When: September 13 – October 25, 2016 (6 weeks)
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada
Who: 11 participants (ages 13-18, flexible)
A minimum of 10 participants is required to run this program
Program Leaders: Blake Boles and Kina Wolfenstein with trip assistant Max Colmenares
View leader profiles
How Much: $4,000 includes all lodging, meals, activities, and ground transportation.
Returning Unschool Adventures participants receive a 10% discount.
How can I fundraise for this program?
Arrival/Departure Location: McCarran International Airport (Las Vegas)
Priority Application Date: April 1st, 2016
Application Status: Closed.
Vegas, Baby, Vegas
Imagine this: 11 teen unschoolers, 3 responsible trip leaders, and 6 weeks in Vegas. Together we’ll learn about the principles of statistics, game theory, and the psychology of addiction—by learning through doing, the unschooler way!
On this trip you’ll get the chance to roam the streets of Las Vegas independently, learn how to succeed at games of chance, connect with other unschoolers who share your passion for gambling, and gain the street skills and sense of “hustle” that you really need to thrive in life.
The goal of every Unschool Adventures program is to help young self-directed learners gain the skills and experiences they need to succeed in adult life. On this program, the major activities will include:
- Group excursions to different casinos each night
- Free time during the day for sleep, exploration, or spontaneous adventures
- Attendance at famous Vegas shows like Cirque De Soleil and Penn & Teller
- Staff-facilitated classes on statistics (using Khan Academy) and guest lectures by professional card counters (take that, unschooler math stereotypes!)
- Drama and acting classes so you can learn how to bluff, lie, and otherwise exploit for financial gain
- Gambling “power hours” in which participants compete to see how much money they can earn in only 60 minutes
- Reenacting your favorite scenes from The Hangover and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
- Practicing scripts for calling mom and dad and getting a Western Union transfer when your funds run low
For participants who want to go to the next level, we’ll be doing individual creative projects in which you create your own gimmick or game of chance and attempt to convince passer-bys to part with their money. In the land of free-for-all opportunities, we challenge you to push your limits and expand your artistic capabilities. Weather it’s becoming a magician, doing some sort of avant garde street performance involving a huge burrito, or shooting craps in a urine-soaked alleyway, we will provide the resources and support you need to succeed!
Room & Board
Our group will stay in hotel rooms at some of Las Vegas’s most well-known casinos: Treasure Island, Excalibur, New York New York, MGM Grand, Paris, and Bellagio. Each week we’ll move to a new hotel, both for variety and to ensure that we don’t wear out our welcome.
Of course, staying in such luxury does come at a cost, but here at Unschool Adventures we’re dedicating to keeping prices low. Participants will sleep 5 to a room (2 each in 2 queen beds, 1 on the floor) and each day we will eat only once, at the hotel buffet. Get ready to be sneaky and learn how to stuff food into your backpack or purse!
Vegas is the city that never sleeps, and we’ll follow suit by not sleeping much either. Each participant is required to bring one 5 Hour Energy drink for each day of the trip (42 total—but we suggest bringing 50-60 to account for increasing tolerance levels).
Note to participants and parents: If our luck fares very poorly, we’ll have to move into a Fremont Street motel. Gross, we know. But we believe that young people need to learn how to live with defeat the hard way: by going from a five-star hotel to a seedy motel after one intense game of Texas Hold ’em.
September 13: Group meets in Las Vegas. Move into hotel rooms.
September 14: Arts and crafts time! All participants create their own fake IDs, verified for authenticity by staff.
September 15: People-watching scavenger hunt. We will split into small groups. The first to find Elvis, Darth Vader, a minion, a mermaid, Jack Sparrow, someone getting escorted out of a casino by security, and a celebrity gets a free $100 spin of the roulette wheel. You’ll have to take pictures to verify, but remember to be discreet (or you’ll have to tip).
September 15-31: Low-stakes gambling practice: slots, blackjack (low limit), craps (low limit), horses.
October 1-15: High-stakes gambling practice: blackjack (high limit), poker, craps (high limit).
October 16-23: Self-designed gambling practice: participants choose their own games of chance!
October 24: Participants pool their winnings, we go to a roulette table, and we put it all on red. If we’re lucky, we throw a crazy pool party! If not, we sleep in the Bellagio parking lot.
October 25: Departure from Las Vegas airport. Please note that if you have scored big and purchased a live tiger and/or Maserati, you will need to arrive at the airport extra early to fill out shipping forms.