ADVENTURE CAMP - MORE THAN JUST AN ADVENTURE
The word adventure can be defined in many ways; something unusual, something which moves beyond the boundaries of everyday life. Moreover, adventure is unrecognised beauty, an unsurvivable experience or unexpected encounter, superior performance, emotional strain. For a better understanding, we can divide the word into several groups depending on what area of children's skills are being developed - adrenalin, aesthetics, adaptability, performance and intellect, through the camp theme or sightseeing trips. Some adventures are reserved for a whole day, others alternate throughout the day and many are often appropriately combine to complement each other.
ADRENALINEWe can sum it up as a stressful situation in which children learn to concentrate as well as how to act quickly taking decisive decisions. A typical example known from traditional camps is the night game, in which children start tense with the uncertainty of mystery, the unknown, with the need to simultaneously cope with the darkness, with surprise and with the specified task all while dealing with fear. Sometimes it's just known as the ‘walk of courage’, sometimes children have a mission that must be met in the middle of the dark night’s forest. Adrenaline levels rise, especially if it will shower from the skies on a hot summer day during a proper water fight, during which filled balloons fly everywhere and precisely directed jets from water pistols criss-cross the open space. What is this compared to the wild ride on rafts from the ruins of Dobronice all the way underneath the bridge at Bechyně! An element of danger and fear is contained in the rope climb over obstacles hung high up trees, and when flying through the air on a chair pulley, which everyone will want to try again. Among the most popular fighting games is ‘Highland War’, where, until the last moment, you have no idea what rank your opponent has while trying to fight your way to the enemy king, or face the inevitable fate of the loser. And what about The Hunger Games, a spectacular battle of all against all, in which all sorts of techniques are used to hit the enemy from a distance, only one can win!
AESTHETICSJust as a stressful situation produces adrenaline, so participation in creative and artistic activities deepens the aesthetic senses and induces the production of endorphins, evoking a feeling of satisfaction and happiness. Therefore, this category includes artistic achievements, which are expected in fort building in the forest, singing karaoke or the ever-popular talent show, where everyone can show what they can do with often very imaginative visual effects. Among these activities also lies the crazy disguises on the glow stick Night Walk, an evening procession with glow sticks, from which children can make lanterns or other objects of various shapes. Another night light adventure is the traditional firework display and especially the Fire Show, which sees juggling flaming balls and fantastic glowing shapes. Using the light against the wall the shadows will show us how many animals can be made from only two hands. Romance is experienced during stargazing. The favourite Photo Story sees children assemble stories on a given topic creating compositions in which they themselves appear. Probably the most time-consuming adventure in the field of aesthetics is the colour day, when everything in the camp must be tuned orange - clothing, grass, walls, flags, hair, toilet paper, leaders’ smiles, the mood in the disco, and perhaps even the food on the plate.
ADAPTABILITYIn unusual situations, for which it is not possible to prepare children, they learn a lot about themselves, learning to understand their shortcomings while finding a way to overcome them. To some it is sufficient to kindle a fire and roast sausages or maybe trdelník (special Czech sweet cake made on fire), for others perhaps while sleeping under the stars. We will gain extraordinary abilities during Superhero Day, where everyone must behave exactly according to the character of their hero. Let's not forget the perfect 007, from whom we borrow some of the amazing technological inventions, swift action and, of course, elegance and humour! We will investigate their ability to change while telling adventure stories in the local surroundings. As well as all of the above, we will throw in good games such as Capture the Flag and Capture the Leader, where two teams fight for their flag or try to capture the opponent’s leader. Or Treasure Hunt, in which a small team, in a limited period of time, performs a variety of tasks even with no English when not permitted. A similarly interesting game is ‘Letters to Pedro’, where there is a fight between thieves and postmen, who desperately seek the right recipients. The special charm of this game lies in assembling teams of varying ages, forcing them to work together and overcome shyness. And do not forget Casino Night! This adventure sits us face to face with gambling passion, and the entire camp can try the treacherous dangers of gambling.
PERFORMANCEAs already mentioned, recreational sport is not a real adventure yet, but quite different emotions arise from sports tournaments; thrilling and varied examples of agility and training. This is best shown through the camp Olympics involving a large number of disciplines. In the same spirit, we see exciting races on the boats or orienteering in the vicinity of the camp, which was created for this purpose. It will also be necessary to practice archery and darts. You can easily lose balance during water games, but even more successful in this respect is the so-called Dry Pub – an exercise in which you are so dizzy that you stagger like a drunk just leaving the pub. We can’t forget the show of strength in various sports such as volleyball, soccer, swap, ping-pong, softball, cricket, frisbee and petanque.
INTELLECTNot everyone is aware of the role intellectual emotion plays in our lives. It is even common in the lives of children who daily go through successes and failures at school experiencing joy and disappointment. At the camp, we certainly do not ask how to calculate maths problems, we don’t even expect specific grammatical examples. Our assignments are based on a creative approach that uses a combination of their memory as well as imagination and swift action. This is why we will not miss puzzles and codes both visual and verbal. A language camp naturally lends itself to competitions in English. We want even the weaker ones to experience the joy of success, so we include even less demanding disciplines. Among the most popular for many years has been "Unlock the Code".
ADVENTURE THEME 2019
Both leaders of each group, the native English speaker and Czech leader, organize the program which should togetherentertain and educate, as it is carried out primarily in English. It adapts to everything, from decorations used for leaders’ costumes to the actual concrete activities. Each year SUMMER TIME sees a unique theme, which by its nature evokes some adventure. In addition, one full day of camp is directly dedicated to practically implementing the chosen theme. This year, our adventure will take us BETWEEN INDIANS, and be sure that it will captive our campers till the end. We must comply with the laws of THE INDIAN CHIEF, which are both set in stone and mandatory for all. If it were only about the crafting of the headdress, it would be fine, you would only need to be crafty. But, you must first catch many eagles! Believe it or not, the moody chief’s mind is not controlled solely by one whim. Who knows whether or not he will send us to scale faraway mountain peaks? Traversing scorched deserts laden with cacti may leave us with scratched and bruised in pursuit of our next task. We may also be tasked with a wild canoe ride along a riotous river, constructing a stone fortress on a cliff, or building fireplaces and spacious teepees. Concealing ourselves in the long grasses of the open prairie, we will track a large herd of bison as we prepare forthe big hunt. Hopefully, we will not have to hunt hyperactive groundhogs or encounter an angry grizzly on our bison hunt. Do you dare to fight them with a dagger, or would you rather use a tomahawk?
Hopefully our Chief’s decisions will not be so dangerous, and his mind will not be overcome by dark spirits that would require help from a shaman. Could a shaman free him from this darkness? We will need good leadership as our enemies are already taking out their battle axes. What will be our chief’s most important decision? Mount the fastest steed you can find and go forth quickly on other adventures within our language camp SUMMER TIME.
One afternoon is devoted to a trip to the beauties of South Bohemia. English remains at the centre of our interest throughout the journey. Through games and activities the children are engaged through hearing the English interpretation of familiar local landmarks and other places of interest. As part of the trip, children can look forward to, for example, visits to the historical cellar of the town of Tábor, a cruise along the Vltava River from the castle Zvíkov to the castle Orlík or from Týn nad Vltavou to Podolsko, where our Stádlecký Chain Bridge originally stood. With thrilling anticipation, we may head to the hydroelectric power plant at Orlík, where we can inspect the technology directly whilst in operation, and then sail the wide river by the dam. We have also visited the spa town Bechyně and succumb to the charms of the romantic ruins of the Gothic castle in Dobronice. Successful trips also saw us visit the wonderful view of the towers of the castle Hluboká nad Vltavou with a trip to the zoo, where we were amused by the antics of meerkats; or the royal town of Písek, where we heard the sounds of a Kaplan turbine and admired the oldest public hydro power plant in Bohemia, where on the adjacent island we ate a rich picnic. We have also taken many a romantic selfie beside the water castle Červená Lhota and learnt why its original white colour changed to red.
In 2018, when our camp theme introduced us to deeply hidden treasures, the nearby Chýnov caves provided us with a real-life experience.