It’s that time of year again, school doors are closing and children are jumping for joy singing “it’s summer-time”.
Children want to have a fun-filled summer, but in order to do so they must be kept entertained and chaperoned. This can sometimes prove difficult for parents as work obligations are a constant during the week.
The National Trust for the Cayman Islands is partnering with local business Complete Writing to offer a solution – an all-day summer camp named “Camp Once Upon a Time.” This summer camp is targeted toward children ages 9 to 14, and will run during the months of July and August.
Some of the activities planned include adventure tours, nature walks, poetry recitation, writing vignettes, demonstrations by local artists of all genres, short story/comic book writing, face painting, musicians, clothing designers, gig carving, thatch plaiting and drumming. There will also be excursions and field trips to nearby prominent national and historical landmarks located throughout Grand Cayman.
The camp’s name was inspired by the idea that fairy tales are not just for toddlers, but rather a place to where it’s OK for children to awaken their imaginations and tap into their creativity.
What sets this apart from others is that there are no hidden costs – all excursions, meals, guest artists, trained instructors and counsellors and transportation fees are all covered in the registration fee.
Mona Lisa Tatum, camp coordinator, said the camp was designed to give children an opportunity to learn what their talents are and to get to know themselves.
“We want them to explore their inner-self and give them a chance to take part in things they may not have taken part in before,” Ms Tatum said.
Some of the excursions children can look forward to are Pedro St. James, the Botanic Park, Mastic trail, the National Gallery and a local farm. While children are out on the field trips they will be given a journal to keep with them.
“The journal is so that if the kids see something they like or are interested in, they can write about it, perhaps they will want to learn about our history or culture. Afterward, if they choose, they can turn it into a short story or a poem,” Ms Tatum said.
National Trust General Manger Christina McTaggart said that along with going on field trips children will have the opportunity to take part in activities.
“This premier camp will offer exciting opportunities for kids to embrace their imaginations and creativity, and will feature field trips to National Trust sites along with cultural and nature activities of all kinds,” Ms Mctaggart said.
The camp’s fun and child focused activities were developed using the standards of the American Camping Association.
Trained counsellors were carefully selected to guide the children throughout the process. Two trained cardiopulmonary resuscitation professionals will be present on the excursions, in a case of emergency.
Organisers said children are advised to wear comfortable shoes, preferably sneakers, casual clothing including a hat and sunblock. Everything is paid for, including snacks and lunch so children only need to bring their imagination and a positive attitude.
Ms Tatum said one of the aims of the camp is to encourage children to start to think independently. The camp’s motto is “awakening imagination and inspiring individuality”.
Ms Tatum said if parents want to see how their children are doing, it is fine to check in at the camp’s home base at Dart Park on South Sound Road. Parents are also allowed to join an excursion if they like.
The camp itinerary includes early drop-off at Dart Park at 8am and late pick-up at 6pm. Camp fees are all-inclusive and cover costs of meals, excursions, learning materials, transportation, and supplies. Early bird discounts are available for packages purchased before 15 June at a price of $350. Afterward, the price raises to $370. Sibling discounts are available regardless of date of purchase at 5 per cent. Ms Tatum said the more weeks you sign up for the higher the discount. The official camp hours are 9am at 5pm and the camp runs from 3 July to 31 August.