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Sat, Jul 27


Croft State Park - Shelter #1

The Inaugural FinBuoy Survivor Games!

We will spend the day exploring our wild nature, emotions and psychology in the ultimate outdoor gaming survival experience.

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The Inaugural FinBuoy Survivor Games!
The Inaugural FinBuoy Survivor Games!

Time & Location

Jul 27, 2024, 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Croft State Park - Shelter #1, 450 Croft State Park Rd, Spartanburg, SC 29302, USA

About the event

Date: Saturday, July 27, 2024 Time: 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM Location: Croft State Park, Shelter #1 Address: 450 Croft State Park Rd, Spartanburg, SC 29302 Cost: $50 per participant (Plus HCU site fee) PLUS Croft State Park Admission Fee (not included in ticket sales: see the end of this post.) Ages: 8-13 ONLY.  Thank you!

Join us for the first, public installment of the FinBuoy Games, where we will spend the day exploring our wild nature, emotions and  psychology in the ultimate outdoor gaming survival experience. FinBuoy  is an outdoor challenge that engages participants in obstacle courses,  games, challenges and team-building exercises.  The FinBuoy games are  modeled after the popular television series, “Survivor.” FinBuoy is a  condensed and re-purposed version of the game-show that children can  actively participate in without being voted out. Participants will test  their mental and physical strengths to complete challenges with their  randomly selected teammates.

Decorate your bamboo walking stick in your tribe’s team colors, put  on your bandana “buff” and get ready for a competition of wit, social  engagement and mental and physical strength! Who will find the hidden  advantages?  Will they let anyone know they found them?  Who will form  alliances?  Who is best at trivia?  Who is the muscle?  Who is the  brain?  Participants of the FinBuoy games will sort through the social  dynamics of team play through competition where ONE PERSON will win the  final prize.

Obstacles and trivia.  Auctions and puzzles.  Which team will hold  the Lodi? Who will deceive their teammates for their own personal  benefit? Who will share the clues? How will the team vote at tribal  council? Will participants be able to keep up with their important  items? Will each team be able to navigate disagreements and avoid  rivalry?  Will each team be able to solve their problems?  Who will  spend all day standing in the sprinkler instead of searching for clues?  Will we have more time for game play or need to have multiple  “ground-table” discussions?

The FinBuoy games teach participants how to solve problems on their  own.  Participants will learn to accept responsibility for themselves  and their actions.  They will learn how to navigate a social paradigm  where adults do not solve their problems, or offer help and solutions.   How will your child thrive in a “Lord of the Flies-like” setting?   Watch, observe, and learn.

My two boys had an absolute blast doing this experience. It was fun  to see how they would work on separate teams. Some of the rules in the  game caused some discussion but the kids all worked through the issues.  Definitely a great idea to ask parents to sit in the back seat and only  observe. I loved the experience of being outside all day and the  comradery the kids formed ! – Jessie Anderson (Parent)

Our first FinBuoy challenge will invite ages 8-13 to  participate.  If successful, we will schedule future FinBuoy events for  different age groups.  All participants should wear closed toed shoes,  and may choose to wear a hat and athletic clothing. Everyone should  bring a water bottle.  A water bottle and fabric shopping bag are the  only personal items allowed.  No tools, snacks, food, chairs,  sunglasses, outdoor gear…NOTHING else is allowed.

We will be outside all day.  This event will last from 11 AM-3 PM.  Water will be provided. Lunch will be provided.  Lunch and snacks will  be basic and minimal. Participants will have the chance to “Purchase”  snacks and treats at the FinBuoy Auction.  Winning teams may also  receive a food prize.

Winning teams will receive benefits and prizes that the losing team  will not receive.  There will be jealousy and complaints about fairness.  The win/lose cycle is a challenge in itself.  Losers will have to watch  the winners celebrate. This challenge will teach many lessons,  including problem solving without adult resolution or intervention.  All  parents must remain on site, but must also agree to a code of silence  and must not intervene in any team or participant disputes.  In the  event that a major dispute occurs, participants will be asked to sit for  a “ground-table” discussion.  In this discussion, participants will  agree to allow only one person to speak at a time until the FinBuoy Host  feels it is time for participants to “put it to a vote.”  All  participants must accept the majority decision after voting.  There will  be no re-votes.

This event is so much fun and a true challenge for all involved! My  children had the best time and would want to do it again. My personal  favorite part was discovering my children in a different way! I was  really surprised which son stood his ground and which one was willing to  give in for the sake of peace! It was exactly opposite of what I had  expected!Your child will discover strengths they had no clue they had. They  will grow in confidence. They will have a chance to grow their  weaknesses and learn new social skills and conflict resolution. Your  child will learn how to handle disappointment and very tough challenges.  This is an incredible and unique opportunity to where everyone has fun  while building new skills and discovering themselves and others.Ms. Wendy is amazing! She is fun, fair, on top of things, gives  constant interaction and has all the tools to create an incredible  experience for your child…. and you! – Edith Burdette (parent)


The FinBuoy Host (Wendy McCarty) will be the only person with whom  the participants can come to with their grievances and questions. Wendy  has worked with children of all ages since 1995. Through experience of  many trial-runs of these games, the Host has learned that many of these  grievances and questions can be self-solved, or be voted on and answered  by team-mates.  Participants will be informed of the FinBuoy rules and  regulations prior to gameplay. These Rules and Regulations will be  posted at the event. Other adults will be present to help set-up the  games, but will not interact with the participants.

All parents should notify the FinBuoy organizers of any serious food  allergies or health concerns prior to the event.  Summer events will  offer a “cool off” station via an outdoor water hose and sprinkler.  Participants will continuously be encouraged to drink water. Parents  will be required to sign a waiver of liability, prepared by an attorney,  prior to participation in the games.

The kids had a lot of fun. It was amazing and surprising to see how  the kids act and handle situations without the parents telling them what  they should do. They have to think for themselves what the best  solution would be and interact with their teammates. We saw how they  would stand up for themselves or stand up for someone else. It was a  great experience for the kids and for the parents as well. – Christina Barnett (Parent)

Parents will need to remain present throughout the games.  There is a  covered shelter where you may watch the games and events as they  unfold.  No drop offs allowed!  All participants must have a guardian  present. Due to the “Lord of the Flies-like” nature of this event… we ask that  all attendees who are not a participant (AKA: Parents, friends and  family who are spectators) take a “vow of silence.”  This means you are  not able to offer advice or solutions to your participant.  Non-verbal  communication and cheering during games is welcome, but overall, through  experience, we have found that NO interaction is best.  This allows for  an even playing field for all participants.  Remember, this is a game  of psychology and reasoning for your participants as well.  How will  they navigate without you?  We ask that you be present as a mere  observer.  Speak with your children beforehand to let them know you will  not be able to speak to them or help them in any way outside of a true  medical emergency.  Parents are not allowed to provide any of the  participants with any additional items during game play. Your children  may complain of hunger and ask you for more food, snacks, treats,  drinks, etc. Remember, parents at this even are a proverbial “fly on the  wall.”

Parents must remain present to supervise the actions of their  children, but we ask that you do not intervene in any verbal disputes or  answer any questions.  However, if any of the participants get physical  (aka:  push or put their hands on another participant), they will be  asked to leave immediately and will not be allowed to  participate in any future FinBuoy events.  If asked to leave the event,  there will be no refunds of payment.  Please email Wendy at: to ask any questions about the event prior to game-play or ticket  purchases.  Maximum limit: 20 participants. All ticket sales are  non-refundable. Ages 8-13 ONLY!

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Additional Cost: Croft State Park is over 7000 acres and offers  everything from a playground to hiking and biking trails. As a state  park, there is an admission fee: $3 for adults over the age of 15, $1.50  for seniors, $1 for kids ages 6-15, and free for children age 5 and  under. This admission fee is NOT included in your ticket price and must be paid separately upon entry into Croft State Park.

Tickets are also available via the Carolina Bamboo website at:


  • FinBuoy Games Participant

    Ages 8-13 (only). $50 per participating child. Parents and spectators do not need to purchase a ticket. Please read the full post regarding the rules and expectations of participants before purchasing. Sorry, no refunds.

    +$1.25 service fee
    Sale ended



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