Camp Blog

How to keep your loved ones entertained, inspired and active over the summer holidays – Camp Suisse Day Camps

12th January 2018

Here at CS HQ, we are very excited to announce the introduction of our Day Camps for summer 2018. It is now even easier (and cheaper) to enjoy the Camp Suisse experience on a part time basis.
Whether it is for a morning, afternoon or a full day, you can sign up for a wide range of activities under the expert guidance of Camp Suisse staff and have the opportunity to mix with children from all over the world.
As with the well-established residential program at Camp Suisse, the aim is to help our campers build confidence and learn new skills in the safest possible environment. Our team has spent many years developing an Alpine Adventure activity programme that is second to none at our beautiful location in the mountains of Torgon.
Guests learn new skills and sports, participate in outdoor pursuits and adventures, learn or improve language skills, explore Swiss culture and, above all, make new friends.

Camp Suisse Day Camps
Camp Suisse Day Camps are available for anyone between the ages of 5 and 17 and are ideal for working parents looking for childcare and for families visiting Switzerland looking for amazing activities for their children whilst exploring the local area.
As an accredited ‘Adventuremark’ provider, we are proud to uphold the highest standards of safety. Expert guidance is provided at all ability levels by experienced activity leaders, qualified instructors and coaches. Activities include language classes, mountain biking, climbing, baking, navigation, sports coaching as well as many others. The camp is English and French speaking with language courses available in French, English, German or Spanish. Last summer we were proud to welcome youngsters from over 35 countries to our truly international environment.
If you are looking for something different for your youngsters this summer an escape to the mountains could be just what they need. With the option to do the occasional overnight stay as required, the Camp Suisse Day Camp is the best of both worlds. Pick up and Drop off at Aigle available (full days only).

Camp Suisse Day Camps
Day Camp Prices are 60 CHF per half day including lunch with discounts available for 5 days or more and free transport to and from Aigle station. To find out more contact info@campsuisse.com or call us on +44 845 5191031.

Parlez-vous français ?

10th January 2018

Introducing…. our French immersion camp in Switzerland!

Could there be any better place than the Swiss mountains to learn French in an fully immersive context?

We are really proud to offer a French immersion program for our campers that want to learn French quickly in a busy, fun, stimulating environment.

Our amazing French-speaking team provide incredible opportunities to maximise campers’ exposure and learning of the French language: including classes, daily routines, excursions and evening activities! Our immersion techniques are adapted to the ability level and the age of our campers to enable them to improve their French at their own level.

In addition to the standard Camp Suisse programs, participants on the French Immersion Program undertake an extra 3 hours of language tuition per week as well as an additional French cultural excursion, usually to one of the French local markets in Evian or the Abondance valley.

The team’s goal is to help our campers grow in a French speaking bubble without feeling like they are at school. With that aim in mind our teachers design stimulating and fun classes, along with various opportunities to learn French with French movies, game boards in French, sports in French…

The idea is to allow our summer campers to be stimulated in French all the time but in a lively and interactive way.

A bientôt !

 

IMG_2889Elsa Martin, Language Team Manager

Happy Holidays

19th December 2017

December is a busy month all over the world. For many, Christmas is celebrated on the 25th December and for others, celebrations such as St Lucia Day or Hanukkah are the main focus of the festivities. We have compiled a few different ways to celebrate this month.
St Nicholas Day – 6th or 19th December
Usually celebrated in early December, St Nicholas Day is a popular occasion made up of gift giving, parades, feasts and festivals. A popular tradition is to place shoes in the foyer before bedtime.
Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe – 12th December
Catholics from across Mexico and other countries pay pilgrimage to the Basillica of Guadalupe in Mexico city to see an authentic image of the Virgin Mary. Children are dressed in traditional costumes and are blessed in churches. Since it is a happy day for all Mexicans, food and drink are enjoyed by everyone, and many people will save up their money throughout the year for this special occasion.
St Lucia Day – 13th December
Celebrated predominantly across Scandinavia, St Lucia Day is held in honour of the woman said to have been one of the first Christian martyrs in history. Traditional candlelit processions take place with the eldest daughter dressing as St Lucia in commemoration. Parents are served Lucia buns, coffee or mulled wine by their children as part of the celebration.
Hanukkah – Starting on the 12th December
Also known as the festival of light and the feast of dedication, Hanukkah is observed by lighting a candle each night on the traditional Menorah. Dating back two centuries, Hanukkah is celebrated by Jewish communities across the world.
Christmas Day – 25th December
Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, who Christians believe is the son of God. Most commonly, the celebrations involve decorating houses with Christmas trees, an exchanging of gifts and the notorious Christmas dinner, typically made up of a roast turkey. It is the one day of the year where almost all shops, restaurants and doctors surgeries close to allow people to spend time with their family.
New Year – 31st December
For most, the 31st December celebrates the last day of the current year. Celebrations are held throughout the evening, with a countdown to bring in the new year. As the clock strikes midnight, fireworks are set off and well wishes for the new year are shared amongst friends and family.
This is just a handful of celebrations held across the world, with many more bringing families and friends together. At Camp Suisse, we feel very lucky to be surrounded by so many different cultures, each with their own traditions and special days. We hope wherever you are and whatever you do with your friends and family this December that you have a wonderful time.

Camp Suisse Christmas Logo

All Different, All Equal – Anti-Bullying Week

21st November 2017

Although there is no legal definition for bullying, it is usually described as behaviour that is repeated and with intention to cause hurt, either physically or emotionally. It can range from teasing and name calling, to threats and physical assault and in this digital age, cyberbullying.

This week is Anti-Bullying Week in the UK, and as at Camp Suisse we firmly believe that every week should be anti bullying week, we think it is really important to raise awareness for the prevention of bullying.  This week the UK Anti-Bullying Alliance has been supporting schools throughout the UK with a range of free activities that will help pupils to create safe environments and to take action to prevent bullying.

One of the major aims for Anti-Bullying week is to empower children and young people to celebrate what makes them unique. Children should feel valued and able to be themselves without fear of being bullied. Another key goal is to increase awareness, not only for bullying, but also for equality. Anti-Bullying week will take place in schools throughout the UK and will allow students and teachers to celebrate difference and equality and to talk about what makes us ‘all different, all equal’. Students will be encouraged to take action to prevent bullying by creating safe environments where everyone feels comfortable being themselves.

At Camp Suisse, we are very proud to welcome children from all over the world. Each child brings their own story, their own culture and their own personality. We celebrate difference, and we love learning from all our campers.

Remember to be kind to one another.

The Camp Suisse Team

Souven-here!!!!

1st November 2017

The long-awaited summer 2017 souvenir book has been released! Download your copy here and don’t forget to drop us an email (info@campsuisse.com) to let us know what you think!

 

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Drum roll…….Kings and Queens of Camp Suisse 2017!!

8th September 2017

Each camp session our fabulous staff team carefully select one camper to be crowned the King or Queen of Camp Suisse. The prize for this prestigious award is for the lucky camper to return to Camp Suisse the following year as our very special guest.

The award acknowledges someone who contributed wholeheartedly to the Camp Suisse experience, making the most of the opportunities presented to them, having a positive impact on the people around them whilst promoting our core values of family, friendship and cultural awareness.

We are very proud to announce our Kings and Queens of Camp 2017:

Session 1 – Diego P (Colombia)

Session 2 – Lewis M (Scotland)

Session 3 – Aesha H (Qatar)

Session 4 – Mika B (Switzerland)

We look forward to seeing these inspirational campers at Camp Suisse for more adventures in summer 2018!

2017 in review….

After a ski season in the Alps last winter with less snow than we may have wished for, it was great to put away our skis in April and start welcoming schools and groups from all over Europe for a taste of the Camp Suisse outdoor education programmes and residential class trips in May.

By the time we started the first of our international summer camps in July, the beautiful summer sunshine had well and truly arrived in the Alps and the Camp Suisse team was a well-oiled machine, delivering outdoor educational and adventurous activities of the highest quality to our campers.

This summer we welcomed campers from 37 different countries spanning 6 continents. From Australia to Albania, Canada to Cameroon and Peru to Poland, the cultural and ethnic diversity of our camp is something we are very proud of and will continually strive to encourage and broaden.

After 15 years the Camp Suisse programme continues to evolve and lead the way as a uniquely personal, great fun, safe and pedagogic experience. This summer we introduced paddle boarding on Lake Geneva for the first time and revisited some of the old favourites such as the Caillers chocolate factory and the Parc Aventure high ropes course.  Creating an activity programme that is flexible and adaptable is of paramount importance to us; when there was no snow left on the glacier in late July and August for husky dog sledding we introduced the Snow Bus and Canirando activities as new and alternative adventures for our glacial experience.

Summer 2017 will go down as another great summer at Camp Suisse with fantastic campers and an amazing staff team who are completely dedicated to the safety and wellbeing of the campers in our care.

Post-summer we had the pleasure of welcoming campers from far and wide onto our autumn residential programme for international schools, which takes place down the road from our Torgon site in the beautiful village of Champéry. Autumn was a huge success with campers and teachers alike benefiting from mountain adventure sports, field education and outdoor pursuits with the usual Camp Suisse flair.

2018….. what is to come?!

Well in the winter we have the Olympics in Pyongyang (of course). Camp Suisse will be offering pedagogic ski and winter sports camps to its international school clients – and in the summer more fun and adventures at summer camp which we are already excitedly planning and building towards.

Amongst other things, next summer will see the launch of our French immersion programme as well as further development on our entire language course offering. The French immersion programme will involve campers undertaking their activity programme and excursions as well as the general camp life in French with our French-speaking staff and teachers.

We will also be introducing more water sports on Lake Geneva in addition to looking at different options for our overnight expeditions for older campers.

Keep in touch :-) Julie & Richard

Swiss is the life

12th June 2017

There are views that take your breath away, and then there are the views that surround Suisse Camp here in Torgon.

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Just your average view in Torgon

 

When staff find time from our exciting and busy schedule looking after campers, there’s nothing we enjoy more than exploring our incredible home! Last night a group of our hard workers went for a tranquil evening stroll to soak in the surroundings. As you leave the camp, you encounter the sleepy outer fringe of the small town and come across beautiful holiday homes and chalets nestled in the mountain sides. If you stray from the beaten track, you’re then rewarded by an impressive suspension bridge that will take you to a beautiful lagoon and wooded walk that runs along the stream. It’s safe to say, we enjoyed ourselves and that Swiss life is the life!

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Our impressed staff soaking in the mountain view next to camp

Home away from Home

10th June 2017

Recently, we spoke to some of our dedicated and passionate staff in order to discover more about their experience at Camp Suisse. Our favourite ever Head of Housekeeping, Jodie, has generously described her thoughts and opinions on both working at the Camp, but also the importance of foreign travel and experience.

My mom always tells me that I’m running away from the ‘real world’ when I inform her that I’m going back to Switzerland for the summer… yet again. I always reply by saying to her that she’s right. More than anything I think she just misses me when I’m not there, and of course I miss her, but moving away from home and venturing out into the unknown is the best and scariest thing I’ve ever done.

It all started at 16 when I spent a month in Borneo, then at 18 when I interrailed across Europe, and finally when I applied for a job at International Camp Suisse. I was offered a job and I accepted. The idea of living 1100 metres up in the Swiss Alps was exciting and nerve-wracking. I couldn’t wait to be living in a different country, in a place I’d never been, and with people I didn’t know. But at the same time, all those things of course scared me. I would be living far away from home in a brand-new environment with people I’d never met, and what would I do if I didn’t get along with any of them? I didn’t even speak French.

So many questions and worries ran through my head, and I had no answers. I had a right to be anxious, as anyone does when trying something new. The nerves and hesitations stayed with me up until the moment I stepped onto the minibus that would take me to Camp Suisse, with a handful of the people I would be spending the next three months with. Almost instantly, all the things that were stressing me before, and all the worries I had, vanished. I was laughing and talking and joking with people I’d known for less than a day, and I couldn’t have been happier. I suddenly felt free and grown up and as if the world was mine for the taking. I learnt that those who do season work are very like-minded people. They are all adaptive, hard-working, funny individuals; who can always make the best of any situations they are presented with.

Now, I find myself on my third season with Camp Suisse, and loving it more than ever before. I’ve learned how to pack light, how to get on with the things that need to be done, how to catch up with my family and friends during those small times when I’m free and have WIFI, and how spend every moment enjoying the small as well as the big things that life away from home presents you with.

Over my time, I’ve met some of my best friends. Those who have been just like me, and completely different. I’ve learned how to take care of myself, from remembering to do my laundry to cleaning my room regularly. However, the one thing that I will say that I have learned the most from living away from home is valuing and using my independence. For example, understanding what is a good and what is a bad decision, and learning when to go to sleep at a reasonable time. It’s putting some money aside in order to save for the next adventure I want to go on. It’s remembering to brush my teeth because, in the end, the dentist is quite expensive. It’s saying ‘yes’ to things that I want to do, without fear of what others will think, or letting silly things hold me back. It’s also about deciding not to decide. When I tell you that my mom always says I’m running away from the ‘real world’, I mean it when I respond that I am. How I grew up, the ‘real world’ is getting into a full-time job as soon as possible, settling down and saving up for a house in a quiet neighbourhood. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with any of those things, and maybe one day I will want them to, but for now I want to explore and experience the world, and work tough jobs for short times and move on to the next part of my journey and not decide. I don’t need to know the destination of the journey, and I don’t think that matters just yet.

So, I say ‘yes’ to coming back to Camp Suisse because it is different every year, and it allows me to wake up each morning with a breath-taking view come rain or shine. I go to work with inspiring people, and I come back most of all in some strange way because it feels like home. And so even though my mom wishes I would come home and join the ‘real world’, I guess I already have. My ‘real world’ is the one where I’m burdened by the choices I make for myself, like waking up for the 5 am glacier shift, and catching a ride back up the mountain in time for work. I’m not burdened by the choices that others wish I would make, like finding a nine to five job and paying bills, or trying to settle down.

The most settled I am, and want to be for now, is when I return to Camp Suisse and see the old faces as well the new, never knowing what to expect, but knowing that I am in fact home. It’s just a home that breaks the conventions of the society I grew up in, and a home that allows me to be free in creating a life that I want for myself. Eleanor Roosevelt said that “the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”, and boy, do I have dreams.

The origins of Outdoor Education

6th March 2017

German visionary Kurt Hahn was one of the early pioneers of outdoor education. He was an insightful educator, an influencer and leaves a legacy of expeditionary learning concepts that have been incredibly influential over the years.

Hahn’s values included “concern and compassion for others”, “the willingness to accept responsibility”, and “concern and tenacity in pursuit of the truth”.

From his work, and that of other educational leaders, ELOB (Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound) schools were born, along with ten key expeditionary learning principles which are invaluable today in describing what it means to foster a caring, adventurous school culture and approach to learning.

The primacy of self-discovery
“Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.”
― Lewis Carroll

Learning happens best with emotion, challenge and support. We discover our abilities, values, passions, and responsibilities in situations that offer adventure and the unexpected. The primary task of a youth development professional should be to help youngsters to overcome their fears and importantly to challenge their self belief (facilitate the discovery that they are capable of more than they thought). Eg with tasks that require perseverance, fitness, craftsmanship, imagination, self-discipline, and significant achievement.
The having of wonderful ideas
Building on children’s curiosity about the world by creating learning situations that provide matter to think about, adequate time to experiment, and time to make sense of what is observed.
The responsibility for learning
Learning has to be both an individual process of discovery and a social activity. We learn both individually and as part of a group. Learners should be encouraged to be responsible for directing their own (personal and collective) learning.
Empathy and caring
Learning is fostered best in communities where students’ and teachers’ ideas are respected and where there is mutual trust. Small groups may facilitate this, with a caring adult looking after the progress and acting as an advocate for each child. Older students should mentor younger ones.
Success and failure
Everyone needs to enjoy some success if they are to build the confidence and capacity to take risks and meet increasingly difficult challenges. But it is also important to learn from failure, to persevere when things are hard, and to learn to turn disabilities into opportunities.
Collaboration and competition
Individual development and group development should be integrated so that the value of friendship, trust, and group action is clear. Students should be encouraged to compete not against each other but with their own personal best and with rigorous standards of excellence.
Diversity and inclusion
Both diversity and inclusion increase the richness of ideas, creative power, problem-solving ability and respect for others. It is beneficial for students to investigate their different histories, cultures and talents as well as those of other communities or cultures. Learning groups should be heterogeneous.
The natural world
Direct respectful relationship with the natural world teaches the essential ideas of recurring cycles and cause and effect. Students will learn to become ambassadors of the earth and of future generations.
Solitude and reflection
We need to explore our own thoughts in time alone. Individuals should make their own connections and create their own ideas. We also need time to exchange reflections with others.
Service and compassion
“We are crew, not passengers”. It is important to prepare youngsters with the attitudes and skills to learn from and be of service to others.

Kurt Hahn founded Outward Bound, the Duke of Edinburgh Award, and the United World Colleges and played a key role in shaping the evolution of outdoor education for schools and youth groups for many decades to come. His ‘six declines of modern youth’ including “Decline of Fitness due to modern methods of locomotion [moving about], Decline of memory and imagination due to the confused restlessness of modern life, the decline of skill and care due to the weakened tradition of craftsmanship and the decline of self-discipline due to the ever-present availability of stimulants and tranquillisers” still resonate with youth leaders today.