Back in the 70's as I grew up summer holidays in reality confine to be visiting grandpa/grandma/uncle/aunt's homes or a native place where we might have fun wandering around grandpa or uncle's farms, tasting mangoes, drinking tender coconuts from coconut farms and limitless playtime with local inmates and evening indoor games with grandma. In modern days, summer camps in India have mushroomed and flourished and fun incorporated keeping children busy throughout the day and parents find the summer camps as a boon to have their kids accommodative and summer camps have assumed as a part of child's life today.
Summer camps - a sketch
To begin with, summer camp is a special program exclusively conducted for kids or teens during summer holidays for short duration, maybe a week/ten days/two weeks, to be away from "real life" to have fun and to gain new friends. Summer camp may also be outlined as a kind of vacation, means of learning something, or a combination of both.
Basics to be considered in the choice of summer camp
While selecting the best summer camp for kids, the parents need to be clear of certain issues.
1. Priority should be to ensure safety and security in the camp setting so that the parents feel free to place their children there and it is essential to make a note that children should be cared individually.
2. There must be professionally well-trained adequate staff and necessary equipment. Those who train the children in various activities must be kind, soft-spoken and child-friendly in the camp.
3. Precautionary steps have to be installed to prevent accident and injuries to kids in the camp. Throughout the camp period, a doctor or an assisting nurse must be available to take care of children in case of emergencies so that first aid can be easily accessible as and when needed.
4. It is necessary that activities organized in the camp should entertain all children and camps should ensure physical and mental exercise too.
Day camp versus overnight camp
Day camp and overnight camp are the two primary divisions of summer camps. A day camp simply involves participation of children during the daytime alone and kids will be back to home either after the morning session or evening. The overnight camp, also known as "sleep away" camp is an outdoor camp for an extended period of time lasting a week or more in which the attendees need to stay in an outside location. Day camp may be ideal for kids, who have never been to a summer camp previously and make them learn and adapted to basic needs of a camp setting.
Summer camps in India
The concept of conducting summer camp in India is unfamiliar up until a few years ago and very recently it has a deeper perspective and summer camps have been popular amongst excited moms and enthusiastic children. This novel trendsetter is more notable in the region of north than southern part where summer camps have just been into existence. Activities in Indian summer camps are mostly related to sports, academics, arts, computer/technology, and adventure camps have been slowly picking up, and special camps meant for special children have just started due to moderate degree of awareness amidst parents and society.
Different types of camps
Today, there is a variety of options for participation of kids during summer holidays. Following are the various options:
Technology summer camps
Tech camps focusing on computer and modern technology offer a plethora of learning in basics of computer, programing, animation and graphic design, digital photography and a lot more. These tech camps have been organized by the computer learning centers at concessional package, however, will be a bit expensive.
Adventure summer camps
Most of summer camps are designed as "adventure camps" and often associated with exploring nature and environment and activities in adventure camps involve trekking, horse riding, bird watching, fishing, para gliding, scuba diving, sailing, etc. These camps with some sort of specialized equipment are evidently highly-priced than other traditional camps.
Academic summer camps
An academic camp enables the kids to focus on special areas of their academic interests such as learning additional languages, spoken English, abacus, specializing skills in computer, and other activities enhancing their academics.
Arts summer camps
Art camp plays a major role in inspiring a child's creativity and pays special attention on promoting the kid's aesthetic abilities. The artistic activities offered in the art camps vary from dancing of different types like western, classical dance, etc., learning music, acting, creative writing, painting, drawing, and many more. These traditional camps normally suit everyone's budget.
Sports summer camps
This has been ideal for children who are athletically gifted with willpower, intelligence and hard work. Most sports camps concentrate on various sport activities, such as swimming, table tennis, tennis, football, hockey, volleyball, carom, chess, and archery has been the latest added to the list.
Special needs summer camps
There have been relatively fewer summer camps organized for kids with special needs by creating environment that suits the kids and the needs may be physical, mental or emotional requiring more individual care and attention. Designed exclusively for special children with autism, learning disabilities, physically and mentally challenged, these types of camps are most wanted at this time and camps for street children and downtrodden have also been into the field.
Tech summer camps in India
Computer Gurukul in Bangalore offers tech camps for children aging between 3-14 years. There are 3 levels (3-6, 7-11, 12+) and duration is two weeks and the camp starts at various dates, 5th April, 18th April, 2nd May, and 19th May.
Web site: www.computergurukul.blogspot.com
Robotics camps organized by Silicon World Delhi for kids between 8-14 years have been introduced to expose the kids on a new concept of robotics involving team work, creativity, communication, and self-confidence with no prior experience required.
Silicon World Delhi
B-14 Lower Ground Floor
Chirag Enclave, Opp Nehru Place
Follow on facebook@ Silicon World- Robo Club
Adventure summer camps in India
Frolic Boonies based in Bangalore, but camps held at Ooty, Tamil Nadu has been organizing adventure summer camps for kids from seven to sixteen years old, duration of camp being seven days and activities include trekking, bird watching, fishing, horse riding, wildlife tracking, and more.
Frolic Boonies Nature Camp
No. 51 First Floor,
9th A Main, Indiranagar 1st Stage,
Bangalore - 560 038
Ph: 080 65790008
Gjnasa – Nachiketas
A residential summer camp (overnight camp) has been organized at Dilkhush Mahal, Ooty,Nilgiri Hills, Tamil Nadu under Gjnasa – Nachiketas, which has a wider camping facility and provides the kids secured, beautiful environment, and a real challenge for kids to explore and discover positive energy in children. It can be contacted as follows:
Karavan Heritage and Nature Society
40, Usman Enclave Aliganj Extension
Lucknow-226024, Uttar Pradesh
Tel: 09839073822/ 9451175539
Blue Mountains School
Oatacamund, Nilgiris, Tamilnadu
Academic summer camps in India
In Rajastan, Mountaineering & Adventure association of Rajasthan or Patrika organizes various academic camps in the field of education and more adventure camps and this has been so popular.
Address: Mountaineering and Adventure Institute
A-70, Malviya Nagar, Jaipur 302017, Rajastan
Tel: (0141) 2750556
Arts and sports summer camps in India
There are innumerable fantastic arts and sports camps in India catering to the needs of children with creativity and athletically inclined.
Hansel & Gretel summer fun 2009
There have been immense options such as public speaking, story telling, art & craft, drawing & painting, outdoor/indoor games, and music.
Hansel & Gretel
11 Jagadambal Street
T.Nagar, Chennai 600 017
Web site: www.hanselandgretel.in
Duration: 1st April – 12th June
Timings: Half day & Full day programs
Age Group: 4 - 12 years
Mamta Creations' summer Camp
Organized in Chennai, Mamta Creations' has numerous activities for kids including clay modeling, paper craft, pencil shading, pottery work, glass painting and water color.
Ananti Apartments, D3
49, Santhome High Road, Mylapore, Chennai
Duration: 6th April – 1st May
Timings: 10 am - 12.30 pm
Age Group: 5 - 16 years
GRT grand swimming
Camps conducting swimming classes have been initiated by GRT Grand Swimming in Chennai for kids interested in swimming.
GRT Grand Swimming
No.120, Sir Thyagaraya Road, T. Nagar
Chennai 600017, Tamil Nadu
Tel: +91 44 28150500/28155500
Ages: 2-4 years, 4-6 years, 6-8 years, 8-12 years, 12-15 years, and 15-18 years.
Competitive edge international residential tennis academy
With tremendous facilities in various sports though tennis as primary concern, it offers variety of sports camps for kids aging 6-16 years.
Competitive edge international residential tennis academy
Chennai GPO, Tamil Nadu
Contact details: Mr. S.Meenakshi Sundaram
Tel: + 91 98410 68543
Web site: www.cetennis.org
The organizers of the above various summer camps may conduct similar camps at the lowest affordable cost for the less fortunate children. It may be ideal to channelize these types of camps with the help of the NGOs as they are capable of rising funds adequately so that they are able to share the liability over expenses for conducting camps. Moreover, volunteers experienced in the respective fields can be acquired for free of cost. The duration of the camps may be shorter, but the fun enjoyed would be the greatest.
Summer camps for kids with special needs
Sarva shiksha abhiyan
With academic year coming to an end, children from more fortunate sector all over the nation gearing up to attend various workshops of art, craft and adventure camps during their summer holidays, summer camp for special kids organized by education department of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) jointly with the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, a program sponsored by the government of India to provide free and compulsory education to the age group of 6-14 years (SSA) in June 2009 is not an ordinary summer camp unlike other camps and is a noble attempt to bring the kids from five to eleven years into mainstream education.
This has been a first-ever summer camp predominantly masterminded for "out of school" children, wh are deprived of getting regular schooling as they are from economically low layer of society. These camps support them to be absorbed into school education slowly and finishing the camps successfully, they will be enrolled to regular schools. These "out of school" children who have never entered the school premises previously are mostly beggars, rag pickers on the street, child laborers, or maybe dropouts and NGOs help them to be enrolled into these camps to get the right to be educated. The camp activities include story-telling, dramatic presentation, fun-filled way of learning skills to retain their interest and will be added to the mainstream studies based on their performance of learning and intellectual at the end of the camp. Once these kids get into the schools they have been provided mid-day meals, free textbooks, uniforms, etc.
Sarva seva sangh
A residential summer camp organized by the Sarva Seva Sangh, public charity trust in Pune has been a unique project for street children by adding a meaningful livelihood and a promising future for them. This three-day camp focuses primarily on de-addiction of street children, mostly teens who have been working as coolies, cleaners in the coaches at the Pune railway station, and most of them are abusive to substances. It is an attempt to make them aware of HIV/AIDS, inducing factors and prevention of the dreadful disease by way of interactive frequent lectures. These children have been also offered amusement activities such as visiting nearby parks and other places where they may have fun and enjoyment like other camps have been organizing.
Travelers worldwide organization
The Travelers Worldwide organization having its roots in India designs projects of summer camps for underprivileged children coming from poor families who are in no way to be delighted in summer vacations. The main aim of the summer camps is to offer hands-on attention to all the children not in a formal setting, but more caring with lot of amusement. Their activities include academics like learning English, computer, handwriting, a good range of creative arts such as dance, instrumental music, drawing, painting, etc., and sports like football, table tennis, badminton, karate, yoga, chess, gymnastics and so on.
Sri Lalitha learning center for children with special needs
In addition to the above, Sri Lalitha Learning Center in Chennai, the center mainly catering to the needs of special children with ADHD, autism, dyslexia, and development delay offers art camp activities like yoga, meditation, games, drawing, music and fun activities are also conducted for these special kids.
Mrs. Lata Lakshminarayanan
Sri Lalitha Learning Center
No.8/1, 2nd street, Athreyapuram,
Tel: 91 9962349932
It is inspiring that summer camps provide more benefits such as physical fitness, personal growth, developing skills, socialization, to gain confidence, essence of hard work, leadership skills, and concept of importance of sharing, giving and helping others, enabling them to make appropriate decisions in life, and so on. Furthermore, camps make the children to accept differences of race and religion.
As an epilogue, I am of the opinion that, however, there might be superlative benefits from participation of summer camps, parenting being the best summer camp for kids bestows them the greatest fun and happiness. Hence, parents needs to schedule a picnic for the kids the least to be a week to spend some time along with them to entertain their level best. Nothing can quite be compared to the pleasure derived from this.
Every childhood has its garden with evergreen and sweet fragrance of memories. When we all go back to our hometown as we get older we will miss not our home, but our childhood indeed. Let the childhood garden go green. Let the fragrance of memories be there. Happy holidays to all.