Greetings! Welcome to the Vales of Ithilien IndieGoGo Campaign Page!
Allow me to introduce myself. My real name is Steve Foster. Most people know me as Timmourne Darkwater. Timmourne is a fictional character I have been playing in various Live Action Role Playing Games for 20+ years.
I am using this crowd funding platform to build my dream campsite in Pennsylvania. Take a moment to hear what I envision.
I would like to construct, run, and maintain a campsite tailored specifically to Fantasy and Medieval style campers, reenactors, foam combat groups, LARPs, SCAdians, Rennies, etc! A place where we can all go and enjoy the site without all of the mundane distractions so common to campsites these days!
That is the basic gist of things. If I have your attention and you would like to know more, please continue reading as I go into more detail.
What I am Trying to Create
I have been involved in Gaming since I was very young. I have always enjoyed Fantasy and Medieval settings the most. I have been involved with Foam Combat games for 20+ years now. My oldest child now takes the field as well. We have developed a passion for these games and want everyone to have a place to enjoy them.
I want to build a campsite that is very friendly to all forms of Live Action Gaming. A place where we can gather and battle without worrying about mundane intrusions into our temporary fantasy worlds. A place for LARPers to fully immerse themselves into their characters and not worry about the locals walking around the campsite drinking beer in t-shirts. A place where SCAdians can camp in period tents and not be next to a trailer. A place to hold a Ren Faire one week, then Boffer events the next. A place where Realms and Chapters can host large meetings and councils in a room not used for Bingo that same week. A place for the local SCA chapter to hold demos and practices and not be hidden behind a school or shopping mall.
I plan on building a site that incorporates the best of both worlds. Modern ammenities hidden behind a beautiful facade of realistic looking fantasy.
Why I am the one to do this
I am the owner of Foster Property Management, LLC in the mundane world. I renovate and run rental properties in the Greater Johstown PA area. I have a ton of experience in running a business, renovating old delapitated buildings, managing properties, maintaining grounds, and dealing with groups of diverse people. After nearly 10 years getting that business flowing smoothly, I decided to persue my dreams.
I have a varied realtionship with many different groups that can benefit from a site like this. I am a unit leader in Dagorhir (The Rangers of Ithilien), I am a Realm Admin for Maethodoron (Dagorhir Chapter), a am a Leathersmith (Darkwater Arms and Armor), I am the current manager of Britannia Faire (a medieval style campsite in Ohio), I am an avid volunteer for all the games and societies I get involved with (Medic, Herald, Feast Prep), and I am a camper myself.
I have been going to different campsites all over the country for the last 20+ years, and there are always things that bother me. The biggest being the mundane population standing around gawking. The second would have to be that many events are now hosted a RV/Trailer campsites. I personally would like to get back to the way I remember the first events, much more primitive camping without cars/RVs/Trailers/Mundanes everywhere. But I have to admit that as I get older, having running water, flushing toilets, and a shower is very nice to have around!
What this Campaign is supposed to achieve
This initial Funding project is to acquire the location and the basic supplies to get started. I would love to do this on my own, but unfortunately, life has thrown me some curves and I am looking for people to help me achieve this dream. If we can raise enough to acquire a suitable location, things begin to develop quickly after that. I have the energy and desire to build this wonderful property. The funding will provide the capital to purchase a suitable site, install basic infrastructure for our comfort, and get the ball rolling!
Having enough land to satisfy the needs of the site, being close enough to major highways and decent sized towns to satisfy campers needs, and geographically centering between larger populations of demographics are the biggest concerns I have faced. Having researched the Real Estate market in my immediate area, I have found several locations that will suit the purpose quite well.
I am currently exploring three indivdual sites:
Site 1 - Cambria County PA - Near Ebensburg - 100+ acres of an old Christmas tree farm. The site sits right off of a major highway with easy access to town. There is a Walmart 10 minutes away, as well as grocery stores and all the things modern people need. There is already Electric service to the site. The site is mostly flat, but is also partially wooded.
Site 2 - Fulton County PA - Near the MD border off of route 70. Site is 100+ acres and full wooded at this time. Terrain requires a bit more work, but is closer to the Metro areas of DC/Baltimore. This site is a bit removed from a major town with a Walmart etc. Site has yet to be perked for water/septic and has no power at this time.
Site 3 - Bedford County PA - 53 Acres of undeveloped land 20 minutes south of Bedford PA. This site was recommended by a local real estate agent and has not been site surveyed at all. The pics the agent provided are promising though and I will check it out later this week.
Site #1 is my preferred site, but much will depend on the timing and market upon completion of funding campaigns. Site #1 is also much closer to my family residence as well as local companies I will need to utilize for construction.
The scope of the fundraising is daunting to say the least!
The intial invesment of funds will go towards acquiring the land itself, building basic infrastructure, and getting the site to a state it can be easily utilized by many different groups. I will use the funds to get the property going, then I will use my own funds and financing to continue the operastions. I have excellent contacts with a local bank in the region that is willing to help so long as a basic beginning level is achieved.
Site maintenance will be handled by myself and my family year round. As much as I appreciate volunteers and the amazing work they can do, I cannot rely on them to keep a project of this magnitude running. I have formed some close relationships with contractors, builders, and tradesmen over the years in my property management business and will draw on their companies to do what is needed in a quick professional manner.
Once we are up and running, the major sources of income to maintain the site feasibility is the "Per Head" fee charged for camping, Camp Store Sales, and facility rental for special buildings and events. I have always liked the idea and practice of a "Pay per Attendance" model to allow the smaller organizations to utilize some of the same perks as the bigger groups.
Being directly involved with the site also allows me special time and energy to deal with specific desires of each individual organization. I know groups like the SCA need completely different things than a Vampire LARP, and I can tailor to each in kind.
Other Ways You Can Help
I know not everyone can help financially. But that doesn't mean you can't help! Take a few seconds to post a link, spread the word, or at the very least, attend an event at the site once we are