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Staff Focus – Activity Leader Rosie

10th March 2015

Name: Rosie

Age: 26

Nationality: British

Languages: English & French

Role: Activity Leader

Qualifications: BASI Level 3 (ISIA) Ski, BASI Level 1 Snowboard, SPA (climbing), CTC Trail Cycle Leader (mountain biking), Level 3 Mountain Safety, Summer Mountain Leader (trained).

 

Summer 2015 will be Rosie’s sixth summer as a staff member at Camp Suisse. After joining as Group Leader back in summer 2010 Rosie has developed into a key member of the Camp Suisse team; a strong leader amongst her peers and much loved by all the campers. Whether its running rock climbing sessions, leading groups on the glacier or dancing the night away at the Camp Suisse disco, Rosie’s tireless energy is very much appreciated by everyone at Camp Suisse.

Why did you start to work for Camp Suisse?

After spending much of my life in the Lake District in the UK and the French Alps, I was looking for something to do in the summer that incorporated my two passions; working in the outdoors and working with kids and teens. It seemed like the perfect fit.

What brings you back each summer?

No two summers are ever the same. Camp Suisse, the programme and the people are constantly developing and evolving and I like the fact I am part of something that just keeps getting better and better. Each summer I further develop my skills, gain more experience, meet new people and get to work with kids and teens in a truly inspiring environment.

What are you looking forward to this summer?

Well, apart from seeing the familiar faces back at camp again obviously, the new look Juniors’ and Seniors’ programmes are very exciting. I think giving the Seniors more freedom to enjoy the activities they want to pursue can only be a positive thing. I am also looking forward to further developing some of the activities, including the girls’ climbing night, as well as my people management skills with the Activities Team. Hopefully I will also be ticking off my Summer Mountain Leader assessment too before the summer has ended.

What do you do to fill the winter months?

Believe it or not I am in my eighth season as a ski and snowboard instructor at the Ecole Suisse de Ski right here in Torgon. I love this part of the world. I find both the summer and winter roles really complement each other. Over the years I have gained a really good understanding of the area, the environment and the conditions, the activities on offer and of course the people. This all comes in really handy.

And the future…?

Who knows? I do know that it involves working with people in the outdoors. In this day and age of endless technology I love sharing my passion with young people and getting them involved in a healthy, active lifestyle; whether it be skiing, climbing, mountain biking or just a walk in the hills. There is something for everyone in this part of the world regardless of skill level or experience. I still have some qualifications I want to obtain to further develop my skill set and my ability to work with groups in the mountains. This week I have the pleasure of teaching a disabled group to ski and I absolutely love it!


Separate Junior and Senior Programmes at Camp Suisse

This summer (2015) will see the introduction of separate Juniors’ (ages 7-11), and Seniors’ (ages 12-17) programmes during the same camp session at Camp Suisse. Separate programmes will enable us to continue our commitment to the watchful and dedicated close supervision of the younger campers, while allowing the older campers to have greater personal responsibility in their day-to-day camp life.

The Juniors’ programme will still have small group sizes of 5-8 campers and be a closely supervised journey through the Camp Suisse experience. We will continue to strive to meet the individual needs of our young campers; ensuring they have the trip of a lifetime with us in the safest possible environment.

The Seniors’ programme will still also be divided up into age specific groups for their day to day activities as early adolescents (ages 12 – 14) and our oldest campers (ages 15-17). With more distant supervision, the Seniors’ programme will allow older campers to explore their talents and grow as young adults amongst friends.

The early adolescent programme (ages 12 -14) has been created to find the right balance between allowing campers who are more proficient in certain activities to flourish whilst allowing the less proficient to still be nurtured and educated.

The Seniors’ programme for our oldest campers (ages 15 – 17) is all about taking on more responsibility in their day-to-day camp life, acting as leaders and role models to our younger campers while challenging them in a safe, structured environment.

You can read more about the separate programmes here.

The Camp Mentor Programme

Calling all past campers aged 16-18 – we still have spaces for this summer’s Camp Mentor Programme!

This is a development programme aimed at ex-campers aged 16-18 who, after experiencing life as a camper, would like to take on more responsibility at Camp Suisse.

The Camp Mentor Programme starts at pre-season staff training week (28th June 2015). During this week mentors will undertake a large majority of the staff training, including orientation and induction courses, basic first aid, activity and leadership training, the Camp Suisse ‘Child Protection’ qualification and more.

Once our young campers have arrived for the session, our mentors will leap into action alongside the rest of the team. Duties include assisting Group Leaders and Language Teachers with their daily routines, supporting staff with activities, helping with campers, and learning about the inner workings of day-to-day life at Camp Suisse.

Camp mentors can look forward to gaining first-hand experience leading and assisting younger campers in activity sessions as well as invaluable work experience in a professional educational environment. As with all our campers and staff alike, we are committed to developing leadership skills as well as teaching new hard and soft skills.

Mentors have the opportunity, where appropriate, to assist with language classes and to work with our younger campers contributing positively to their pastoral care, welfare and to their enjoyment at camp, and sharing their own experiences from their time as a camper.

If you’re an interested past camper aged 16+ you can apply for our mentor scheme. For more information please contact us via info@campsuisse.com.

Camp Suisse brings education to the mountains

19th January 2015

International Camp Suisse is well-known for its school holiday summer camps, but did you know that the camp also opens its doors to school groups from mid-May to the end of June?

 Schools all over the world use Camp Suisse’s perfect combination of Alpine location and excellent facilities to offer students the opportunity to study and enjoy a wide range of outdoor pursuits at our purpose-built centre.

Whether it’s brushing up on language skills, getting hands on with the unique geography and geology of the Torgon area or learning teamwork and useful life skills such as map reading and how to use a compass, Camp Suisse can be the perfect end to a long school term.

Students stay at Camp Suisse with their teachers who work closely with the knowledgeable camp staff to ensure that each camper gets to enjoy everything that Camp Suisse has to offer as well as boosting their learning by bring subjects like glaciation, European history and languages to life.

Roger Federer ‰- a real Swiss sporting hero

31st December 2014

Switzerland is an amazing country with a proud history. It has also been home to some remarkable people over the years, one of the most celebrated right now being tennis ace Roger Federer. He represents many of the Swiss people’s best qualities, so this month we’re shining a light on Roger Federer and exploring how he reflects the values we hold dear at Camp Suisse.

Early Years

Roger Federer was born on the 8th of August 1981 in Basel, Switzerland near to the French and German borders. His father, Robert, is Swiss, while his mother Lynette is originally from South Africa. Roger therefore has both Swiss and South African citizenship, a perfect example of the coming together of different cultures that happens every day in Switzerland and is one of the main purposes behind Camp Suisse.

Federer grew up in various towns around the Basel area and, because Switzerland is a multilingual country, he learnt to speak Swiss German, Standard German, French and English fluently from a young age. This ability to communicate in different languages is one of the reasons Swiss people are so welcoming to visitors from around the world. The language classes we run at Camp Suisse are designed to give our campers the ability to broaden their cultural horizons by allowing them to more easily engage with people of other nationalities.

Sporting Achievements

A tennis fan from an early age, Federer’s first major success came in 1998 when he won the boys’ singles tournament at Wimbledon aged just 16. He has since won 17 Grand Slams, more than any other men’s singles player in history and holds the men’s singles records for time spent as the world’s number one ranked player (302 weeks) and longest unbroken streak at the top (237 weeks).

Federer won the Olympic gold medal in doubles partnering Stanislas Wawrinka at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games and the Olympic singles silver medal at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. Currently ranked the world number two men’s single player, Federer hasn’t been outside the top ten since 2002. He has won more prize money than any player in history, taking home over $80,000,000 and is widely considered to be the greatest tennis player of all time. He recently finished the 2014 season in style by clinching the Davis Cup for Switzerland for the first time in history.

Sportsman and Family man

In spite of his strong competitive streak, Federer is well liked and respected by both fans and his fellow players  having won the  ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourite Award a record 12 times (from 2003-2014) and the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award (voted for by his fellow tennis professionals) a record 10 times (from2004–2009 and 2011–2014). Federer is a perfect example of how one can be a real winner while still showing great sportsmanship.

In 2009 Federer married fellow Swiss national Mirka Vavrinec, herself a former professional tennis player. The couple have two sets of twins, girls Myla and Riva born 23 July 2009 and boys, Leo and Lennart born 6 May 2014 and still live in Switzerland in the town of Bottmingen in the same area where Federer grew up.

Sports and activities are a big part of the program at Camp Suisse. We are one of the top summer camps for teens in Europe offering a huge variety of sports and outdoor activities, as well as language classes, cultural trips and much more. To find out about the range of activities and learning opportunities we offer to our campers, feel free to give us a call on +44 845 5191 031 or email us and we will get back to you.

Camp Mentor Program at Camp Suisse

11th December 2014

What is it?

The Camp Suisse Camp Mentor Program is a development programme aimed at ex-campers aged 16-19 who would like to take on a certain level of responsibility at Camp Suisse.

How did it come about?

The mentor programme started back in 2010 in response to growing demand from parents for older campers to return to camp as employees. Whilst our recruitment policies would prevent us from offering paid employment to a youngster under 19, we felt that these young people who had first hand experience of CS and who had matured and developed within our systems had a lot to offer the young campers in our care.

What’s involved?

Camp Mentors are highly valued members of the Camp Suisse team and start their journey at the pre-season staff training week. Mentors undertake a large majority of the staff training, including orientation courses, basic first aid, activity and leadership training, the Camp Suisse ‘Child Protection’ qualification and more. The training period at camp is an exciting time to learn and to discover new skills,  as well as to meet the many new people who make up the Camp Suisse experience.

Once our young campers have arrived for the session, our mentors leap into action alongside the rest of the team. Duties induced assisting staff (mainly Group Leaders) with their daily jobs, supporting staff on activities, helping with campers and learning the inner workings of the day-to-day life at Camp Suisse. Our mentors have a unique insight into the operations of camp and can sometimes act as a bridge between campers and staff.

Who should apply.. and how?

To be a Camp Mentor requires the same qualities as expected of Camp Suisse staff: energy, maturity and flexibility, team players with a positive attitude toward both staff and campers. This is the very reason that the programme has been strictly by invitation only to past campers who we believe have made a positive contribution to camp life during their time at Camp Suisse.

An interested ex-camper aged 16+ can apply for the mentor scheme and would provide a letter of motivation outlining why they were interested in the scheme and what contribution they expect to make to the Camp Suisse team. Once accepted at this stage, parental consent is established and dates finalised. (Maximum eight weeks.)

What does it cost?

The scheme is payable, but at a much reduced fee, around £2000 / 3000 CHF for a maximum of 8 weeks. This fee represents a contribution from parents towards accommodation, food and activities.

What do our mentors get out of the program?

Camp mentors can look forward to gaining first-hand experience leading and assisting younger campers in activity sessions as well as invaluable work experience in a professional educational environment. As with all our campers and staff alike, we are committed to developing leadership skills as well as teaching new hard and soft skills. Mentors have the opportunity where appropriate to assist with language classes and to work with our younger campers contributing positively their pastoral care, welfare and to their enjoyment of the camp, even sharing their experiences from their time as a camper.

For more information about the mentor program or any other events at Camp Suisse please contact us via info@campsuisse.com.

The Charitable Causes we Support

17th October 2014

Enriching the lives of our campers is one of our core aims here at International Camp Suisse. One of the ways we do this is by encouraging them to get involved in raising money for various charities. Each of the causes we support has been carefully picked, either due to a personal connection with the camp or for its relevance to the children who stay with us.

Andrew Woinarski School Foundation

Andrew was a close friend of our camp director, Richard Young, and had a keen interest in helping children in underdeveloped areas across Asia where he spent a great deal of his time. The foundation set up in his memory works with different charities to help build schools for young children in remote and underfunded areas.

Working in partnership with the charity Child’s Dream, the Andrew Woinarski School Foundation has funded six schools that now educate nearly 750 students across Thailand, Laos and Myanmar.

Suranna’s Stepping Stone

Suranna’s family have a long association with Camp Suisse, with her grandfather having been one of our very first employees having volunteered with us on the very first summer we opened!

Suranna has Cerebral Palsy Diplegia (CPD), which prevents signals from brain being transmitted correctly to the legs of those with the condition. Those affected are unable to walk unassisted, but a revolutionary operation only available in the USA offers the chance to significantly improve the symptoms of people with CPD.

Unfortunately, the NHS don’t provide funding for this, so Suranna’s family set out to raise the money from sponsorships and charitable donations. We were happy to play our part in the fund-raising and are thrilled to report that the necessary target has now been reached!

Joining Jack

At just six years old, Jack Johnson is still a little younger than our youngest campers, but he’s already living with a terminal illness – Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). DMD affects roughly 1 in every 3,500 boys, making it one of the world’s most common fatal genetic disorders. It is a muscle wasting disease that usually starts to affect children at around the age of 5, leaves most patients reliant on a wheelchair by the time they are 12 and generally results in death by the age of 30.

When Jack’s parents found out about his diagnosis, they decided to set up a charity to help raise money for Jack and others like him, to put towards researching effective treatments for this devastating and incurable disease.

Juan Condori

Juan is a young man living in Bolivia who we have been sponsoring for over 8 years through the charity Plan UK. As well as offering financial support to Juan, we also swap letters with him and send him regular gifts.

To find out more about the causes we support, the ways we raise money for them and how you can help, please get in touch by sending us an email or calling +44 845 5191 031.

Be the Next Byron and Get Inspired at Chateau de Chillon

9th June 2014

There’s more to Camp Suisse than all our fun outdoor activities and language lessons, we’ve got loads of great cultural excursions too. One of which is the Chateau de Chillon in an amazing location on the shores of Lake Geneva at the foot of the Alps. The scenery is absolutely stunning and there is loads to learn about its history and connection to the arts. Read on to see what it’s got in store.

History

The site of the chateau has been occupied since the bronze-age and has gone through many changes over the years. Back in the 12th Century it was home to the Counts of Savoy, which marks one of the three major periods of influence on the castle. The Bernese then took over the castle in 1536 and used it as a fortress, arsenal and prison for over 260 years with many structural changes taking place to optimise the castle for the latest advances in weaponry.The castle then entered the final Vaudois Period after the Vaudois Revolution in 1798 which initially saw the castle used as a place to store gun powder, weaponry and prisoners before being renovated in the Romantic Movement. It was then that Chillon began to attract the artists and writers that made the castle famous.

Poetic Past

It was Lord Byron who really put the castle on the map with his poem ‘The Prisoner of Chillon’ about the sufferings of François Bonivard (1493-1570). François found himself in prison due to his opposition to the Savoyards but was eventually set free by the Bernese and is now a symbol of liberty.

Exhibitions

Chateau de Chillon continues to inspire artists and so they host an exciting array of exhibitions to keep its rich history alive. Up until October 2014, you can see the spooky exhibition ‘Portraits of Ghosts’ where painter Hugo Bonamin shares his portraits of the artists that have been influenced by the Chateau over the years. You’ll see lots of the old masters such as Turner and Courbet and of course it wouldn‘t be complete without a portrait of the talented Lord Byron.

If you’re looking for European summer camps to broaden your child’s cultural horizons, take a look at our website to find out about all the other great sporting, cultural and language activities that we offer at Camp Suisse. Or give us a call on +44 845 5191 031 to find out more.

Who else wants dinner?!

28th April 2014

Eating good food is integral to staying fit and healthy. We couldn’t expect our campers to fit so much into their days if we weren’t feeding them enough! We have a lot of experience now in finding the optimal balance between healthy and tasty food and we try to make sure that no-one goes away hungry.We try to accommodate all nutritional requirements, so if you have a special diet please do let us know in advance. For more information on what we serve, three times a day, please do read on:

Breakfast

We set you up for a busy day with a big hearty breakfast. By the time you’ve left the canteen you’ll feel fully refuelled and ready to go. We have a healthy selection of cereals, coupled with yoghurt and a selection of fruit to accompany your cereal or to have alone. If all of that were not enough, we can also offer toast with a range of spreads, as well as boiled eggs. All of our breakfast choices are low in fat and salt and are designed to keep you going throughout the morning. You will have a busy, exciting day ahead of you and we need to get you energised ready to face it all!

Lunch

Come lunch-time, we’re all looking for some tasty treats. Our kitchen can offer a wide variety of choice and we aim to please all of our campers. We have jacket potatoes filled with either beans, cheese or chili con carne; paninis and sandwiches with a large selection of fillings. We can also offer a salad bar and a pasta bar as well as our famous hot dogs. If you are out and about on an excursion you will enjoy a packed lunch of sandwiches, muesli bars, yoghurts, fruit and maybe even some of that world famous Swiss chocolate!

Dinner

Dinner is usually served in three parts. We have a range of starters to whet our campers’ appetites. Our selection of starters ranges from soups to hummus to some really delicious gnocchi. For main course, we change the menu every evening and we always lay out a vegetarian option. We like to maintain a healthy element to all of our meals and we try to keep really unhealthy foods out. In addition, all of our main meals are complimented by an unlimited salad bar. When it comes to dessert, we can offer fruit salads, banana bread, choc ices, upside down cakes, banana splits – the list goes on!

More Info

By this point, you might be getting hungry just thinking about some of the options we have waiting for you at Camp Suisse this summer. We are a children’s summer camp based in Torgon, Switzerland and we look after the all-round health of our campers. For more information on our camp, why not check out our FAQ page or call us on +44 845 5191 031.

Days Out with Camp Suisse: Montreux Jazz Festival

Campers who attend Session 1 or 2 of our two-week programmes with get to visit the 48th Annual Montreux Jazz Festival this year. Set on the shores of Lake Geneva, the Montreux Jazz Festival is a world-renowned celebration of music that showcases some of the best established and emerging musicians from all genres.

Although our Session 1 and 2 campers won’t be able to see any of the headline performances, they will have the opportunity to spend an evening soaking up the atmosphere in the free section where plenty of brilliant musicians perform. Who knows! We might even get to see the next big music superstar!

A Day at Lake Geneva

Our evening trip to the Montreux Jazz Festival is usually combined with a great daytime activity that all of our campers get to experience, regardless of which session they attend! We normally end up on Lake Geneva itself and get to enjoy the fast-paced experience that is a banana boat ride as well as a large grassy beach with a private swimming area that leaves us with plenty of space for all sorts of fun and games. If the weather is unkind, we visit the brilliant Aquaparc, with super-fun rides and slides guaranteed to get the adrenaline pumping! Check out the fun here!

An Evening of Jazz

After the fun of the lake, we then head into Montreux to watch some of the free shows and have a stroll around the stalls in supervised groups. The part of the festival that our campers will attend has loads of free live performances from up and coming acts, giving children the experience of a musical extravaganza set in beautiful Montreux.

Although the free programme has yet to be released, you can check out who’ll be performing and the free acts that campers might be able to catch on the 4th June 2014.

Not to Worry 

If you’re unable to book a place on either Session 1 or Session 2 not to worry as there are still plenty of great activities for our campers throughout the rest of this season’s sessions, and most of our sessions involve a trip to Aquaparc!

If you’re interested in what other excursions Camp Suisse offer, then why not check out our Cultural Trips page. For more information about our camps, or to book a place, get in touch via our contact us page, or give us a call on +44 845 5191 031.

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