Summer swim camp(s) for children - 10 questions most frequently asked by parents
How can we organise the summer break for our children and make them have fun, enjoy it and learn something new? Should we organise their time for them once they have enough of sleep and when they finish their homework? Is a summer swim camp for children and parents a way to have a summer to remember?
Not all children have grandparents in the countryside, a holiday house on a mountain, uncles living at the seaside where they could spend a part of their carefree summer break. In the scorching summer months, their playground is usually the asphalt in front of their buildings. And that is okay as this is a place where they grow up, play, fall in love, fall and get up… But if you have a chance, enrol your child in a summer swim camp. Here are the reasons why you should do that.
How can swim camps be good for children?
When they are at sport camps, children who swim may easily develop a team spirit and healthy habits. They learn how to respect diversity, how to be patient, listen to others, and also express their own opinion. They become more independent and gain self-confidence. They grow up, fantasize and explore. They learn how to accept their emotions and their limits together with their new friends. They have fun and quality time during their summer break without having their parents around.
Based on my personal experience, these are 10 questions most frequently asked by parents regarding summer swim camps:
1. Who is suitable for a summer swim camp?
All those children who want to learn a life skill - how to swim. Those children who want to improve their swimming skills, not for pleasing their mum or dad or winning a medal, but for their own gusto. For children who don’t have an opportunity to learn how to swim during the year as they don’t have a proper pool in their neighbourhood to go to and swim, swim camps can be a true inspiration booster.
2. How can we choose the right summer swim camp?
What you should do first is choose the person, the coach you will send your child to and the team of professionals who will make sure your child is safe in the water and around it! Apart from the coaches at the swim camps it is recommended to have a sport psychologist, a pedagogue, a lifeguard, a doctor, and visiting experts from the world of swimming and education. Then, the programme is of key importance for every summer camp, and swim camps are not an exemption. It is not enough to gather the children on one place and let them play. They need to be worked with, guided, inspired, educated, and they need the full attention and devotion, so that they can have a chance to learn something new while playing at the same time.
Thirdly, the summer camp attended by a friend or cousin of your child or the one recommended by your friend does not necessarily have to be the best choice for your child. Some swim camps are more suitable for children who are beginners, while others might be more suitable for those children who already know how to swim. In the end, you should also inquire about how many children there are in a group managed by one coach.
3. Can my child learn how to swim during those seven days in the summer swim camp?
If your child is a beginner in the intensive programme of the swim camp, the focus should be on making your child feel relaxed, teaching him/her how to breathe properly in the water, how to dive and hold his/her breath with a smile on his/her face, float, move through the water using the props, reach an object from the bottom of the pool, etc. Summer swim camps should be an inspiration, motivating your child to continue with swimming after the summer break is over. Seven days at a summer camp are not enough for your child to learn how to swim. It is a process taking a year of continuous work, sometimes even longer. It all depends on the child and what he/she wants.
4. Why should I enrol my child in a summer swim camp if 10 days are not enough for him/her to learn how to swim?
Children who are beginners in the water will find a summer swim camp a life experience, both in the water and around it, and in the first place they will learn how to respect the water! No matter if the child already knows how to swim or has never been in the water, the question is – does he/she know how to behave in emergency situations in the water and around it, and how to stay safe? This is why it is important for children to master the advanced personal and life-saving skills while playing at the swim camp at the same time. Once the children feel safe and relaxed in the water they will easily start swimming very soon.
5. Can a child who is not a good swimmer attend a summer swim camp?
Yes. Apart from the new knowledge and skills, the idea of a summer swim camp is to help children improve their swimming skills and become better at swimming. Daily trainings unlike the weekly ones are good for that, and 24 hours of the professional surveillance over the group of children of the same knowledge and age can have a positive impact on that.
6. What should those children who already know how to swim do at a summer swim camp?
How to entertain the children who already know how to swim? It is easy, by introducing some new advanced swimming exercises and elements which will help them improve their swimming knowledge and skills to a higher level, and enhance their speed and stamina. Put some new challenges before them, adjusted to their level.
7. What’s the benefit parents can have from sending their child to a summer swim camp?
More time for themselves, a chance to relax, paint the walls in the house, read a book, spend more time with their friends, or have a short picnic for only mum and dad, and have some peace… Now seriously, the most important benefits parents can have are having their children feel safe in the water and around it and making them better and more confident swimmers.
8. Is swimming the only activity in a swim camp?
Of course not. In a swim camp like in all other camps children learn how to follow the rules of the life in a group. Apart from swimming, the focus is also on the activities on the dry, the so-called dry trainings. Every well-organised camp has in its programme some short or one-day excursions in the place where the camp is organised. We should not forget the part of the camp spent on reading, watching some good films or some other sports, games without borders… A well-organised camp has a team of professionals usually consisted of a doctor, psychologist, nutritionist or teachers of vocational subjects which might be interesting to children of specific age.
9. Will my child stay in a hotel?
It depends, but in most cases they won’t. All camps mostly have the children accommodated in the so-called resorts with the rooms with 3 to 4 and sometimes even 8 to 10 beds per room. All resorts normally have to meet the basic hygiene and spatial standards adjusted to the groups of children of different age.
10. What if my child doesn’t like it and wants to come back home?
That is something which can happen. If there happens to be a problem with a child, the team of professionals led by a psychologist will try to sort it out. If this doesn’t help and the problem persists and there is an actual need for the child to go back home, the camp leader will contact you and consult about what is best to do, and ask you to come and visit the camp. What also can happen is that a child behaving inappropriately or refusing to respect the code of conduct will be sent home before the camp finishes.