Often times, parents face a dilemma – whether to enroll their child in a camp. The thought of their child travelling somewhere all day frightens them, but the image of their kid being absent for a week or two, just terrifies them. Therefore questions arise: „Will the child cope on his own?“, „What if he/she gets sick?“,“What if he/she falls down and hurts himself“, „What if he/she gets lost“,“What if he/she is very sad and can’t sleep at night?” And so on.
The questions that arise in the parents are so many that with each subsequent one their anxiety grows. And if the parents manage to deal with their anxiety and emotions, then the appropriate camp, matching the needs of their child arise.
It doesn’t matter if this is the first time in a camp or not, but there are some specific moments that need to be taken into account. The place where the camp is situated is important because the children spend most of their time there, so it should be both cozy and safe.
Children and Parents
The international language camp LuckyKids, which is held in the town of Bansko, in the Lucky Bansko Aparthotel“*****, meets all the requirements for a children’s camp. The care for the little ones begins upon their welcoming and during the trip to the hotel. It is possible for a child to be sad because of the separation from the parents, so his excitement about the upcoming trip may quickly vanish.
The hands on the windows and the tears in the eyes are a situation that cannot be avoided at all times. The preparation for the upcoming trip in advance is very important. Encouraging and motivating sentences are also very important, for example: „You will have a great time there“, „You will find new friends“, „You will have incredible moments and you will learn new things“, „I am looking forward for you to come back and tell me about all the exciting experiences“.
At these moments it is normal for parents to feel guilty when they leave their child. Sometimes this guilt appears to be a substitute for care, but the conscious assumption of responsibility for the actions ceases to be a reason to feel guilty. Children need authentic, genuine mothers, not perfect ones, and the child has the opportunity to grow in an encouraging and supporting environment.
Children and travel conditions
Given the busy and intense traffic on the road, the issue of the safe travel of children is inevitable. The transport provided for the LuckyKids Children’s language camp is safe and secure. Before leaving, the children’s seat belts are checked by the team accompanying the kids. There are at least two animators an teachers in the microbus who take care of children while travelling. During the stops, teachers and animators will accompany the children who are previously dressed in special light-reflecting vests. This is required in order to be possible to distinguish them from the other children, so this is an additional safety measure.
Accommodation of children and conditions in the children’s camp
Accommodation in the hotel rooms is determined according to the age of the children. For their safety on each floor there are animators and teachers who help them for the accommodation. Children are responsible to maintain their private spaces and sometimes conflicts may arise, for example, someone using the shampoo of another kid, or using his perfume, or seating on his bed or taking his toy. These misunderstandings do not grow into serious conflicts, but respecting the privacy is something they need to learn to comprehend and understand.
All dangerous items are removed from the rooms and there are no sharp and fragile things. It is important the clothes of the children to be labelled, because under strong emotion they often forget them on chairs, under sofas, in the lobby and then it is really difficult to find their owner.
The camp is a challenge for every child
The young campers from 5 to 7 years of age, are accompanied by a parent or a family member. Because the parents are still playing a particularly very important role in the kid’s life, they help him to accept the reality. At this age, leaving the child in a camp without mom and dad, detachment from home and relatives, and facing new and unfamiliar circumstances doesn’t bring benefits. Small children adapt gradually and there is a smooth transition to their independent stay a year or two later.
The camp is a challenge for both children and parents. The first day or two are of particular importance with regard to the adaptation of the children. In the international language camp LuckyKids, communication between animators, teachers and children takes place only in English language. In this environment, children quickly learn the material and they are able to apply it in the activities later in the day.
The language barrier here may be stressful for the kids
The teachers are natives and they have taught in many countries. The specific accent may be difficult to understand. The kids are allocated into groups according to their language level, so this language difficulty, in a day or two, will be overcome. However, it is possible on the same day the child to make a call to his parents, highly worried, because he doesn‘t like being there due to the fact that he doesn’t understand anything and there is no communication. In order to emphasize his feelings the kid can express some additional arguments in support of his desire.
Awareness of parents
The manager of the camp is the person who will inform the parents first if such measures must be taken. If there is a situation when it is necessary, he will inform them, but only after he had considered in details everything that has happened. The rules in the camp are strictly monitored and if there is a violation by the child, he/she can be sanctioned. If there is a regular verbal aggression or unacceptable physical abuse, then the child may be deprived of a particular activity. In all other cases, all activities and sports are mandatory and children must participate in them.
There are cases where shy children keep their emotions inside them and they only would share their feelings with their parents when they make a phone call. And although there is no visible problem, the inner and invisible child’s world remains hidden. The parents should give a feedback to the manager so that he can observe the process and, together with the team, to provide the required attention and care to the child.
The anxiety of the child is an important signal that some of his needs haven’t been met, and the fear in some kids doesn’t allow them to seek help from an adult. The individual approach to the children by teachers and animators is one of our main goals. Careful attention is the key to solving the problem of primary stress response when entering a language camp. After carefully listening to the problems of the kid, effective ways to deal with the anxiety of each child are sought.
Mutual assistance between children is very important for their independence and social and emotional development. They create friendships and this has a very strong influence on the child. For the younger ones who are with their parents, support can be expressed with sufficient expression of love that makes them feel confident and when they need to be able to communicate.
Activities and Entertainment
During the daily activities, children are busy with a variety of games, communication with the other participants, with learning, so they can’t use their phones during the day. The time when they can call their parents is between 20.30 – 22.00 p.m., and the phones are stores by the team of the camp, and they can’t be used by the kids in a time that is different from the specified above.
The program is very dynamic and children are engaged in activities almost all the time. The sports activities and entertainment are carefully distributed in the program. Children who can’t swim can play in the pool only if they are equipped with the necessary safety measures – „wings“,“life-belt“, „vest“.
Animator and teacher accompany them to keep them safe, and there is also a life-guard who is always monitoring the pool. There are organized thematic parties in the evening, pillow fight, treasure hunt, cinema night, talent night and so on. Sometimes the children are so excited in these events that their phone calls with the parents become even shorter.
At the end of the day the children are tired and excited by the experienced emotions. The child may share with his parents that he is tired and that he has gone to bed late (for example at 02.00 a.m.). The teachers and animators check the kids who have gone to bed by 00.00 a.m. at the latest. The kids don’t have their cell phones with them and the teachers even turn off the TV and periodically check the rooms.
The kids are not allowed to walk in the corridors, floors and to visit other rooms. A teacher or animator remains with the children until they fall asleep and in case there is a child who has a fear he will calm him down. Sleep is very important for the little ones and that’s why a special regimen is observed.
Eating at LuckyKids
Eating at the children’s international language camp LuckyKids is 5 times a day. However, it is possible for the child to say that he/she is hungry and that is not enough. This is because the kid is adapting to the daily regimen.
Failure to comply with a diet leads to disturbance of the internal dynamic system, which in turn causes negative effect on the physical and neurological and psychological development of the child. When the daily routine is properly organized, the child eats with appetite, sleeps well and has a lot of energy during the day. Compliance with this regimen is one of the mandatory conditions for the prevention of fatigue and for the maintenance of balanced behavior in the child. This prevents conditions such as irritation, nervousness, insomnia, lack of appetite, etc.
Children can feel the trust and support, and these help them to achieve amazing results. The clean air and nature give them happiness and joy, far away from the city, the noise and the technologies. We encourage the children to show the enormous hidden potential and we make them believe and appreciate their uniqueness in this world.
Prepared by: Emiliya Pavlova
Animator in LuckyKids