Summer esports camp is a deep dive into the careers (and the fun!) of the esports world
Wednesday, June 23rd, 2021
There’s much more to esports than fun and games (though there’s plenty of that, too):
Take a look at the job listings for esports and video game production. There are team marketers and public relations managers, game designers and coders, artists and animators, writers and audio engineers…for starters.
And the job opportunities just keep growing.
Introducing pre-teens and young teens to some of those options is a main focus of the Center for Creative Exploration’s Peacock’s Esports Camp for 7th- through 10th-graders. From Aug. 2-6, they’ll be immersed in the world of esports — and, oh yes, there will be plenty of game play, too.
The full-day camp will be held in person at the downtown Lancaster campus of Pennsylvania College of Art & Design. Keeping the group of campers small ensures lots of hands-on instruction as they explore the needs of live production and online broadcasting, lots of career opportunities outlined by guest speakers, and afternoon scrimmages with three members of PCA&D’s competitive Esports Team, the Peacocks: Ben Farley ’21, and Aris Marinos ’22, both Animation & Game Art majors; and Ryan White ’24.
For details about PCA&D’s Esports Camp, including a supply list and health and safety guidelines, visit here.
Kids who are enamored with video games now are in a pretty sweet spot as the industry continues to expand rapidly. “I’ve watched esports grow from referring to a handful of small tournaments to huge internationals with prize pools in the millions of U.S. dollars,” says Teal Farrell, PCA&D Esports Camp Facilitator. “Esports even have a place on ESPN now, which says to me it’s being taken seriously as a professional competitive sport.”
And even when gamers are “playing,” Farrell says, they’re developing and refining skills that are useful outside of esports as well. Game play at the camp will focus on gamer fitness and wellness, understanding the game, refining mechanics, teamwork, communication, and improving ability by leaving your comfort zone – all valuable lessons for almost any project or career.
“The positive things I see in esports are not only the teamwork to play as a coordinated team,” Farrell notes, “but also the wide array of career opportunities related to it.
“Being involved in esports doesn’t mean you have to play a game at a high level; you could be on the broadcast crew, an artist making graphics for an event, handling the business end of things, or even work on the games themselves.” The camp is set up to emphasize all of those options.
“While there will be time for play and practice, there will be a focus on education and exposure to the (esports) industry,” Farrell says. “It’ll be fun, but I want to assuage worry from parents that it’ll all be playing games.”
4 quick facts about Teal Farrell, Esports Camp Facilitator
Their “absolute favorite fighting game player of all time”: SonicFox.
Who is SonicFox? You can learn about them in this profile in Wired magazine.
How has your esports interest led you to get involved in the industry in other ways? It’s led me to getting more directly involved in online streaming and broadcasting. Most recently, in November, I produced and ran the Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition’s 6-hour ExtraGive live stream, where I managed multiple people playing different games in various timeslots, and a tabletop roleplay session toward the end. I also played a few games myself on stream while still running crew and giving commentary.
We asked Farrell about what campers can expect from their weeklong immersion into the world of esports:
What will a typical camp day be like?
First off, campers should be able to navigate a desktop computer regardless of the operating system. And they should feel comfortable with the basic movement of the (first-person shooter) genre, either on keyboard and mouse or controller. Each day starts with a warm-up period to allow some time to settle in every day and handle any tech issues that arise. We will start with a mini-lesson about the topic for the day, usually a lead-in to what our guest speaker will talk about, which will happen after the lunch break. (After the speaker, we’ll move on) to scrimmage, practice, and questions with members of the Peacocks team for the rest of the day. Game play will focus on Overwatch, with additional play in Fortnite and Rocket League.
Besides their names and topics, what can you tell us about some of the camp’s speakers?
Dawn Cox, a physical therapist and owner of Prana Functional Manual Therapy here in Lancaster, will speak on exercises that campers can practice each day to keep them from repetitive stress injuries and cultivate more mindfulness as they play. Cox and her team work with many young athletes and with her help we will be able to show emerging esports players how to care for their physical health to prolong their playing careers.
Cox is certified in a specialty of PT called Functional Manual Therapy. She is one of four therapists in the state of Pennsylvania with this certification. She has taught Core First Strategies, nationally for the Institute of Physical Art, a world-wide continuing education organization for physical therapists. She serves as a guest lecturer at Franklin & Marshall College in the Theatre & Dance department. She was also recently awarded one of “The 25 Women Changing the Face of Lancaster City” and a few years ago as an “Innovator” (in healthcare) in Lancaster by Fig Magazine.
Central Pennsylvania native and avid gamer Gregg Travitz is a Business Development and Partnership Manager at Riot Games in L.A. — most known for the popular esports team game League of Legends. He will speak on the business aspects of esports — as nothing in the games industry gets done without someone who understands business. Part of what we want to impart on the students is that there are many different skills and careers in esports that come together to create a (organized, whole) product.
At Riot, Gregg supports the entire inventory of Riot’s game portfolio in North America, managing brand partners, driving business through new partnerships, and licensing IP and tournament operations. An avid gamer, Gregg got his start while moonlighting as an esports shoutcaster and commentator and eventually landed a job at an esports and gaming startup in Los Angeles. From there, he gained experience in the industry and joined Riot in 2016 working on the League of Legends Championship Series. Five years later, working at Riot is still his dream job.
Jen Kraft is a freelance Concept Artist and Illustrator, as well as a Visual Effects Artist at Firaxis Games (known best for the Civilization series of games, but I’d like to give a shoutout to their work in the X.COM series). She is a graduate of PCA&D, so she’s able to talk about her experience in the College itself (as well as her work) as a game artist. Throughout the week we’ll be focusing on teamwork, and that includes being part of an art and design team.
Kraft started as a Quality Assurance tester intern at Firaxis while studying Illustration at PCA&D. She then worked her way into being a full-time tester, and then part-time concept artist, before moving into her current position of Visual Effects. She actively produces freelance illustrations and concept art for various companies and is an instructor in PCA&D’s summer pre-college programming for high school students where she teaches courses about concept art.