What is Camping?
Camping is a form of outdoor activity where the campers spend some time ranging from a couple of hours to several nights outdoors in a relatively rural atmosphere. The campers are required to use tents or portable structures which is much different from the comforts of a house to use as shelters. Camping is a recreational activity. Summer camps differ from camping in many ways. Summer Camps is not only undertaken as a recreational activity but also as educational. The entertainment factor of the summer camps complements the camps which is prominently based on principles to help young children grow into responsible and law abiding adults.
Summer camps can be classified into many categories. There are some camps that provide activities that help develop adventure spirit in children while there are others that provide training in performance arts like music and drama. Educational programmes in summer camps have also been one of the sought after programmes to help children learn more and stay ahead of their peers in the present environment of cut-throat competition. Based on the needs of children and the mentality of their parents children are sent to the respective summer camps accordingly. A person who wants to hone his skills in music will go for a summer camp that provides training in music while a kid that loves adventure will opt for a programme that assures adventure.
Summer camps have come in vogue in India in the recent years and is catching up at an amazing pace prominently in the cities. Camps have been more popular in the West and have now entered almost all the developing countries in Asia. The trend of summer camps in India has been welcomed by nuclear families that have double incomes who cannot spend much time with their children and would love to see that their children are doing something productive rather than just watching television, going online or playing video games. The best part about the summer camps is that though, the campers are on their own, they are under constant vigilance of the counsellors or supervisors who guide and provide help in every way.
Types of Camps In India
Academic Camps, though not so popular in India is sought after by campers who are conducive to studies. People with technical and scientific bent of mind have more inclination towards academic camps. Mathematics camps, science camps and language camps have been popular in this category. Environmental studies camp is also climbing up the popularity charts.
Technology camps as the name suggests is more to do with technocrats. With India becoming a computer super power, technology camps have been exponential in spreading computer awareness by creating a platform for children to learn more about computers and programming. Some of the courses offered are related to programming, animations, gaming, flash and photoshop.
Art camps stress mainly on areas related to arts and performing arts. Art camps could comprise of theatre camps, performing arts camps, visual arts camps, dance camps, music camps and film camps. Some camps provide specific training to help the campers specialise in a particular subject while there are others that provide training in a wide range of subjects under one training programme. Photography has also been a popular subject when it comes to pursuing photography as a hobby. Even circus and magic have been included under this category.
Sports camps have seen a stupendous rise in popularity in India. The recent impressive and unprecedented haul of medals by Indian athletes at the Commonwealth Games 2010 and Asian Games 2010 have seen more and more Indians looking at sports as a lucrative career option. Sportspersons of India have instilled hope and pride in the hearts and minds of Indians. The rise in the number of sports camps and the number of children that have been enrolling is a sure sign of increasing popularity of sports in India. Moreover, this would definitely bring up the standard of sports in every game in the years to come. Cricket has undoubtedly, been the most popular sport in India but football, badminton, tennis, boxing and athletics are catching up with cricket. It is only through sports that a person can realise his competitive spirit and the value of participation. It has also been proved scientifically that the mind works better if it plays any sport.
Sports is also a great tool to enhance leadership skills. It is also promising to see many schools making it mandatory for every student to participate in at least one game or sport. There are still very few sports camps in India that provide campers to choose from a wide variety of sports disciplines. Many sports camps have only one or two disciplines which they focus on. One can witness a string of camps that concentrate exclusively on the game of cricket in India. Football camps too form a huge number. There are other few camps for disciplines like boxing, tennis, badminton and athletics but they amount to a very small number. Other camping activities like canoeing, equestrian and lacrosse are not too popular in India.
Adventure camps, also known as wilderness camps could be anything related to adventure. Adventure could be in water, on land or air. Adventure camps are helpful to children and students who are timid and are easily bullied. Adventure camps help them to face the world and not be afraid of inconsequential activities. These camps focus on building team spirit, developing courage and overcoming obstacles. It trains them to stand up to the challenge brought forward to them and develop a 'never give up' attitude. Trekking, outdoor camping, scuba diving, bungee jumping, river rafting, kayaking, hiking, mountaineering and travelling are some of the adventure sports that people indulge in. India still has a long way to go in terms of adventure camping as this kind of camping is mostly popular in developed countries.
Tour and Travel Camps
Tour and travel camping requires one to go to a foreign country and experience the atmosphere of camping. It could be a camp full of learning and enrichment for a person that loves to know about different countries and communities. There are certain camps that focus on inter-cultural programmes and even offer language courses. What an experience it would be to spend some days with people you have met for the first time in a completely different environment than you grew up in. Tour and travel camping is relatively new as compared to other camps.
Special Needs Camps
Camps focussing on particular medical ailments has also become the order of the day in a few countries, though, not a huge crowd-puller in India yet. People with problems like asthma, cancer, epilepsy, obesity and physical disabilities participate in special needs camps.
Though, not popular everywhere yoga camps are surely on the rise in India. With so many religious gurus coming up in the forefront with various religious views, the most popular of them all have been the ones that have and practise yoga. People of all shapes and sizes have benefited from yoga and is known to be effective for every ailment this world has to offer. Yoga camps have been established and have had record-breaking attendance in the recent years. One of the most prominent reasons is the sedentary and solitary life style that is led by the people of today which includes young as well as the old. People seem to have forgotten the importance of society and companionship. The western influence in the family system, culture and food habits has led to maladies that have been too powerful for the conservative Indian society. The popularity of yoga camps have been on the rise in western countries too.
Before Choosing a Summer Camp
There are quite a lot of summer camps in India and choosing the best or the appropriate one needs some research and knowledge. One has to know what the camper is expecting and choose a camp according to his liking and not choose a camp just because his friends have opted for it. The elders have to decide according to the child's experience whether he is to be sent to an overnight camp or a day camp. The location of the camp is also to be known precisely. If the children are the ones that need constant vigilance then one should go for the camp that has the counsellor to child ratio of 1:6 or less. The quality of medical services available at the camp site is one of the most essential aspects of a camp, particularly an overnight camp. Parents need to be sure that their children are in safe hands and in safe environment. Campers must also choose a camp timing according to the weather conditions in the camping area.
No matter what category of camp a kid opts for or what the parents choose, it is mandatory for them to realise why they are going for it. Summer camps in India have become an essential part of students and children especially in the urban areas where sedentary life-style has taken the toll on the youth of today. Summer camps help the children to make real friends as opposed to friends they make only in the virtual world where online access is the way of life. Summer camps help the children to recognise the leader in them and help them stand their ground while they are away from their elders who always keep them inside a protective cocoon. For some, a summer camp is the first time ever when they have been away from their family, this induces in them the respect for family and realisation of importance of family; and the joy of being together. Some of the ever-lasting friendships have been forged in summer camps.
There are many good reasons to send children to summer camps in India rather than have them waste their summer holidays watching television, playing video games and accessing the internet. The elders in a family will be amazed to realise and notice the change in their wards. They will wonder how and why the person who was just a kid a few days ago has become responsible and accountable. They will also witness self-esteem of the camper developing. Children left on their own helps them to become great decision makers and problem solvers.
Summer camps in India have seen increased participation from the campers especially in sports, however, India still has a long way to go in terms of popularity, public participation and professionalism.