Okay everyone, it’s official! I’ve been dragged kicking and screaming from the 19th Century into the 21st! I’m not a complete Luddite but I don’t do social media and now I’ve been asked to write a blog. After first finding out what a blog was, my next question was ‘why me?’ The answer was quite simple: you have important messages about the value of outdoor education and the way to get that message out is not like it used to be with smoke signals or by letter!
So my first blog topic will be about the weekend camps that we run at Guildford Grammar School for parents and kids and why we do them.
Each year we run several camps that are for both the students and their parents. The Year 6 and the Year 11/12 parents and kids camps are for mums and dads, with their son or daughter, and the Year 7, 8 and 9/10 camps are for dads and kids; so dad comes along with his son or daughter. The aim of these camps is quite simple; child and parent spend time together taking part in fun activities. I won’t bore you by quoting all the academic research and statistics around why it is important for parents to spend quality one-on-one time with their children but a few reasons are outlined below:
· it’s fun
· time away from regular activities
· to provide an exciting platform to bond at a different level
· time for the parent away from everyday stresses such as work
· it’s fun
· time away from electronic distractions
· the chance to see a different side of the child/parent in a different setting
· learning new skills
· shared experiences
· the chance to laugh together
· it’s fun
· to help parents and their children to better understand their roles and responsibilities
· to get to know other parents and kids
· to encourage working together and communication
· to highlight the importance of encouragement and affirmation
· And one last thing – it’s fun!
We run these camps in the first half of the year, starting with the camp for Year 9 and 10 families early in first term. This timing allows us to do a range of water-based activities designed to challenge everyone. The Year 6 camp is held later in Term 1 and includes a range of activities that are similar to what the students did on their camp. The Year 11 and 12 camp is held in the first weekend of the April school holidays. This allows the boarding students’ parents to come along and keeps the weekend away from the students’ regular sporting and academic commitments. This camp is a chance for the boys and girls, and the parents, to learn and experience four-wheel driving around the School’s camp at Stronghills. The Year 7 and Year 8 camps are held in June and allow the dads to enjoy some of the activities that the boys and girls do on camp.
Food is a very important component of sharing good times. On our camps the parents cook the barbecue meal on Saturday night and the kids cook the big breakfast on Sunday morning.
If you haven’t been involved in a parents and kids camp make a mental note to yourself to sign up for the next one that comes along. You won’t be disappointed!
Find out more about our own campsite at Stronghills - our oasis on the Avon!
Mr Peter Ashby
Director of Outdoor Education
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