You may think that autumn is a silly time to talk about camps, but if you keep reading, you’ll find out that now’s exactly the time to think about next summer.
Summer holidays might very well mean a visit to your home country, to see your parents and relatives. However, you won’t probably be away for the whole duration of July and August that cover your children’s summer holiday away from school. And while you still have to go to work during the summer, your kids’ schools and kindergartens are shut and you’re faced with the puzzle of keeping them entertained and taken care of during your work day.
There are various opportunities on offer directly in the city – they are usually called “příměstský tábor” – a day camp where kids spend the days with some interesting, entertaining or even educational programme and return home in the afternoon, i.e. you pick them up on your way from work. They are often organised by local leisure centres, Children can spend a week learning English, climbing or singing. City districts have their websites with cultural activities, courses, events and camps. Although speaking Czech is beneficial for these classes, children who’ve been exposed, even moderately, to the language could participate in one of these fun activities.
Czech summer camps
If your children (or you) are already a little more adventurous and can imagine a week or two away from each other, you can send them to a Czech summer camp. Summer camps for children and youth are organized in different countries around the world. These camps vary in length and also their sport or outdoor activity focus.
Czech summer camps, tábor, have a long history dating back to the beginning of the 20th century. They are usually led by enthusiastic, experienced leaders and include many outdoor activities, such as camping, swimming, hiking, canoeing, cooking outdoors and learning about life in nature.
Most camps have a theme, some are based on the American Indian woodcraft traditions or other themes currently popular among children such as Harry Potter, or other books or cartoon characters. That gives all the games and competitions a special vibe. Other camps run by various specialized clubs or organisations focus e.g. on horseback riding, dance, hiking, art or sports.
Children often sleep in small groups in rustic cabins or tents. Typical Czech summer camp tents with beds, a wooden floor and walls and a fabric top are actually a Czech scouting invention which was shared with the world. In addition to gaining outdoor living skills, children also have a chance to become more confident and self-sufficient during their stay.
But – how to find such great camp?
This brings me to the opening premise of this article: If you want your kids to enjoy the best Czech summer camps, (plus a lot of other positives like nice friends, good guidance and examples, gaining useful skills for life, practicing Czech with their peers etc.), it’s definitely advisable for them to join a troop like the Scouts or Pioneers, or a sports club, theatre group or art club, and attend their weekly meetings during the whole school year.
Such groups are usually led by qualified, experienced and intrinsically motivated volunteer leaders, who prepare the weekly meetings and even weekend outings and which then culminate in these two- to three-week summer camps. The holistic programme of activities provides a pedagogical structure during the year and ultimately an intense experience at the camp for the group of children, who have been playing games and taking part in outdoor activities together throughout the year.
The summer camp provides opportunities for children to spend time outside in nature while being in a group of peers they feel comfortable with, which balances the possible anxiety of spending it away from parents.
Possibilities in Brno
Local leisure centres for children and youth in Brno offer a multitude of various year-round leisure activities at reasonable prices for children and youngsters. Most young leaders have no problem communicating in English and if your children attend a Czech school, they should have no problem fitting in and interacting with Czech peers.
However – even if you don’t manage to place your child in a year-long group, or their favourite leisure activity leaders do not organise a summer camp, you can still enrol your children in plenty of camps where they will undoubtedly have fun and make new friends as well. There are various websites, organisations, language schools or agencies offering summer camps both in Brno and throughout the country, including camps for parents with small children who are too young to go to a summer camp alone. The important thing, in this case, is to look and book early! Most camps begin to advertise as early as January.
Feel free to look around, in your local district or depending on your child’s favourite pastime, and if you need any support in contacting the groups or finding what you need, do not hesitate to contact us. And then you can start looking forward to next summer. 🙂
Some links to help you in your search:
- Lužánky, Brno’s largest leisure centre with its many branches located throughout the city
- Helceletka – another leisure centre with several branches in different city districts
- Salesians in Žabovřesky
- Salesko in Líšeň
- Lipka environmental education centre
Scouts and similar troops
Summer camp organisations / agencies / websites
- Borovice.cz – comprehensive website listing summer camps and sites all over CR
- Brno swimming school
- Tapaza camps