When you send your kid to an international summer camp in Switzerland, they not only get the chance to make friends, they get to challenge themselves both physically and mentally while exploring some of the most beautiful areas in Europe.
Summer programs for expat children and teens are not strictly about learning: the memories they bring back, and will cherish for a lifetime, are all about friendship (and the accompanying shenanigans).
Make lifelong friends from all over the world
Summer camps introduce your child to a new category of buddies: the bonding that comes with living and making new experiences together, without distractions or parental supervision, is very different than the friendships developed at school. Campers will get to know their new peers intimately in a short period of time – but if short, that moment is full of an intensity that fosters lifelong friendships. Navigating and building these friendships over a summer teaches children new social skills, and they often come home more confident – a skill they will not only use when they return to school in the fall, but use for the rest of their lives.
Camp also connects kids to those who they may not normally meet, especially when they attend an international summer programme. They will be introduced to different living habits but also cultures, and learn inclusion and diversity in a natural, organic way. They’ll suddenly experience how big the world can be, filled with fun and interesting people of various creeds, colours and social classes. These include the camp’s counsellors and leaders, who serve as positive role models and can leave a lasting impression.
Discover Switzerland and its neighbours
Swiss children today spend much less time outdoors than in previous generations. The best summer camps in Switzerland will reconnect them with nature in a magnificent setting.
A Swiss summer camp is the adventurous discovery of an entire wild world, experienced from the comfort and safety of a supervised group setting. They’ll roam the Alps, trek through forests and swim in enchanting lakes and ponds, admiring snow-capped mountains and discovering the local flora and fauna. They’ll meet frogs, squirrels and hares, but they’ll also encounter foxes, chamois, marmots and red deer along the way. With a little luck, they may spot brown bears, lynxes and wolves in the distance. And if they look up, they’ll admire Swiss golden eagles and bearded vultures (and at night, around the campfire, an unmarred starry sky like they’ve never experienced).
Some summer programs can include travelling, with visits to the region’s villages or even some of Europe’s most eminent cities. Some summer camps, for example, take children all the way to the Mediterranean coast, with chances to explore Basel, Zurich, Florence, Milan, Rome, Siena and even Venice. In a few short weeks, your children will become seasoned world-travellers.
Stay physically active
Surrounded by nature, children develop a new relationship to their body: they are more physically active, gain confidence and learn new skills. Without the distraction of smartphones and other screens, kids can truly take advantage of all summertime has to offer.
Thanks to the country’s incredible variety of landscapes and natural settings, there is a plethora of camp activities in Switzerland. The great lakes afford the opportunity to try pedal boating, water skiing, canoeing, kayaking, and even water rafting and canyoning. The mountains just beg to be explored, whether hiking or climbing. Even building a tent or cutting firewood keeps them busy and dirty (one of children’s favourite states of being).
Your kids will come home more rugged, more energetic and more eager to continue moving throughout the year – and with loads of magical childhood memories.
Rise to new challenges and learn independence
At summer camp, your children don’t have you. Even under the counsellors’ supervision, they have to be more self-reliant and approach daily life proactively. Their daily comfort depends on them taking care of their personal hygiene and doing their own chores, from getting up and getting themselves ready to keeping track of their dirty laundry and making their bed. Bedtimes are set and schedules are packed, but children are empowered to take care of themselves, which is especially beneficial to kids who are a little too attached to mom and dad. They will learn how to trust themselves and make decisions, which teaches them important leadership skills – especially when the camp allows them to make choices in their activities or even direct group summer projects.
During a physically active summer programme, they also obtain a wide range of new skills that they could not practice at home: they learn how to build a tent, start a fire, steer a canoe and shoot a bow and arrow. They try their hands at arts and crafts and stage performances. These activities make children realize how capable they are to learn and grow. According to the American Camp Association, 92 percent of kids who attend camp say that it helped them feel good about themselves.
Among the variety of activities and sports they will try at a summer camp in Switzerland may also lie a future lifelong passion: some children will come home enthused about horseback riding, excited about their new swimming abilities, or confident about directing a theatre group. Camp is a great way to encourage self-development for your budding artist, musician, actor or sports enthusiast.
Consolidate what they learned during the school year
During the summer, children may forget many of the lessons they learned during the school year. However, studies have shown that summer learning programmes benefit students, particularly those from low-income families.
Some Swiss summer camps are tied to a summer school program, where academics are part of the schedule. For example, mornings are dedicated to classroom learning, with a team of educators. If some subjects (literature, maths) draw exasperated sighs from your child, many programmes also engage them in academics with new exciting methods – they can learn new languages; try their hands at cooking; or study robotics, design, architecture, photography and musical theatre.
Mixing learning with fun can help increase memory, motivation and cooperation with other students, and summer programmes help make a connection between the empirical knowledge acquired in the classroom and its real world-applications. At summer school, the atmosphere is more relaxed and enjoyable, where children don’t notice they’re learning valuable lessons, making friends and building character.