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Summer camp time!
published: Tuesday | June 17, 2008

Youngsters enjoy camping activities at Good Hope. - File photos

Any parents are often at a loss when summer holidays come. What do they do with the children for the next two months? Going to the country now means a trip to a hotel or resort property. Gone are the days when country meant playing to your heart's content at the grandparents' home in deep rural Jamaica. Not many children want to go to mango walk, catch janga in the river or play hide-and-seek in the bush.

Today's youngster or teenager either wants to take a trip overseas or go to summer camp. But with rising fuel costs, airfares have soared to unattainable heights for many and rather than have the children sitting at home in front of the television sets, parents want children to be more gainfully occupied. The Gleaner has been publishing some summer camp alternatives and today, Lifestyle looks at more choices for you.

Camp choices

Swim Jamaica

The heat is on, so cool things down with Swim Jamaica's Summer Splash. Beginning July 7, swimming classes are available for all age groups. From tots to adults, there are even packages for the entire family. Lessons are available at locations in Discovery Bay and Kingston. For more information, call 926-1514 or visit the National Stadium's office or


Sitting around and playing video games is not an option. Keep children active and in shape with Shakti Mind Body annual summer camp. There are yoga, art and fitness camps available for the little ones and teens. Camp runs from August 11-22, for ages 4-16 and starts 9 a.m. and ends 4 p.m. daily.

It will be worth it, with guest instructor from Yoga Angels, Los Angeles, California, who is returning for another rocking summer camp! This year, Sandy Lee (fitness), Helga Marzouca (art) and Franny Mahfood (nutrition) will be making it even better.

Good Hope sleepover

If it's not too hard to part with the little ones for summer, then a sleepover camp will be ideal. At Good Hope in Trelawny, the first camp runs from July 5-12 and session two runs from July 24-31. It is for ages 8-14. For more information, call 881-6869.

Art and craft camp

Unleash the artist in the little ones with Grosvenor Galleries Summer art and craft for children.

These run in two-week sessions between June 30 to August 12. All materials are included, so just send your children with their imagination as they learn to create, make hand-painted glass vases, clay sun faces, painted calabash, wooden wall bugs, hand-printed ceramic plates, tie-dyed T-shirts, framed paintings on canvas, and so much more.

Maritime Institute camp

The Caribbean Maritime Institute on Palisades Park in Kingston also has a summer camp.

This runs from July 14 to 19 and July 21 to 25. This is perfect for teens. Age groups range form 12-20. They will learn about navigation, seamanship, safety training, virtual boating experience, social graces and many more essential skills.

There will also be a picnic and beach trip to Lime Cay, and the crowning of camp pirate and wench will also take place.

Animal lovers

If your children are animal lovers, then a camp with horses might be perfect. Send them to Kingston Polo Club at Caymanas Estate from June 30 to July 4. From swimming to riding, grooming and horse care, this camp is ideal for children, ages five and over.

River tubing is a fun-filled camp activity.


If you own a company, take the children in for some early exposure as to how it works. This can be in a formal holiday job setting or more informally, just seeing how things work and learning the ropes.

Pick something for them to do at home - cleaning or organising cupboards, storage areas, garages, etc. Give them a little extra pocket money for this.

Encourage some good old-fashioned reading and set a target of, say, 20 books for the summer, rather than a diet of video games and television all day.

Encourage voluntary work. There are many places to do this, such as hospitals, homes for the elderly and children's homes, where children can do some worthwhile work.

Get into groups with friends, identify a community project, such as beautifying a public space, and tackle that with some adult supervision.

Start a little business. Last summer, a 10-year-old girl ran a spa for her parent's friends and made $3,000! Why not have your little ones call up his/her circle of friends and see how they could make a 'business' out of some type of service, while earning a few dollars?

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