In 2005, Rick Riordan published Percy Jackson and the Olympians to critical acclaim, and in 2006, Topher Bradfield brought it to life, growing Camp Half-Blood from 55 kids to over 1,200 campers in 2018. Campers unplug from their devices to experience sword training, archery, monster battles, music courses, spoken-word poetry, and epic quests for a week in a state park, living as “demigod” companions of Percy Jackson and his friends.
After more than a decade of sell-out summers, the team behind the summer camp founded Between the Pages to bring the transformative experience to more children—especially those who could not access the camp in its prior format. Between the Pages extends the success of the Camp Half-Blood summer program into schools with year-round programming that immerses children in book-based play and cooperative problem-solving.
Between the Pages was inspired by the desire to provide equal and equitable access to our programming resources to a more diverse base of students and campers.
The veteran camp staff and camp director Topher Bradfield at Camp Half=Blood felt that we’d grown as far as possible as a for-profit camp.
We evaluated our camper base, staff and books, and we saw they were not as diverse as we should have been. In order to grow, we also needed to change and become more of a reflection of the community we were striving to serve, and a move to a non-profit status was an important step to expanding our reach and impact.
We use books as tools to immerse at-risk and avid readers in an engaging recreation of their favorite books, fostering literacy, creative play, and cooperative problem solving.
To empower children to discover a lifelong love of reading, bringing books to life using diverse characters and stories that equitably represent the Austin area.
It all started with a book…
Founder of Camp Half-Blood Austin, Topher’s passion has always been to ignite a love of literature in everyone he meets. He fell in love with The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan from the first chapter and was such an advocate for the book and it’s empowerment of our next generation that Rick dedication The Titan’s Curse to Topher.
For over 15 years, Camp Half-Blood Austin has spread the love of books through immersive role-play to generations of Austinites. And in 2020, CHBA went online to reach more demigods nationally and internationally!
3 years ago Topher realized that we could reach more kids by bringing our special blend of literature and role-play to Austin’s Title 1 schools. Thus our non-profit, Between-the-Pages, was born.
Going into Title 1 schools with Topher-Talks and the Narrative Thread Project, we bring Performance Readers from the community and books that are representative of the community we serve. From Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky, by Kwame Mbalia to Sal and Gabby Break the Universe, by Carlos Hernandez, our performance readers engage the kids in the narrative to help them become the heroes in their own story.
We see our kids go from hesitant readers to confident heroes who are ready to take on the Universe and that is our passion.
It all started with a Camp…
Isaiah first fell in love with Camp at 9 years old. Going from camper to counselor to camp director, Isaiah has known and loved Camp Half-Blood Austin in its every aspect.
When Topher set off to reach more demigods, Isaiah was all in. As Program Director of Between The Pages, Isaiah oversees the logistics of our outreach and keeps our teams all moving the same direction.
It all started with a Camp for Mary Ann too!
One of our die-hard Camp Parents, Mary Ann would camp out over night (even in a massive thunder storm!) to make sure that her kids got one of the limited spots to attend Camp every summer.
With Between the Pages, Mary Ann keeps all our creative energy organized in easy to understand spreadsheets!
Avid reader and lover of role playing, when Liz heard about Camp Half-Blood Austin she said, ‘Where have you been all my life!” Liz takes our all our creative expression and helps us create the business infrastructure to support our teams, schools and demigods.
From infrastructure to marketing to team development, Liz gives us the framework to inspire an ever-widening circle of children to become the hero of their own story and then share that story with their peers and the world.