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Happy campers: Choosing a summer camp for your kids

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With all the different summer activities on offer across DB and Lantau, how do you decide which will benefit your child the most? Samantha Wong reports.

If your kids are anything like mine they are starting to get beyond excited about the upcoming school holidays. We’ll be heading overseas for a stretch to see family and they say they are quite happy to do absolutely nothing for the rest of the break. But I’m not buying it. We tried that last year and hanging around at home and in the plaza simply didn’t do it for them – or their devoted and long- suffering Auntie. So this year, I’ve decided, we are going to enrol in some summer camps.

It seems to me that in choosing a summer camp for your children – with your children if they are old enough – making sure they are going to have lots of fun should be a first priority. And that at least should be easy enough to achieve. No matter which type of camp I choose, the kids will be given the opportunity to be busy and social, which is something they both secretly enjoy.

Hopefully too, away from the pressures and social hierarchies of school, they’ll be able to make new friends and, with the guidance of adult mentors, discover new things about themselves.

Selecting a camp 

Generally speaking then, it’s safe to say that summer camp is going to be a fun experience for the kids but this gets me no closer to deciding on a specific course for them. Looked at one way the decision is simple. I’ll sign them up for an activity they already enjoy and give them the chance to focus on it, and get seriously good at it. True to gender stereotyping, my son is into martial arts and my daughter lives to dance, so that immediately narrows the field.

Game over, you might say, job done. But having thought about this a lot, I’m tempted to go the other way… sign the kids up for a course in something new and unexpected, something that will expand their horizons.

Neither of my kids are what you would call outdoorsy; they’re homebodies. When they’re not deep in their books, my daughter is hardwired to the computer and my son is glued to the TV. Any camp I choose will encourage them to unplug and get social, but I’m thinking one that’s based outdoors could be the way to go. So perhaps I’ll sign them up for a sports course. It would be good to see them being physically active but more than that, I’d like to see them simply spending time outdoors, connecting with nature in some way. They are always saying they aren’t interested in being outdoors, that they lack access and are uncomfortable, so maybe a few sessions on the playing field will put a stop to that. To keep things interesting (at least from my perspective), I’m also considering enrolling the kids in a classroom-based camp. I’ve read about the ‘summer slide’, where grade points are lost because of lack of tuition over the holidays, and I want to avoid it. There’ll be no ‘snoozing and losing’ at our house! Hopefully, an educational camp won’t be too dull for the kids. I’m told that these specialised, teacher-led summer courses make learning and problem-solving fun and interactive. As my son could also do with some extra tuition in Maths, this will kill two birds with one stone. So there’s my answer. We’ll plump for not one but six summer camps – the kids will each get to explore their favourite hobbies, try something new and keep up with their studies. It’s starting to look like a busy, productive and most importantly fun summer!

5 skills kids gain at summer camp

1. How to build personal relationships. Children learn to work with each other and their adult mentors, outside of the classroom and family unit. While building new friendships, they learn to navigate through group dynamics, manage conflict and accept guidance.

2. How to empathise. Placed in a new environment with new people, kids learn to value the kindnesses of others and they begin to give of themselves in return. In challenging situations, they learn to be sensitive and to support friends who are struggling.

3. How to work as a team. Children learn that to succeed, they must work together as part of a team. Rather than thinking only of themselves, they begin to see themselves as part of a community, and with this comes a valuable sense of acceptance and belonging.

4. How to enjoy new experiences. By putting themselves out there and trying new things, kids begin to understand what it takes to succeed in life. They develop decision-making skills to get themselves through challenging situations, and they grow in confidence and flexibility.

5. How to be resilient. By tackling an activity that pushes them outside their comfort zone, children come away with a stronger sense of personal pride and self-reliance. As they progress through a course, their confidence builds and they accomplish tasks that at first seemed impossible. All this builds strength of character, courage and determination.

GET CREATIVE

Acting Up is holding its drama summer camp at the Lantau Diner on Lower Cheung Sha Beach. Kids, aged five and above, can learn and practise skills such as improvisation, mime, mask work, script writing and more. Photography classes are also on offer for all ages, while kids aged 14 and above can get involved in filming, editing and drone classes. Running from June 28 onwards. Contact info@phoenix-hk.com, www.phoenix-hk.com.

Ark Eden’s eco camps bring out the adventurous, curious and compassionate side of children, aged five to 11. Held in Mui Wo and other naturally beautiful sites across Lantau, each day is different, such as Survival Camp, A Day on the Farm and Wizardry and Potions. Activities include forest play, making a tree-house, campfire cooking and netting in the streams. Running from July 3 – August 11.
Contact 2984 8514, jasmine@arkedenonlantau.com, www.arkedenonlantau.com.

Bayview House of Children provides six weeks of summer fun for children aged three to six in DB. The Creative Programme, held in the mornings, includes arts and crafts, musical movement, gardening, science and cookery. At the afternoon Multi-Sport Programme, conducted by Forward Motion, kids learn various sports and play fun, physical games. Trained coaches guide the children to build confidence, learn about leadership and work as a team. Running from July 3 – August 11. Contact 6114 2436, ramesha@bayview.hk, www.bayview.hk.

Faust International is bringing its summer theatre camps to DB for the first time, along with classes on Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. Kids aged three to 14 have the opportunity to learn drama techniques in the week-long Summer Theatre Programme while the Creative Writing Workshop develops the creativity and skills of budding writers. Running from June 26 – August 25.
Contact 2547 9114, info@faustworld.com, www.faustworld.com.hk.

Liang’s Studio in DB will hold The Music Enrichment Programme (MEP) exclusively designed for children aged three to 10. Workshops run every Saturday through both morning and afternoon sessions, and include listening and singing, rhythm and intonation, and body movement for the performing arts. Running from June 17 – August 26.
Contact 2572 3168, admin@liangs.com.hk, www.liangs.com.hk.

At Little Gems Playgroup’s summer fun programme, there’s a Baby Accompanied Class (12 to 18 months), a Toddler Accompanied Class (18 months and above), and a Drop-Off Class (two to three-and-a-half years). Children enjoy a fun, warm and nurturing environment involving creative, physical and sensory exploration activities, musical movement and story time. Running from July 3 – August 25.
Contact littlegemsdb@gmail.com, fb.me/littlegemsdb.

Rumple and Friends’ Big Top Academy Summer Camp in Sheung Wan allows kids, aged three to 10, to explore a diverse range of theatrical techniques through script work and musical theatre. Themes include magic and circus, explorers and adventurers, and pirates and mermaids. The courses are taught by professional performers with extensive teaching experience. Running from June 26 – August 25.
Contact 9830 8287, info@rumpleandfriends.com, www.rumpleandfriends.com.

Winky’s Workshop is offering a visual arts summer programme for kids aged three to 15. Themed all things ocean, activities include fun crafts, DIY workshops, experimental drawing, sketching and acrylic painting. A performing arts programme is also offered with ballet, jazz-fun, K-pop and hip-hop classes. (Enjoy a 5% earlybird discount on or before June 17.) Running from July 15 – August 17.
Contact 9324 3754, chan_wai_ki@hotmail.com, fb.me/wkworkshop.

GET CREATIVE

The Story Studio offers creative fun for imaginative kids aged seven to 13, at its summer writing workshops in DB and Tung Chung. The holiday workshops are for imaginative kids who enjoy reading, and love writing their own stories. Fun activities get the creative sparks flying, helping students create personal writing portfolios to take home. Running from July 10 – August 24.
Contact 6341 3989, thestorystudiohk@yahoo.com, www.thestorystudiohk.com.

GET GROOVY

Dance for Joy is holding its dance and performing arts classes over the summer in Tung Chung for children aged three and above. Aimed at sharing the joy of dance with the community, classes include hip-hop, jazz-funk and K-pop. Fun workshops provide a perfect opportunity for kids to step into the spotlight. Running from June to August.
Contact 9264 8597, info@danceforjoyhk.com, www.danceforjoyhk.com.

DMR school of ballet

DMR School of Ballet’s one- and two-day summer dance workshops and classes in DB provide excellent dance training for students, in addition to exploring the wider world of dance. Summer training allows students, aged three to 20 years, to maintain peak physical shape through workshops, such as Twinkle Tots Ballet, Song and Dance, Barre, Balance and Ballet, Posture, Poses and Performance and the famous, Choreography Camp. Running from June to August.
Contact 2987 4338, info@dmr-hk.com,www.dmr-hk.com.

La Sylphide School of Ballet’s five-day Summer Princess Dance Camp is held in Tung Chung for kids aged two-and-a-half to five-and-a-half. In the princess-themed classes, kids are inspired by their favourite Disney characters from Princess Elsa and Cinderella to Belle. The children then get to weave their own fairytale through group and solo dances for an end-of-programme show. Running from June 26 – August 25.
Contact 6199 6601, lasylphideschoolofballet@gmail.com, www.facebook.com/La-Sylphide-School-ofBallet-560102984143377/www.facebook.com/La-Sylphide-School-ofBallet-560102984143377/.

GET SMART

Coding Kids is offering camps in DB for young coders, aged five to 12, to equip them with the skills they need for the future. The Hackathon Summer Camp introduces kids to building their own website with a crash course on HTML and CSS, while the Young Coders and Advanced Javascript Camp is filled with Star Wars-themed games, challenges and code. Running from July 3 – July 21.
Contact 6274 1167, twayburne@codingkidshk.com, www.codingkidshk.com.

Creative Coding’s Smart Home Summer Camp in DB, combines science, technology, engineering, art and maths (STEAM) for kids aged six to 16. Beginners learn about circuitry and coding as they build their own robot, while experienced kids learn to use robotic sensors. Advanced students build Apps and make STEM projects. Running frim July 3 – August 11.
Contact 9469 8225 or 2973 0106, nora@creativecoding.hk, www.creativecoding.hk.

Dr Bear Education Centre’s Mandarin Summer Camp in DB provides a relaxing and joyful learning environment for kids aged two and above. Classroom-based learning includes topics such as food, shopping, family, music and sports. Running from June 26 – Ausgut 12.
Contact 6762 6264, drbearschool@gmail.com, fb.me/drbearschool.

Mandarin for Munchkins™ runs a fun Mandarin summer school in DB suitable for kids aged three to nine. With options of morning or full-day school, the goal is to help learners discover the joy of learning Mandarin through fun activities. Children aged nine to 14 can also take part in a six-week summer boot camp through Mandarin for Teens™. Running from June 26 – August 18.
Contact 2480 3909, learn@yifan-mandarin.com.hk, www.yifan-mandarin.com.hk.

GET SPORTY

Asia Pacific Adventure’s week-long adventure programmes are conducted around Hong Kong’s beautiful coastline. The Marine Adventures Programme, targeted at 10 to 12 year olds, includes kayaking, SUP and lessons in marine ecology. The Coast to Coast Programme allows children, aged 13 to 15, to go on a kayaking expedition and a gorge trek, run an adventure race and snorkel. The programs will be running from June 19 – August 4.
Contact 2792 7160, summer@apa.co, www.summer.asiapacificadventure.com.

HK Dragons offers football camps in DB, Pui O and Stanley for kids, aged three and above, of all abilities. Children learn teamwork, fair play and a competitive spirit in a fun and safe environment. Professional coaching from UEFA/ FA qualified coaches ensures an improvement in skills, match awareness and fitness. The program will run from July 13 – July 14.
Contact 5360 0565, acc.admin@dragons.hk, www.dragons.hk.

Harry Wright

Harry Wright International, ‘The Premier Swim School’, is offering its popular five-day weekly intensives in the mornings and three-day weekly intensives in the afternoons, including its unique Infant Aquatic and Learn to Swim Programme. The classes are held in DB and are suitable for all levels, four months and above. Running from June 26 – August 12.
Contact 2575 6279, enquiries@harrywright.com.hk, www.harrywright.com.hk.

iGym’s new All-Day Mixed Sports Camp, allows campers to experience a large variety of sports including gymnastics, soccer, basketball, volleyball, touch rugby. With qualified staff and expert camp counsellors, activities run from Monday to Saturday. Kids, aged eight to 14, can expect excursions to Ocean Park, Disneyland, EpicLand and a day of surfing. The aim is to encourage a healthy and active lifestyle in today’s youth. Running from July 3 – July 8.
Contact 6077 2758, igymhk@icloud.com, fb.me/IGymGymnastics.

iGym’s summer gymnastics camp offers its regular early morning gymnastics programmes in DB, for kids aged three to 14. Beginner and intermediate classes involve innovative gymnastic programmes, arts and crafts and games, to create a high energy learning environment. Kids develop new skills and a sense of adventure, while making new friends and gaining confidence. Running from July 3 – July 8.
Contact 6077 2758, igymhk@icloud.com, fb.me/IGymGymnastics.

Overtime Basketball offers  basketball training in Tung Chung and Mui Wo for kids aged four and up. Suitable for beginner and elite players of all levels, the summer camp aims to develop solid fundamentals and enhance skills. A 15% discount is available for the Season 2 camp, starting in August. Contact  6355 7674, overtime.basketballhk@gmail.com, fb.me/overtimebasketballhk.

Rugbytots

Rugbytots and Sport4Kids are looking to change the face of sports camps as they bring SUPERCAMP to local kids, five to 10. Held at YMCA Tung Chung, the six-hour multi-sport camp includes problem-solving, team-building challenges, themed days, tournaments, and traditional and non-traditional sports such as dodgeball and capture the flag. Contact 5307 6677, info@rugbytots.hk, www.rugbytots.hk.

Rugby Academy Asia & DB Pirates are  proud to present the internationally acclaimed Haka Rugby Global rugby camp, the first of its kind in Hong Kong. Held at Discovery Bay Pirates Rugby Football Club in DB, the camp is suitable for boys and girls aged six to 18. Contact  2516 7397, hakacamp@gmail.com, www.hakarugbyglobal.com/hongkong.

Treasure Island gives children, aged five to 16, the chance to learn to surf on beautiful Pui O Beach at one of its surf camps (Grommets Beginner Surf, Surfers Intermediate and Adventure Camp). In addition to surfing, beginners learn water safety and ocean education, while intermediates can try SUP, kayaking, hiking, coasteering and camping. Running June 19 – August 25.
Contact 2546 3543, inquiries@treasureislandhk.com, www.treasureislandhk.com.

The Vikings Football Club  Club summer camps, held at Discovery College, are suitable for boys and girls, aged two to 11. Run by professional football players, kids learn football skills and drills, while having lots of fun. Activities for two- to four-year-olds are held from 9am to 9.45am, and for five- to 11-year-olds from 10am to 12pm. Contact 9533 2600, vikingshk@outlook.com, vikings.hk.

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