Stronghold Camp

SUMMER of 2020

Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.” Psalm 144:1-2

Stronghold is a safe, outdoor foam sword fighting game with rules and expected conduct. Stronghold’s primary code is: safety first, then play-ability and realism. It’s based on traditional boffer fighting rules, but is designed for youth and encourages Christian spiritual development.

Stronghold is a co-ed game for boys and girls, from 5th-12th grades. Be prepared to train with your unit, do drills to gain muscle memory and embark on epic battles.

At this camp you will also be challenged to grow spiritually. Small groups will meet with a speaker to discuss and analyze your walk with God, how can you apply scripture, what does Christ want you to do with your life.

Come for an exciting week filled with:

Sword fighting team battles
– Themed Adventures
– Archery Training
– Shield Training
– Singing around the campfire
– Devotions/Prayer
– Medieval Feast


Stephen Ippolito

Stephen Ippolito (Aka: Sir Estivan) created the club/game Stronghold in the year 2009. God called him to use the club as an afterschool ministry that teaches youth about the game of foam sword fighting and challenges them to serve the one true King: Jesus Christ. With the Lord’s blessing the ministry has grown to summer camps and overnight camps. Stephen Ippolito became a full-time missionary this past summer and now serves with an international organization called Push the Rock where he hopes to spread the joy and gifts of the Stronghold programs to Pennsylvania and beyond.



Joshua Kennedy

Joshua Kennedy “Sir Qwon” has been studying classical fencing for 13 years. He also has been studying sword and shield, great sword, and spear combat for over 10 years. He has a background in Kung-Fu and is part of the most successful Dagorhir team for the past 4 years. And is excited to pass on the knowledge that he has learned over the years to the next generation of fighters and the sport of Stronghold.



 Christopher Kennedy

Christopher Kennedy “Aka: Corvus” Brother to Qwon.  Also studied fencing for 6+  years. He also has been studying sword and shield, great sword, and spear combat for over 10 years and made his own full set of Chainmail when he was 14 and continues to practice those skills. He has a background in Kung-Fu and is part of the most successful Dagorhir team for the past 4 years.  He is a Jack of all trades, who is finishing up his last semester in a 4 year Biblical studies program having already received a Associates in Culinary Arts and his NREMT having served for 6 years in the army as a Medic.  He loves training new students and helping them to achieve things they would never have believed they could do before.

Pastor Lacy Andrews

Lacy Andrews has served as the Regional Home Missionary of the Presbytery of the Southeast (OPC) for 16 years, working to plant new churches. He served on the first Retreat Operating Committee of the Machen Retreat and Conference Center when it was being constructed and was the director of the first 5 Family Conferences. He has authored two Christian novels, “The Pilgrimage: The Shepherd of Kedar Book 1” and “Ascending Mount Zion: The Shepherd of Kedar Book 2.” He has 2 grown children and 4 grandchildren and lives with his wife, Debbie, in the mountains of Southwest Virginia.

More Camp Info

Still not sure what Stronghold “looks like”? Watch this video to find out more.

Note: All of our foam weapons are made to pass set safety standards similar to other national boffer fighting sports. Even though they are designed for safety, bruises may occur, similar to when you begin training for any other contact martial art. This sport is less dangerous than baseball, football or soccer.

Camp Dates: Aug 3rd – Aug 8th

Campers are to arrive on Monday, July 29th, at 1:00 pm and should be picked up on Saturday, Aug 3rd at 11:00 am.

Location: Machen Conference and Retreat Center, McDowell, VA

Registration Information

Space is limited, so we accept campers on a first come first serve basis.

Total cost per camper for this conference is $250. There is a sibling discount with a rate of $210 a camper if you have two or more siblings attending from the same family. A minimum of a $40 deposit is required to register for the event. You may pay your deposit online via PayPal (all major credit cards accepted) or by sending a check. You may also pay the entire conference registration fee online. If you pay only the deposit, the remainder of the conference registration fee is due upon arrival at the conference. The $40 deposit may be refunded if you cancel. The deposit is used to purchase items ahead of time. If you cancel and we are able to fill your spot with another camper on our wait list, then your deposit will be refunded. Thank you for your cooperation  and understanding as we try to serve all for Christ’s glory.

Your complete registration requires two steps below:

– Camper Registration Form (Step 1 – Online Application and Payment)

– Liability and Permission Forms (Step 2 – Print and Sign Forms)

Stronghold Contract (Print and Sign)

Additional information for Stronghold Camp participants:

What to Bring to Stronghold Camp

Stronghold Camp Rules

One Final Note!

Love to swordfight and would enjoy mentoring kids in the art?
Looking for an opportunity to serve others for God’s glory this summer?
Consider volunteering for a week of Stronghold camp!

This year we are in need of:
Female Camp Counselors
Kitchen Staff

If you are interested in joining our staff team in mentoring youth while having fun in a medieval-style camp please contact Stephen Ippolito (aka. Sir Estivan) on Facebook or email him!

Email organizer Stephen Ippolito ( with any questions about Stronghold Camp 2020.