It might only be December, but the summer will be here before we know it. We want every child at our residential camps to be really happy and get the most out of their stay. As parents and careers, there are skills you can teach your children and conversations to have before they come to our summer camps...
Have a conversation with your children about what your expectations are for them. Being at a summer camp is a brilliant experience where having fun is a huge priority. However, there might be occasions where campers might need to assist with clearing up after an activity. Take cookery for example, after a fun session baking, campers will wash up the equipment together as a group. It is all part of the fun!
There will be activities on offer that they would have done before and activities, which are completely alien to them. Encourage them to give everything a go! They might have had a terrible experience in a drama session at school, but by giving our drama workshop a go, they will see how different drama activities can be at XUK with our incredibly talented staff. We will also have activities on offer that your child might not have experienced before, Water Zorbing for example. Running on the water in a giant ball might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but give it a go! If you do not like it, our staff will be there to quickly bring you back to the poolside.
Each week we give out special awards at our camps. At XUK English, we give out our ‘Star Student’ and at XUK Activity and XUK Excel; somebody will become our ‘Citizen of the Week’. Each winner will win a free week in 2019 at our camps. Have a chat as a family, what sort of things do you think will win you the award? Enthusiasm, manners, team spirit, the list goes on. Do not forget to read through our rules together too.
Your child might bring their mobile phone or an electronic device to camp to communicate you with. It is wonderful to hear their voice and learn about their stay with us, but for us, it is important that our campers come to our staff members with any problems they may have as their first port of call. Why get a parent or career worried at home when all it needs is a quick conversation with a staff member to get it solved? We have so many brilliant people who are there to help at our camps from Dorm Leaders to Team Leaders and our Health Team to a Pastoral Manager.
Your child’s stay at XUK might be their first time at a residential camp or away from home. Being independent is the key to a successful stay. Our Dorm Leaders are always on hand to look after the pastoral needs of our campers, but have a conversation about the types of things children need to be responsible for:
• Showering on their own – ensure that they do this before their stay. Can they wash and dry themselves?
• Choosing clothes each day – what factors should they consider when picking an outfit? The weather, which activities they have...
• Packing for their departure – it is essential that your child can pack their belongings back into their bag before they depart our camps
• Lost property – keep track of their own items. Name EVERYTHING in advance together. Some families like to provide their child with a list of each item they came with so they can tick it off when they pack it to go home and if something is missing, a quick trip to Lost Property is all that is needed
Being homesick is completely normal! We all miss our friends and family when we are away from them. Families sometimes ask us before they book how we deal with homesickness. It depends very much on the individual child. For us, it is important that you trust us to look after your child. Of course, if they call you upset, do let us know, but encourage them to come and tell us and we can offer them the support they need, we would hate for our campers to be suffering in silence. We always tell our campers that keeping busy is the best way to combat homesickness. Joining in with activities will keep their mind of things and they’ll soon by a happy camper!
Some of our campers come to our residential camps with a friend or sibling, but plenty come alone. We want every single camper to go home with new friends from around the world. Encourage your children to branch out. It can be tempting to just mix with other campers from your home country and communicate in your mother tongue. Communicating in English is so much more inclusive and welcoming for others too! Also, limit your screen time – you will look far more social able if your dorm friends can see your smiling face rather than the top of your head as your look down at your phone. You will be surprised how many new friends you will walk away from XUK with!
If you would like to talk to us further about any of the skills we believe you should equip your child with or would like advice, please do not hesitate in contacting us. Let’s make summer 2018 the best one yet...