Published: 03rd April 2018
This summer, be cool: This is why you shouldn't be a couch potato during this school vacation
Summer camps, while keeping children engaged, also helps in building character, accountability and social skills and enable them to fend for themselves
The child languishes on the sofa with an iPad in his hand, watching random videos on YouTube. The situation seems very tranquil. But then all of a sudden, his parent’s shrill voice pierces the air. “Stop wasting your time and do something constructive!” The child reluctantly sits up with a “Not again, now what?” expression. More than the mercury rising, the above-mentioned scene is one that is common to almost every Indian household. Also, this seems to be the alarm bell indicating that the summer vacation has begun!
And therefore, before the perennial battle of the child not liking what parents suggest and vice versa begins, let me propose a mutually acceptable solution — Summer camps. (And yes, you can thank me later!)
Let's look at the history. Did you know that there were summer camps from as early in time as the 19th century? The genesis of summer camps can be traced back to the 1870’s, if you're a stickler for details. Camps for children and adolescents were a mode of character building, skill development and well, to have some fun. I believe that what one early summer camp founder said is more applicable in today’s day and age than ever – “Camping saves humanity from dying of indoor-ness...”, to which I respectfully add “...and of gadgets.”
The Summer camp serve as a definite preparation for life’s challenges, as these skills they develop, come in very handy
Narayan Menon, Co-founder, Wandertrails
Summer camps, while keeping children engaged, also helps in building character, accountability and social skills and enable them to fend for themselves. A bit of roughing it out on their own often helps them realise what it takes to get everyday stuff done — even something as simple as making a cup of tea or washing your own clothes. In short, it leads them to grasp the importance of being self-sufficient, responsible and resourceful. By getting out of their comfort zones, the children have to communicate to break the ice and collaborate with strangers to get tasks completed while exhibiting problem-solving, leadership and lateral thinking skills at the same time. This serves as a definite preparation for life’s challenges, as these skills they develop, come in very handy. Most summer camps facilitate the above mentioned, quite unassumingly, by building it into sessions and tasks that are incumbent in the itinerary.
These camps inculcate the ability to be inclusive in thought, words and actions, a quality which, I believe, forms important cornerstones of character building. It also broadens the child’s perspective, expanding their horizons. The confidence that these summer camps can instill in a child can help them tide over many challenges easily and stops them from falling into the chasms of depression, substance abuse and the like. The confidence they get from facing these obstacles head-on and successfully overcoming them are big psychological boosters towards this end.
With this in mind and in-line with keeping everything experiential, camping companies are offering camps of varying durations depending on the choice of destination and experience quotient.
Some of the popular destinations for outstation summer camps in India include Bandipur, Coorg, Wayanad, Yercaud, Pondicherry, Kotagiri, Manali and Shimla. In-station camps are generally within 30-50 km from the base and would be a day/overnight camp.
I do believe that it is important for children to get an understanding of diverse cultures, people, nature and ways of life of the land, along with their curriculum. This would better equip them to be independent, inclusive, responsible, respectful and to co-exist with all beings and nature, which in my mind, could be a much-needed prescription for a better tomorrow. In fact, indigenous local experiences, interactions and aspects of conservation and eco-friendly practices should be woven into any school or college trips, be it study tours or industrial visits.
So parents wracking their brains on how to productively engage your wards with meaningful activities, look no further! Make this summer about real experiences and memories rather than just e-ones. Look out for the best summer camp near you. And above all, there is a lot of fun to be had and lasting friendships to be made!
( Narayana Menon K is the Co-Founder and CMO of Wandertrails)