Kiddie junctions

Updated: Apr 30 2006, 05:32am hrs
IF parents see summer workshops as a break from their little brats vacation at home, then its time for you to know more. With a range of summer workshops ready to be launched in May, the season of camping holds more than just fun.

Sending kids to a well structured and summer workshop means giving them lifes lessons in capsules. We actually get a different set of kids (as per manner and behaviour) every time they get back home, says Dr Sneh Khera. A mother of two, she has been sending her kids to summer camps since 2002. Its good to see someone else handling kids in an inventive, safe and knowledgeable environment, just like we do, says Khera, who herself has visited two of the initial camps along with her kids. Today, she calls the head of the camp organiser (Wanderland Inc) her good friend.

The Creative Travel Exponent of Wanderland Inc, Shibani Ahuja Kapoor, too enjoys the trust put in her. This trust has led us to about 70% of the kids visiting us again, she says.

Neelu Kohli, teacher, Holy Child Auxillium, explains the new relationship between the parents and the guardians of a few days. Summer workshops appeal to most parents because they keep children busy in a constructive fashion. Few would like to differ on the fact that sprawling fields are any day a better alternative to the usual TV couch. Moreover, these are great skill and confidence-building exercises helping children do what the academic routine doesnt allow them to throughout the year.

Summer is indeed a big season for camp organisers like Wanderland. And parents are ready to experiment with a range of activities aimed to bring out the hidden facets of kids, driving them to look for newer themes every year. Activities include yoga, painting, rock climbing and river crossing.

There are various camps to pick and choose from. Delhi-based Leap Years has workshops on Hindustani and Western music, nature study, discovering Delhi, dance, theatre, computers, creative writing, photography, art classes, etc. At the end of the workshops, a performance will be organised for the parents. The package here is designed for children aged 4 - 14 by stalwarts like Shubha Mudgal, Aditi Mangaldas and Bulbul Sharma.

Youreka! too has done a few value additions in its summer workshops this year. It has invited Chris Agnew, a faculty from NOLS (known for their outdoor education in US).

The camp will also introduce a new graded system to pave the way for kids to become outdoor instructors. To achieve this, it has introduced Youreka! awards bronze, silver and gold. The bronze award will go to kids (between 9 and 11 years) camping at Sitlakhet, Coorg; silver for kids (between 12 and 14 years) at Tirthan, Coorg, Kollur, and gold for grown ups (15-16 years) at Tons, Kollur.

As these are our permanent locations for camping. Usually, the kids begin from the camps where we have the bronze award, graduating later to higher metals. So, in a way, we get kids visiting us again, and we also find something new for them, says Anubhav Das, partner iDiscoveri Education, which conducts the camps.

And if you are still hesitant, go for shorter ones. Like, the one at the Shiamak Davars Institute for Performing Arts (SDIPA), which conducts Summer Funk in all leading metros in India. The finale of the Funk will be a professional show where all the participants perform. So, it is about learning and busting the stress while having loads of fun, says Gowri Prakash, manager, SDIPA.

At some of the camps, even parents can assist the kids. Like the one organised at Trident Hilton Hotels in Agra, Jaipur and Udaipur. The Kids Club is equipped with books, comics, toys, videos, play stations and even a splash pool: an ideal location for children aged 4-12. The package even has outdoor pursuits like badminton matches, walks and camel rides.

It is ideal for very young children who cannot travel independently to camps, and where they also get an opportunity to meet peers of the same age-group, adds Ketaki Narain, director, corporate communications, The Oberoi Group (organiser of Kids Club), to make it add to the fun, children here are welcomed with a gift and a Kids Club Passport.

The facilities at each hotel include an air-conditioned tent equipped with games, toys, books and movies. Fun and educational activities such as nature walks are also organised by the supervisors.

There is no compromise about arrangements. A first-aid box with all necessary medicines, comfortable sleeping beds, a wide range of food and equipment of highest quality while they trek are all in-built in the programme. There is no way my kid can miss milk, fruit and proper food at the camp. In fact it is more of five star treatment for them, says Khera.

So, are there any comparisons that follow when they are back at home. Never. After constructive training at the camp, they never complain or demand, she says.

Well, with more and morecamps round the corner, we might just have to stop referring to kids as brats!

With inputs from Kiran Yadav