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Kids Train to be Hellboy at Dark Horse’s Official B.P.R.D. Camp

In what is unquestionably one of the coolest comic book licensing deals, Dark Horse Comics has partnered with the Trackers Earth outdoor education/camping outfit to create the official B.P.R.D. Training Camp in Portland, Oregon. The programme includes tactical training in survival, martial arts, weaponry, forensics, folklore and mythology, potions, charms, telepathy, physiology of monsters and gadgets of the occult. If that wasn’t all, kids are tasked with applying these skills to solving a 100-year-old mystery based on local legend and folklore.

The programme is open to children ages 9-17, which is so unfair.Trackers Earth is a family-run outdoors organization whose philosophy is to “revive outdoor lore and traditional skills, working to restore the common sense that is no longer common. Our vision is to help foster a deep appreciation for the natural world and community.” Some of the things children and adults can learn and experience at Trackers beyond simply camping out include wildlife tracking, identifying edible plants and herbs, boating, woodworking and other things of that nature.

Introducing the Hellboy and B.P.R.D. concept into an outdoors camp for children is an inspired idea, and the Trackers people seem to have done their homework:

Find out if you have what it takes to join an elite team of paranormal investigators combating the forces of darkness from all across the globe. We immerse you in tactical training of all forms, including survival skills in any environment (both earthly and non), martial arts and self-defense specific to praeternatural entities, hand to hand weaponry (we train foam swords, bows and more) and forensic investigation. All these key skills that every agent must have, plus you are steeped in the history of our Bureau and legacy of paranormal research.

In addition to all the fun training and activities, B.P.R.D. campers will have to search for a lost cemetery and solving a local legend — The Legend of Adolph Aschoff. The Trackers literature includes an enticing bit of Hellboy-inspired fiction based on the story, an excerpt of which you can read below:

Born in 1849, Adolph Aschoff grew up learning how to hunt and track from a poacher in Hanover, before the German Empire ever came to be. His first brush with the supernatural was when he came upon a village burnt to the ground by what locals claimed to be demonic forces. This piqued his curiosity, leading to a lifelong study of the occult.

When Prussian soldiers invaded, Aschoff realized their interest in the town was more than a military land grab. The soldiers were part of a secret order within the military called the Order Nem-ett Ethem, which according to Professor J.H. O’Donnell worship one of the sleeping Ogdru Hem. Aschoff believed that the Prussians were there to wake a sleeping god who lay beneath the town. In fact, their target in Hannover was a tablet in the ground marking one of four points spread across the western hemisphere. The Order of Nem-Ett Athem sought to unearth and activate each point in order to raise the Ogdru Hem that they revered, whose location they did not know.

Amazing.

I was a Boy Scout for many years and it was in that organization that I enjoyed some of the best times of my life. Although I was and continue to be unimpeachably trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent, I was above all else lazy, and only achieved the rank of Life Scout, one rank below Eagle. Perhaps if I knew I could meet Hellboy creator Mike Mignola and solve a B.P.R.D. mystery, I would have been a better scout. Sadly, my recollection is that the Boy Scouts had some objection to the occult. Whatever.

Click here for more information on the B.P.R.D. Camp.

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