Unstructured free play – Camping is synonymous with free living. Children can relax, not be bothered about meeting deadlines, can deviate from routine, laugh and be silly all day. Outdoor summer camps are free from the highly-structured, highly-scheduled routines of home and school.
Be physically active every day – These days children spend a significant amount of time indoors being sedentary, camping provides a wonderful opportunity to move. Swimming, hiking, kayaking, jumping, running, climbing! Camp is action!
Connect with nature – Nature is where children learn the best lessons, because nature doesn’t discriminate. Nature is a lesson in humility. Outdoor summer camps foster healthy child development both in terms of physical and mental well being. It also enriches their perception of the world.
Become resilient – Children are very often pushed out of their comfort zones in camps and this environment is a great learning board to endure setbacks, They learn to approach every problem with an open mind, be more accomodating and try new (and thereby maybe a little frightening) things, and see that improvement comes from practice. Camp helps conquer fears.
Independent decision making – Decision making is a skill that can only be honed if children are provided the opportunity to think for themselves without parents and teachers guiding their every move. Camp helps kids develop who they are.
Builds confidence and experience true success– Camp teaches kids that they CAN. Helps build self confidence and self esteem by removing the flawed idea of academic, athletic and social competition that shapes their lives at school. Young people benefit from the easy environment consisting of non-competitive activities and diverse opportunities to succeed. There’s accomplishment every day.
Technology Shut Down and Detox – When kids take a break from gadgets and technology they rediscover their creative energies and engage with the real world. They realize, there’s always plenty to do.
Develop life-long skills – The variety of activities offered at camp makes it easy for kids to discover and develop what they like to engage in. Camp nurtures and grows every child’s abilities. Camps provide the right equipment, pedagogy, and facilities for kids to enhance their artistic abilities, sports acumen, and adventure skills.
Develop social skills – While at a camp your child is in a close-knit community where everyone must agree to cooperate and respect each other. When they live in a cabin/dormitory or tent with others, kids share chores, resolve disagreements, and see firsthand the importance of open and genuine communication. Camp builds teamwork.
Make true friends – Free from the social expectations and judgements pressuring them at school, camp encourages kids to relax and make friends easily. All the fun at camp draws everyone together— singing, laughing, talking, playing, doing almost everything together. Camp creates friendships.
Importance of Trust building – Building trust goes both ways. Children learn to work in big groups with people with different personalities and temperaments, this leads to developing essential life skills such as trusting your group, trusting their own abilities and not giving up midway during a period of hustle.
Money management – This is specific to the Bangalore Adventure School summer camp, wherein they have created small projects that will teach the child to manage money through prioritizing and completing tasks by making optimum use of the available resources.
Meal planning – Food is fuel, especially when you are in the outdoors with not many options and resources to feed yourself. So meal planning teaches the children what to make, how to pack, types of calorie dense, light weight food that is sustainable during their time outdoors.
Hi, I’m Meera Kulkarni! Mama to a funky tee loving 13 year old and a Dance Monkey obsessed 10 year old. I’m an engineer in love with backcountry hiking!
Nope, I don’t have an instruction manual to do it all right, but if you ask, I think I do a great job!
Still trying to figure out this whole motherhood thing. Wish me luck! I pride my sanity more than anything else in this world so I am obsessively looking for playdates. So if you are a fellow parent who is also surviving on minimum battery always, hit me up on tips to manage these little monsters. I blog about parenting, travel, and anything that picks my fantasy. My family is my world.
Didn’t I tell you that I am someone who is always running on reserve battery mode and so if you happen to meet me around the time when the schools are just about to close, you could mistake me for a panic stricken hyperventilating mamma. Why you ask? Because my sanity is far more precious to me than anything else in this world. And having my teenager and almost soon to be teenager hovering around me the whole time is not something I fancy. So every year I set out in the pursuit of engaging them productively during their vacations a few weeks before the schools shut. Also now they are not the teeny weeny kiddos that used to be easy to please. They are individuals with strong likes and dislikes.
While I was on a search for activities in the summer to keep the kids productively engaged, I came across numerous activity camps such as
Arts and Crafts camps: Quilling, Knitting, Painting, Pottery, Mandala making, Origami, Japanese Flower arrangement, Henna Designing, baking, dance and music etc are some of the activities that help brain plasticity, fluid intelligence, IQ, and attention.
Science Summer camps: Robotics, Astronomy, and Chemistry (Fun in the lab), marine science, inventor’s camps, forensic science camps etc. Science camps educate from outside the rigid structure of a classroom, and encourage trial, failure, and creative experimentation to foster the not-so-distant future leaders in science and technology.
Agriculture and Horticulture based camps: Gardening, Farm experience day camp, Environmental Science Summer camps, that focus on greenhouse techniques, plant identification & production, floral design etc. are great ways of developing healthy relationships with food should begin with learning about where and how food is grown on farms.
Sports Camps: Sports coaching camps such as Badminton, Cricket, Lawn tennis, Soccer/Football, and Gymnastics. Sports camps inculcate the importance of a healthy lifestyle, helps develop responsibility and work ethic, improved cognition, decreased tendencies of anxiety and depression etc.
Martial Arts Camps: For the ones that have the fight club gene in them (just kidding), there are some great martial arts camps for Karate, Kung Fu, Taekwondo, Krav Maga, and Boxing. Martial arts teaches kids the value of treating their body well, healthy growth of both self-confidence and self-esteem, channel their anger and temper through exercises and techniques that will accompany them throughout their entire life.
Adventure Summer Camp: Swimming, Scuba Diving, Rock Climbing, Canyoneering, Caving, Outdoor Camping and Hiking/Trekking. Adventure camps offer children a unique chance to break out of their comfort zone and do something new. They also learn the importance of making the optimum use of resources, surviving in not so favorable weather conditions, time management, best practices while in the outdoors etc.
You might ask, what did I choose for my kids? I decided to go ahead and explore Adventure summer camps in detail. What sealed the deal for me is the great mix of physical activities, mental skills building and empowering children to make independent decisions. I came across one such adventure summer camp for kids and teens by Bangalore Adventure School.
Now that you are here, let me ask you this. Have you guys felt that incessant urge to tell that secret you have been keeping for too long. That’s the feeling I get right now. So what is it that I was about to spill the beans on? A couple of weeks back I had been to this aaahhmazing place that has a quirky name to it – Mayavi. Where you ask? Aah….not yet. That was by far the best weekend I have had. We were a group of six people from Bangalore Adventure School who set out on a lazy Friday night from Bangalore. It took us about five hours to reach this place. Are you still wondering what is THIS place? So there you go, it’s a cave! A gorgeous cave to be precise. Read on to know more about the cave and our adventures on this absolutely fun trip.
Before I begin to lose track of what I am writing; because trust me that happens quite often with me when I am writing about my travel escapades.
At 4:00 am on Saturday, we reached a village close to a historical fort; as we got down from our vehicle we stretched a bit and took a quick nap on the cement pavements (thanks to the sleeping bags). The sound of blaring loud speakers from the nearby temple woke us up just in time. We then quickly finished our morning chores and drove back to the railway station where we were supposed to pick up Praveen. We picked him up and promptly started our drive.
On the first day, the plan was to go to a nearby touristy cave – Belum caves – all normal so called “adventurists” from Bangalore visits this cave often – no biggie. All this while my mind was harbouring a childlike excitement to venture into THE CAVE! Did I tell you the lunch we had just outside Belum caves at one of the village restaurants was yummy, reminded me of my grandma and the awesome spread she used to cook.
We also happened to visit a GHOST TOWN. Aah, the perils (err the fun of traveling with BASCOOL). This place true to its name was spooky and Gokul in his trademark style started telling us the story about this place and not surprisingly we all burst into laughter. If you’d like to know the story come to one of our meeting over ice cream sessions. Yes, Team BASCOOL meets once a month to discuss and plan our future explorations.
After spending sometime in the ghost town we packed our food for night and drove back to the trail head. This place has a temple of Lord Shiva surrounded by majestic red stoned hills. As we walked down the path we found a gigantic huge banyan tree with long hanging roots. As you might have already guessed we did not miss a chance to swing using the roots. It was so much fun and we got some amazing Instagram worthy pics as well.
Gokul and Sudeep started walking to the other side, the rest of us followed them and walked about 1km to this place, covered with lush green trees. We also found this beautiful waterfall covered with bright green algae and the cool breeze providing us a perfect spot to camp. As the sun set and the blue sky turned dark, we picked our sleeping bags to call it a day. I just lay down looking at the sky and that is the kind of peace I’d never trade for anything in this world. The beautiful night sky with its glittering bright stars could put any star hotels to shame. In that quiet moment I kept wondering what could possibly give people the peace of mind and a happy soul. Is it money? Is it fame? Is it physical beauty? I still don’t have answers to it but I’d found my happiness on that night. I felt a deep sense of calm as I slept wishing for an awesome day the next morning.
As the night progressed we experienced a drizzle, and but nothing that could dampen our excitement for tomorrow. People sleeping nearby were snoring away to glory. All of us woke up around 4am searching for isolated places to carry out our morning chores. Finishing up everything we quickly got ready for our exploration.
Shoes on, helmets on, ropes in, equipment in, water, food, GoPros, we ticked all the boxes and now were all set to venture into the Mayavi cave. One hard look at the entrance of Mayavi, gave me goosebumps! Bats were flying in and out thinking why do these humans always disturb our privacy. As respectfully as we could, we entered the cave without bothering the poor bats!
Entrance: Almost 15feet in depth. We were supposed to traverse this without the help of any rope. Sudeep got down first and I followed him as he guided me to plan my steps and I was down in no time and within 10 mins everyone was inside the cave. As we started walking inside the cave we were so mesmerized with the beauty of the tall gigantic walls forming a canyon and there is a formation that resembles a chandelier and also a trail of glittering mineral deposits.
First obstacle: It was about 15feet tall. Sudeep and Gokul went in first. Gokul set an anchor and with the help of a rope we all climbed up. Next up is a section that is six feet tall, you may either climb six feet or you can crawl under the rock. I preferred crawling as am very bad at climbing. Once you cross this there is a passage on the left side where the walls seem like a sea of glitter when light hits them. When we were busy praising the beauty of this cave, Gokul was busy setting an anchor for the next obstacle (It’s no easy task being an instructor).
Second obstacle: This is a place where the oxygen is in low supply. We were also sweating profusely. When there is lack of oxygen your brain starts slowing down and it is extremely important to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best so we carried portable oxygen cylinder in case of emergencies.
This is the place where there is a 20 feet rock obstructing the way. Gokul set an anchor using ropes and all of us ascended the rope and then descended on the other side. Here we decided to spend 5 quiet minutes after switching off our headlamps. The sparkling walls, the absolute silence is probably what heaven feels like, atleast I did experience bliss.
Everything went well till now. Now we are supposed to the climb back the first obstacle that we descended. when I looked at the rock I was like what the heck, do I have to climb this up?……. Gokul had setup a 2:1 mechanical advantage system using a pulley. This was to aid in our ascending. First Gokul let zanis wear the harness and another harness was wore by sudeep the rope is tied to sudeep with the help of figure 8 when sudeep pulls the rope zanis will move upwards but he has to use this upper body strength to reach the top as zanis is a rock climber he easily reached the top. I am still not sure what that setup was. All I know is that we used 3 harness for the entire team. The first person (Zanis) was wearing one and he was at the top. Sudeep was wearing another harness and was giving a belay to the person who is climbing or getting lifted. Others took turn to wear the third harnes and climbed or got lifted up.
First Zanis and then next turn was mine already looking at the rock my hands and feet become cold I was preparing myself that I came this far and I cannot giveup now I was ready so the others to pull me up with the count of 1…2….3….. they pulled me up I reached the half of the distance this is where I have to use my upper body strength I tried to pull myself up but I failed I tried again again and again I was exhausted so the others all were breathing heavily I cannot put them in danger they were encouraging me come on Ninja you can do it just take a deep breath calm your mind and you will reach the top in no time……
I took a deep breath I don’t know what I did weather I crawled or pulled myself up I don’t remember anything but I heard all were like thank god and I found myself on top. This is where lack of oxygen can play tricks on your mind. After this I went into the sparkling side passage and laid down. That moment, I was blank. I don’t know what am supposed to do. Wanted to help others but I couldn’t – I was exhausted. Then Gokul reached up. All our bags were pulled up, untied the ropes packed everything and all were out within sometime.
First Praveen was out and next I was out we all had that awesome great expression on our faces that we achieved something beyond words.
‘’Sharing is better than receiving. When we share, we grow so much more. Feeling good is better than looking good. Looking good does not solve the internal feeling.’’
What I am trying to say is that spend on experiences. Experiences are investments. Cover the earth before you run out of time. Because the truth is, the best experiences first leave us speechless and then they turn us into STORYTELLERS.