4-Night Mission
  • Meals Included
  • Transportation To/From Site Included

Potential Risks

Parents should expect all the risks, hazards and discomforts associated with the activities described on this website.

Although not required by every player, airsoft battles will occur, and small welts can result from this. Appropriate safety gear will be provided at all times, and adult supervision, in addition to the two team leaders will be present.

Scratches, bruises, cuts, bug bites, sunburn and similar injuries are likely in this camp. Participants need to be able to cope with such predicaments.  As with any outdoor activity in rugged terrain, the possibility of more serious injury does exist.

All adults are trained and certified in Red Cross first aid skills, ample first aid kits will be available, and in the event of serious injury, professional medical assistance is only about 15 minutes from the area.

Staff will constantly be monitoring the weather.  In the event of bad weather, the spaceship can serve as shelter from storms. In extreme weather participants can be temporarily relocated.