location: The Light of Day Camp
Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?
The Light of Day Institute's "Leadership
Conference", a sort of Summer camp / training ground run by the Fellowship
of the Sun, an extremist group of anti-vampire Christians.
Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?
Outside of Dallas, Texas.
Q. When did we see it on the show?
A. The camp is a major setting in Season 2, and is seen in multiple episodes, beginning with Episode 2 ("Keep This Party Going").
Jason Stackhouse is recruited and rides a bus (filled with enthusiastic, singing, young adult recruits) to the Light of Day Institute's Leadership Conference. Along the way, Jason strikes up a friendship/rivalry with another young jock, named Luke McDonald.
They arrive at what looks like a Summer camp, and listen to a welcoming address by Steve & Sara, the charismatic young leaders of the Fellowship of the Sun church. They learn that the camp is designed to train young Christian warriors to rid the world of vampires - in effect, spreading hate & paranoia in the name of God.
the same episode, we see the recruits out on a field,
In Episode 3 ("Scratches"), Jason attends a meeting where members share stories of being victims of vampires, but Jason tells the truth: that he's not a vampire victim, and doesn't really have much against them. Then he walks out of the meeting. Sara follows him, and talks the gullible lunkhead into returning to the fold. Her husband, Steve, then has a private dinner with Jason, and further brainwashes him into buying into their agenda of anti-vampire hatred.
Episode 4 ("Shake and Fingerpop"), Jason returns to his camp
cabin at night, to find what looks like everyone he knows there has been
murdered by vampires. It turns
Jason gets called outside, where Rev. Steve takes him on a wild Jeep ride, shooting guns at vampire targets. That's followed by an impromptu BBQ with Steve & Sara, in which Jason is distracted by Sara's flirtatious dancing. During this meal, Steve recruits Jason into his elite army, the Soldiers of the Sun. When Luke finds out, he's jealous, and says that Sara just wants to sleep with Jason. Jason doesn't believe it, and defends her virtue. However, later in the day, Sara pays a visit to Jason's room, in a nightie, and seems to flirt with him, but a nervous Jason can't be sure of her intentions.
In Episode 5 ("Never Let Me Go"), Jason's time at camp becomes stressful as he (and his friends) begins their basic training for the Soldiers of the Sun, under the guidance of a mean, bullying drill instructor. Jason helps his rival, Luke, scale a fence during a test. Steve shows Jason a hidden room filled with anti-vampire weapons. After Sara has a spat with her husband, Steve, she shows up unexpectedly in Jason's bathroom, while he's in the tub. Jason tries to resist temptation, but doesn't last long once she begins fondling him under the water.
In Episode 6 ("Hard-Hearted Hannah"), the action shifts to the Fellowship of the Sun church - where Sara succeeds in seducing Jason, and where Sookie is kidnapped by Steve. We are led to believe that the church is part of the same Light of Day camp, but in fact, it's actually a completely separate location, miles away.
Q. What is it actually, in real life?
A Summer camp for disadvantaged kids - and
far from Texas.
Q. Where can I find it in real life?
A. This is actually Camp Max Straus, at 1041 Shirly Jean Street, Glendale, CA.
Although the address says Glendale, the location is actually far north of downtown Glendale, on the other side of the hills, just south of the Foothill (210) Freeway.
It's less than two miles west of the well-known Descanso Gardens (which is in neighboring La Cañada Flintridge).
Camp Max Straus is located on 112 wooded acres in the Verdugo Mountains. It was founded in 1938, and is a nonsectarian Summer camp run by Jewish Big Brothers & Sisters, which offers urban kids a green refuge from their usual city surroundings.
The field where Jason & Luke faced off in a game of "Capture the Flag" is actually the Steinbaum Family Field, on the east side of the camp.
here's a Google
StreetView of the camp's entrance road.
Here are some very good photos of the camp, sent to me by Mike from MovieshotsLA.com:
( Thanks, Mike! )
Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?
A. This was difficult. I figured, from the rustic look of the location, that it was probably something like a Boy Scout or Campfire Girls camp. So I started looking for that sort of thing.
I figured the key here might be the unique, arrowhead-shaped emblems often seen in the background of these camp scenes.
There is an indoor scene where a woman named Missy, covered with bite marks, shares her story about being abused by a vampire lover. In that scene, these arrowhead-shaped plaques cover the walls. And they didn't look like the sort of thing the producers would add as decor. They didn't match the Light of Day logo seen on the camp t-shirts. So I assumed the logos were probably an authentic part of the real-life camp.
My hunch was that if I could match that arrowhead logo, I'd find the place. And I was right.
Still, it wasn't easy. Camp Max Straus is a relatively obscure name, compared to the likes of the Boy Scouts.
After looking at dozens of camps in the L.A. area, I finally stumbled across their website, and immediately spotted that arrowhead-shaped logo. I then checked out both aerial photos and online ground-level photos of the camp and matched up a number of spots, especially the playing field where Jason & Luke play "Capture the Flag" and undergo basic training. The background in those scenes matched perfectly.
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