Justine is British with a Danish husband and her four children, although British, have also lived abroad as well as travelling extensively. That makes them a truly international family and gives Justine an ideal point of view from which to judge Camp Suisse’s appeal to families from all around the world.
Hi Justine, thanks so much for talking to us today. Tell me, which of your children have stayed at Camp Suisse?
All four of my children have, at some stage, stayed at Camp Suisse. The first time they all went, in 2009, they were 13, 11, 9 and 6. The following time I believe was in 2011 and my second oldest and youngest attended, then in 2013, the two youngest went. Every year the kids ask to go but often school trips get in the way so make it impossible!
Why did you choose Camp Suisse?
Primarily we were attracted to the language lessons as our children had lived in Monaco for 2 years and attended a French school. It was important to us that the kids kept their language skills going. In addition, as our kids are all very sporty the range of different activities offered appealed to all of us. And finally, the high number of international students attending was of great appeal. Our family is very international and we like our children to mix with kids from all countries. We have always wanted our children to feel that being in an international environment is the norm and to be accepting of other cultures and traditions.
What advantages does it have compared to other camps?
Location was always a great advantage for us and the initial attraction. Once we saw how happy the children were and how friendly the staff were there seemed little point in looking to go elsewhere. As we saw how much the children enjoyed the camp, the reasons we sent them to Camp Suisse became less about just the language tuition and more about the friendliness, location and activities.
What do your kids like about it?
I think they like the camaraderie and activities. They always come back raving about this mentor or that mentor, this child from that country and what fun they had. Fun levels seem to be very high and there is obviously lots of laughter! They also love the outings.
Was the decision to go to Camp Suisse made more by you or your children?
Initially, it was a decision made by us, but all the activities and trips offered by Camp Suisse made it pretty easy for us to ‘sell’ the idea to the kids. After they attended the first year it was almost a given that they would go if they could.
Are your kids going back to Camp Suisse this year?
We’re just now in the process of looking at the summer diary with the kids. Our eldest is now 18 and is just about to contact Julie and Richard about him returning this year as a mentor as he has experience with children and is now a qualified tennis coach, football coach and speaks fluent French, Spanish and English. He has very fond memories of Camp Suisse and has always wanted to return in a mentor capacity. Our second oldest is already booked to do work experience but the two youngest are both keen to return, although it depends how it works out logistically.
Have you got any other comments or feedback that you think would be of interest?
I think Camp Suisse do a great job, hence why my children keep returning in one shape or another!
Camp Suisse is one of the top international summer camps in Europe for teens and younger children. If you would like your kids to get to know children from a range of different cultures in a safe, entertaining and educational environment, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.