Learning outside the classroom is not a new concept, but is one that has gained momentum in the last decade. It is now widely accepted that experiencing the world outside the classroom is a key part of a rounded education for young people.
Yet, despite a culturally diverse and ever changing society, many youngsters may not get to travel without their parents or school teachers until they leave for university or begin adulthood. This is just one of many reasons why more and more parents are choosing to send their youngsters away for summer camp experience instead of taking a traditional family holiday.
Julie Tyler, an expert in the field, tells us why summer camp is a positive learning experience:
1 Social skills and personal development
A social residential environment can provide enriching cultural exchange at an influential stage of development. It can contribute to the personal development of our youngsters by fostering self belief, self confidence and helping to improve our understanding of the world around us. Youngsters away from home will learn to manage their own resources, from time to pocket money, and to forge meaningful relationships with those around them. Social dining, socialising, sharing and supporting all serve to strengthen friendships and shape who we are. It’s never too soon to consider equipping our young people with tools like strong decision making, negotiation and leadership skills.
2 Exploring the world
Travelling can provide powerful experiential learning in a range of contexts and teach skills including patience, resilience, adaptability and problem solving. Who wouldn’t want their children to travel from an early age and today’s world makes travelling easier and more accessible than ever. Opportunities to explore the world are seemingly endless today.
3 Global friends in a digital era
An international summer camp offers the opportunity to mingle with like-minded youngsters from all corners of the globe and today’s digital world allows youngsters to stay in contact in more ways than ever before. Today’s young people really do have friends on all continents and stay in touch in many ways. Parents can also keep up with their youngsters by following their camp on social media, image sites, blogs, vlogs and more, helping them to feel connected from afar.
4 Skills for life
Your child’s career path may seem a long way off but employers are increasingly looking for that added extra that will set a youngster above their peers. Extra curricular skills from sports to languages, participation in schemes such as the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award and social residential projects all add strings to the bow.
5 Language skills
What better place to brush up on your French/Spanish/Japanese than with your new-found friends and roommates from around the world. Much more fun than school classes I’d say… Your child may be an ambassador for their country and be able to educate others by exchange of ideas and information about their own experiences.
6 Fun activities
Oh yes, and there will be some great fun activities to try their hands at too. From climbing mountains to crossing glaciers, hiking, biking, singing, dancing and more, there are camps to keep even the busiest of youngsters occupied!
Julie Tyler is Camp Director of Camp Suisse, which offers international camp programmes from June to August in the safe and serene setting of Torgon in the Swiss Alps. Youngsters from nearly 40 different countries attended in summer 2015. Prices start from £1,000 per week.