Pack your kids off to these camps that will instil courage and team spirit in them.
If your kids would rather sit in front of the television, tapping away furiously at a controller or wildly waving an electronic stick in the air with Playstation 3 as an excuse, than indulge in healthy outdoor activities, then it’s time to pack them off to an adventure camp where extreme sports are the flavour du jour. And your kids will love it no matter how resistant they are initially, for these camps will teach them the joys of discovering the outdoors, of being fit, and of adventure. They get to experience trekking, ziplining, river-rafting and such fun activities. The good news for parents is that these activities also foster teamwork and cooperation; build coordination skills and promote fitness in our young.
INDIA Treks n Rapids They call themselves “India’s first and only 360° integration adventure travel and experiential learning company”. Their child division—known as the Chipmunks—organises programmes for children aged nine to 16 once a year. Accommodation is generally in tents or in dormitories, except while mobile camping either in the Himalayas or the Sahyadris. They have camps in Thangdar, Shivpuri, Suakoli and Matheran. There are two levels of expertise here – Silver Carabiner and Golden Carabiner. The former is a basic level where children are taught rock climbing, rappelling and trekking. The second one teaches them time and resource management, leadership, and help further the skills acquired in the first session. Treks n Rapids, Forest Road, Industrial Area, Dhalwala, Rishikesh 249 201, Uttarakhand, (+91 135 2435710; www.treksnrapids.com)
USA Adventure Treks Led by a team of experts, this adventure camp for kids is functional all year round in the United States. The less-demanding Blue Ridge Explorer takes you backpacking through the Appalachian Mountains amidst a frenzy of caving, rock climbing, canoeing, biking and overnight white water rafting. The rugged Alaskan expedition involves ice-climbing, sea-kayaking in Prince William Sound, backpacking in the Talkeetna Mountains and cascading over class IV rapids on the Lion’s Head River. Adventure Treks, Flat Rock, NC 28731, USA (+1 11 828 698 0339; www.adventuretreks.com)
AUSTRALIA Outdoor Adventure Camps This camp in the island-continent has been catering to schools and cadet groups since the 70s, providing them with the skills necessary to survive outdoors, with education and adventure training programs. About 60km from Sydney is the Hawkesbury Valley, the location of the 300-acre campsite. Surrounded by Yengo National Park and the Parr State Conservation Area, this campsite is a haven of wildlife. Since it is on the banks of Webbs Creek, there are several water-based activities including canoeing, canoe-volleyball, canoe-polo and raft racing (once you’ve built your own raft first, that is). There is also abseiling, a flying fox and archery run, an obstacle course, high rope challenges amidst the treetops, a rock climbing wall and jungle expeditions. Kids will also be taught the basics and importance of campfire cooking and bushcraft skills. Outdoor Adventure Camps, 256 Webbs Creek Road, Wiseman’s Ferry, NSW, Australia (+61 2 4566 4366; www.outdooradventurecamps.com.au)
THAILAND Chiang Mai X-Centre Chiang Mai’s X-Centre has an array of activities for kids ranging from tiny go-karts called drifter karts (age 9 and above), zorbing (age 9 and above), bungee jumping (35kg and above) and paintball (age 12 and above). X-Centre even hosts children’s birthday parties. If you happen to visit during a birthday, the centre will be more than happy to organise catering, clowns and magicians to keep your young ones entertained while you hop on a dirt bike and explore the trails. Chiang Mai X-Centre, 263 Moo 1., Mae Rim-Samoeng Rd, T.Mae Rim, Mae Rim District, Chiang Mai,Thailand (+66 53-297700; www.chiangmai-xcentre.com)
UNITED KINGDOM Activate Sport What started out as a multi-sport academy featuring the likes of the Andrew Flintoff Cricket Academy, the Lee Westwood Golf Academy, the Annabel Croft tennis academy and the Shane Williams Rugby Academy now organises adventure camps for kids. Alongside typical activities like climbing and snorkelling, you’ll find intrepid ones such as orienteering, assault courses, stunt kite flying and more. For five to 12-year-olds, these day-camps also conduct trust games, nature walks, camp-making and problem solving. Activate Sport, Office A, 221 Tamworth Road, Long Eaton, Nottingham, NG10 1DN, United Kingdom (+44 115 973 1676; www.activatesport.co.uk)