Summer camps for youths offer the best experiences. Combine making friends, learning a language and enjoying varied activities and you have a recipe for fun that will have your kids returning for more. And the benefits speak for themselves.
Research has shown that the younger kids are when they’re exposed to different languages, the better they will perform on tasks that require attention, inhibition and short-term memory.
Not only are there academic benefits, there are also health benefits too. Studies have shown that socially active teens are healthier than their less social peers, with lower weight, blood pressure and stress hormone levels.
It was also found that the friendships that we make in our teen years are just as essential for our well-being as the social connections we make later in life. We spoke to our passionate Berlitz team to further explore some of the benefits offered by our summer camps.
Making new friends from around the world
Working through team building activities, campers become a close-knit group. Sharing rooms, eating meals together and communicating in another language helps them bond and build friendships quickly.
Being confronted with new ideas, games, activities and people, helps kids quickly adapt to new situations and improves on their communication and social skills.
“We have many evening programs that require teamwork like Wacky Olympics, Scavenger Hunt, 1-Minute Movie and Challenge Night,” says Laurie Castro Camargo, Kids Director Quality & Training, Germany
“Campers often sign up for programs like horse riding or football and meet kids with a common interest. The clean room contest requires roomies to work together to make their bedrooms shine.”
Increased awareness of cultural differences
Exposure to different cultures sparks curiosity in kids. It removes the fear of something being different, which is one of the many benefits of summer camp for youths.
“In our camps we have counselors from over 30 countries who teach kids about their own cultures,” says Camargo. “Kids may learn about four different cultures while at camp.
I’ve seen kids become fascinated with the cultures of the counselors and ask questions throughout the week about life in another country.”
African village projects, American jazz & blues music, and Indian cooking are examples of cultural projects run during the camp that help increase kids’ knowledge further.
Being in the great outdoors
“Our [Berlitz] instructors are trained to spend as much time outside as possible and there’s an unlimited choice of activities we do to practice and learn a language outdoors,” says camp manager, Sébastien Thomas, France.
As well as traditional games such as Simon Says, Four Corners and treasure hunts, there is also jeopardy, quizzes, mini talent shows or Wacky Olympics.
“Kids don’t normally need much convincing to put on their outdoor wear and head outside,” says Thomas. “And we always have daily communicative objective(s) in mind and try to maximize the kids’ talk time inside or out.”
Unplug from technology
Getting kids to unplug from technology can be hard. But that’s one of the many benefits of summer camps for youths. With so many ‘screenless’ activities and some subtle incentives, unplugging suddenly has appeal.
Camp activities require playing and living with others which means that kids have to practice the art of negotiating and reaching a compromise face to face. They also have to overcome communication challenges with adults they don’t know.
“Unplugging for a week helps kids discover different ways to relate to their social and physical environment other than through a screen,” says Thomas.
“Even the most tech-addicted kids end up realising they can spend a week without their devices and, not only survive, but even have fun.”
Have fun while learning
Studies have shown that, when students are engaged and motivated, they have higher levels of understanding. An educational summer camp could be just the thing to tick these boxes.
And in the case of Berlitz summer camps? “Learning at camp isn’t related to school, so it makes the learning process more fun,” says Thomas.
“The camp environment helps us take language out of the classroom and, as per the Berlitz method, we focus on speaking and use a lot of fun communicative activities, such as games, crafts and songs.”
Lesson objectives, such as talking about their weekend or asking for directions, introduce the language to the kids and help them to learn it. The type of activities are age and proficiency based.
As Laurie Castro Camargo says, “After camp, many kids become more confident talking to different people and lose their inhibitions to speak another language. I’m sure they also develop a desire to travel and see what the world has to offer.
One week at camp is an intense experience outside of everyday life and offers kids the chance to grow in many ways.”
Learn more about our Berlitz summer programs here.