Last summer the boys went to Camp Wilderness an all-inclusive residential summer camp in Oxfordshire for children aged 7 - 14 years old. Summer camps are something of an American institution with over 11 million children going on a camp each year according to the American Camp Association in 2010. But they haven't really caught on in the UK, until now.
"It really is a different type of adventure where the children truly get to grips with bushcraft, and have lots of fun while doing it. We pride ourselves in providing a back-to-nature experience that children will remember for the rest of their lives. Not only do they make new friends and learn new skills, with Camp Wilderness they are able to spend time in the most beautiful woodlands, getting away from technology!" explained Jade Forbes-Wattley of Camp Wilderness.
The action-packed camp is held in beautiful safari-style tented camps combing traditional bush craft with fun activities that include archery, bush tucker BBQ's and wild swimming. With children spending less time than ever outdoors, these camps offer a wonderful alternative to TV, games consoles and online distractions.
I had butterflies about the boys going away, especially as the nine year old has never been away from home without us before, but the butterflies soon disappeared as we arrived at camp to the best welcome ever. We were waved in from the road and as we opened the car doors we were greeted and bags were carried for us, it was so lovely and so friendly I knew the boys were going to have the best time and my nerves were instantly calmed.
Research has shown that children going away to camp encourages self-esteem as they learn to look after themselves and solve problems, it helps them to make friends often with a more diverse groups of friends than they may have at home. It brings them closer to nature and give children experiences they wouldn't have in their everyday lives such as wild swimming or even seeing a frog up close!
Camp also gives children an opportunity to take on new and different roles, quiet children find a new confidence and leadership skills, and hyperactive children can find calm in new surroundings. It also gives them fresh air and exercise and wonderful memories.
Camp Wilderness takes place in four picturesque locations in the UK and solves a problem of child care that we face each and every school holiday as despite having a flexible working contract and supportive employers, there are only so many hours that the grandparents can entertain my very active brood!
As I write this we have been looking at the website to plan the next trip, find out more about Camp Wilderness and book your childrens' summer holiday adventure.