Summer camps return to Kochi

After a break of two years, summer camps are back as a boon for children confined to indoors due to Covid pandemic, lockdowns and online classes
illus: express
illus: express

KOCHI: Summer camps are back after a two-year forced hiatus. This time though, the focus is not just on ensuring children have fun while learning but also on improving children’s emotional quotient as a majority of students has been suffering from various issues — psychological and physical — after being confined to home for two years straight due to the pandemic. To achieve this, the organisers of the camps have devised various programmes.

“The past two years had been difficult for children, parents and teachers alike. Kids became introverts and many forgot the art of interacting with others. Their world was confined to gadgets. Online classes and the fear of contracting Covid added to the pressure,” said Sunil Kumar C R of Illam, Eroor, who is organising a summer camp.

He said the drop in daily cases and the lifting of Covid curbs have come as a boon for the children.
Sunil said he had to turn away a large number of applicants after registrations became full. “Unlike other camps, ours are open to children from LKG to Class X and is soaked in culture and traditions of Kerala. The aim is to get children to experience various art forms, literature, games and music that are slowly disappearing and are endemic to our state,” he said.

Various schools in the city are also organising summer camps. “We aim to get students reacquainted with the school atmosphere. We have come across instances where they were reluctant to come to school. This reluctance might become a problem when we reopen in June,” said Belinda Vivera, vice-principal, Greets Public School, Kaloor. She said the month-long camp will help students enjoy school. “The response has been overwhelming. Registrations crossed the 100-mark and so, we divided the camp into two segments — sports and kiddies,” she said.

Other camps are also seeing large number of registrations. Coho Earth founder Deepak Michael said Covid adversely affected the emotional quotient of children. “It seems they have lost confidence when it comes to interacting with others. Our camp aims to build their confidence level,” said Deepak, who has conducted several such camps in New Zealand and other countries.

Parents too are relieved by the return of summer camps. “It has been a tough two years for my kids and me. With no option to play outside with their friends, they were forced to pass time through computer games. It was a struggle to ensure children kids do not spend too much time on gadgets. The return of the camps is a blessing. Children will get to interact with their peers and take part in activities that will boost their mental and physical health,” said Thara Abraham, mother of two kids studying in Class IV and VII.
Psychologist Dileep Varkey said summer camps will immensely benefit kids who became introverts.

Human beings grow through interaction and communication. They realise their dreams, hopes and ambitions by interacting with their peers. However, the pandemic disrupted this,” said Dileep.
“These children, who have been using gadgets constantly, have lost the ability to interact. Summer camps will help them regain this ability. The children will also regain emotions like compassion and empathy for fellow beings. Unlike in computer games, where the sole aim is to win by killing the opponent, at camps, children will learn the importance of helping others,” said Dileep. He said the camps will also help them learn discipline and be a part of society.

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The New Indian Express