Camp Blog

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.

New year. New beginnings.

1st February 2017

Cool things to look out for in 2017 at Camp Suisse and beyond

  • A total solar eclipse for next summer

Next summer, a total solar eclipse will darken the earth on Monday, August 21, 2017. A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partly obscuring the view of the Sun for those of us down below looking up!

Unfortunately, we won’t get to see the eclipse at Camp Suisse, as can only be seen in parts of the U.S.A. Fancy an excursion to Nashville anyone?

  • Camp Suisse and Googles race to the moon.

Google has $20 million prize on the line for three privately-funded teams who reach the moon by 2017. The requirements: A team’s rover must travel 500 meters on lunar grounds and send back high-definition footage.

Should Camp Suisse enter a fourth team? I think our rocket ship challenge could give them a run for their money and the $20 million would be a welcome surprise for our 2017 charity!

  • Airport transfer by ‘The DeLorean’?

Whilst Camp Suisse will be looking at purchasing a new minibus for this summer, the DeLorean Motor Company expects in 2017 to be rolling out a few models of the car made famous by Marty McFly and Doc in the Back to the Future movies.

Maybe we could order one to use for airport transfers! How cool would that be!

  • Don’t bemoan the drone!

Drones are already BIG however in 2017 they are going to become very BIG! Again, that amazing company Google are planning to launch food delivery services with drones! Pizza delivery in Torgon! No way! We love the pizza at our local restaurant Les Caprin!

In any case, Camp Suisse is one step ahead. Check out our drone footage of the hike to the Col du Croix last summer!

  • The biggest murder mystery files EVER go public – JFK

This event could challenge the most controversial of Camp Suisse Murder Mystery Evenings – the release of the files relating to the death of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963.

Tiff and our other staff conspiracy theorists, look out!

  • Good bye El Niño and hello La Niña

2016 thank fully saw the end of the weather phenomenon El Niño, a naturally occurring warming of the Pacific ocean which bring droughts, very hot temperatures and subsequently food shortages to much of Africa, Latin America and south-east Asia.

In 2017, we will say hello to La Niña, a natural cooling of Pacific Ocean waters. This is likely to bring much needed rainfall and cooler temperatures to many areas across the globe. Phew!

When we think about summer at Camp Suisse we always hope for good weather but our challenges with weather really are insignificant to what some people around the world face!

  • The America’s Cup – could we be sailing at Camp Suisse in 2017?

One of the oldest international sporting trophies in history is up for grabs again with challengers looking to topple Oracle Team USA for the America’s Cup.

What better year for Camp Suisse to further develop its water sports programme on Lake Geneva and beyond. Watch this space for new water based activities as we approach summer!

No snow, no worries

2nd January 2017

No snow, no worries. We create our own fun at Camp Suisse. A very Happy New Year everyone. Roll on summer! #campsuisse #campsuisse17



Tags: Staff

Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) Quality Badge.

1st December 2016

News flash…Camp Suisse has recently been accredited with the Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) Quality Badge; a UK benchmark which confirms our status as a provider of safe and high quality educational experiences for our guests.

At Camp Suisse we have always strongly supported the important role learning outside the classroom plays in a child’s education. We understand the significant contribution to improving pupils’ personal, social & emotional development played by learning experiences outside of a classroom setting, as well as the positive contribution to the quality and depth of learning.

To achieve the LOtC Quality Badge Camp Suisse was assessed against a number of Quality Indicators set by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom.

We are continually developing and improving the outdoor educational experiences available to our guests and we look forward to implementing the LOtC Quality Badge across our range of products and programmes in 2017.

If you would like to know any more about the LOtC Quality Badge or our outdoor education, International Award, modern foreign language (MFL) or school ski programmes please contact us via




8th November 2016

Read the latest review on Camp Suisse from NappyValleyNet in London. We really value all feedback from parents and campers – keep it coming!!!

Souvenir book 2016

1st November 2016

We are super-excited to announce that the summer 2016 souvenir book is now available to view and download. Check out what we did last summer in the Souvenir books section of our site! There is a limited edition print run for 2016 participants, email us at

Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award

6th October 2016

A huge “Well done” to all this summer’s participants in our Duke of Edinburgh programme. We were delighted to sign off a number of Residential Projects and to run several Adventurous Journeys during summer 2016 in support of this great organisation that we are very proud to be a part of. #dofe #expedition #campsuisse #goldaward doea_int_proud-to-deliver_generic_rgb

2016 – the Return to Taney!!

24th March 2016

This summer will see the exciting and long-awaited return of Lac du Taney as part of our Seniors’ program.

It doesn’t get any more authentically Swiss or beautiful than Lac du Taney (or ‘Taney’ as it is affectionately known locally).

This mountain lake and miniature paradise is located at an altitude of 1,500m on the French Haute-Savoie Border. Taney was declared a national natural heritage site in the sixties, resulting in very minimal development since.

The visit will involve hiking, rock climbing, swimming, team games, BBQs and chilling with friends in one of Switzerland most beautiful and natural environments. (more…)

Staff focus: Emma W, resort manager

3rd March 2016

As part of our ‘staff focus’ series, catching up with members of Camp Suisse staff, we recently caught up with Emma W and heard all about her exciting new language venture.

Age: 36

Nationality: British

Languages: English, French, Spanish and learning Mandarin and Brazilian Portuguese.

Role at Camp Suisse: Resort Manager

Qualifications: BA Hons French and Spanish

How many seasons did you work at CS: 3 years

What interested you in working for CS: I am interested in languages and travel and decided to see what work was available in other countries. I searched and found Camp Suisse advertised I researched the company and the area in which it is based in Switzerland. I was really impressed with what I found out so decided to apply. A couple of months later I was on my way to Switzerland.

What kept you coming back: Camp Suisse is a really great company to work for, apart from being based in the beautiful Swiss Alps, I really like the company ethos. Julie and Richard are passionate about developing children and young adults through the camp experience. The campers have a great time and it is really satisfying as a member of staff to see how your hard work pays off. The staff also gain from the experience, it’s not only the campers who make friends for life, in fact tomorrow I am heading off to Amsterdam to visit a friend who I met at Camp Suisse! There are also opportunities for staff to develop and really enhance their skills and CV whilst working at Camp Suisse and this is really attractive as an employee.

What are you doing now: I have started a business called The Language Guys; we provide online language tuition in a variety of languages.

That’s really interesting, tell us more: I wanted to combine two interests of mine: my passion for languages and entrepreneurship. The Language Guys aims to modernise the way we learn languages by taking advantage of modern technology. We provide online language tuition via video link, meaning anyone with an Internet connection can learn a language at a time and place to suit them. I believe the best way to learn a language is from a native speaker and this is one of the main features of The Language Guys; we only use native speakers. I also want to make language tuition affordable to all, regardless of social or economic status. I have set up a social project in Mexico through The Language Guys, where I use a portion of the company profits to offer language tuition to people who would otherwise not be able to access quality language education. You can read all about the project on our website

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time: I see myself developing my business further and being able to make more of a social contribution. At present we do our social work with students in Mexico and I would really like to be able to extend this to other Latin American countries such as Colombia, Nicaragua etc. I will still be travelling and learning about new cultures and meeting people from around the world. I will definitely still be learning languages!

If you could have dinner with anyone, past or present who would it be?: This is a really difficult question, there are so many people! I would probably not choose a famous person or poignant figure; I’d rather be taken to a new country and have dinner with a family to learn about their culture. Other than that I’d like to have a big dinner party with all the people I have met from around the world on my travels so I can catch up with everybody!

Some moving words from Thuy at the Chloe Mansfield fund

1st February 2016

Camp Director Julie recently caught up with Thuy Do, mother of Chloe Mansfield and Patron and fundraiser for charity the Chloe Mansfield Fund.

Please take a moment to read here Thuy’s moving and inspirational speech, as given at the ball. There was not a dry eye in the house.

Camp Suisse were so proud to support Chloe’s Fund and fundraise for this cause that we feel inspired by and proud to be associated with. (You can read a brief summary of the history of Chloe’s Fund in our blog article here.

Chloe’s ball was held in summer 2015 and exceeded all expectations. It fully funded the new playroom at the respiratory wing of Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, something of which Chloe’s Mum and all associated with the charity feel incredibly proud of. They will be embarking on a new initiative next year, and we can’t wait to hear all about it.