A good, attractive, location, safe surroundings. Good combination between courses + fun, ideally also sport. Excellent student welfare with responsible team leaders who are able to create a nice, homelike and safe atmosphere as well as a great camp spirit. It’s also important to have a balanced nationality mix.
It’s recommendable to offer different activities for the various age rages because the interests of 10 years old are different than those of 17 years old. Also the staff should know how to treat the different age ranges and camp facilities should be appropriate for the age group staying at the camp. If there are different age ranges staying at the same camp, it’s helpful to split them into smaller age groups for activities and when placing them into their rooms.
So the staff should be well prepared and now how to react and what to do in cases of emergency or accidents. They should have first aid knowledge and there should be doctors and hospitals at easy reach. It’s also important that parents can contact the camp 24 hrs. per day and that the camp staff contacts the parents and agency as soon as possible after an accident. For younger students it’s also very helpful to have very caring staff which is able to act like a “mother”: drying tears, giving hugs etc., the child should know he’s not alone and that everything will work out properly, it should feel completely safe.
Agents should definitely ask the client what he wants and what he’s really looking for. For example, the nicest sports camp on earth is inappropriate for a child who doesn’t like sports at all. Also in most cases it doesn’t work out to force a child to a camp stay if the child really doesn’t want to, the child normally won’t enjoy its stay.
Sometimes also parents try to place their child in a camp even though the child as not the appropriate age, for example a 6 years old in a camp which starts at the age of 7 or 8, agents should be aware that this normally creates problems and doesn’t work well and they should inform the parents accordingly.
Sandra Weber is Summer Camp Coordinator with GLS German Language School. The school is based in German capital Berlin, and runs teenage summer camps near Munich.