Five things to consider when choosing a school camp venue
Choosing the right school camp venue is a decision not to be made lightly. Here are five key areas to consider to ensure you choose a camp that will meet your needs and those of your students.
Focus on your goals
School camps offer exciting new experiences for students to engage in. They also offer an opportunity to cover your curriculum in a different environment. The key is to find a balance that fits the needs of your students. Consider:
- Does the school camp venue align with the values and philosophies of your school?
- What are the specific needs of your students? Can the school camp venue meet those needs?
- What type of environment are you looking for e.g. beach, forest, combination of both?
- What are the skills and ability levels of your students? Do the activities at the school camp venue match these skills or enable you to extend them?
- Can activities be adapted to enable inclusivity?
The all important risk assessment
Risk is a part of everyday life. An important aim of a school camp is for students to step out of their comfort zone and learn to cope in various situations. However, there’s a balance between an acceptable and unacceptable risk. Making a health and safety assessment of a school camp venue is an essential part of the planning. When you visit a potential venue take note of the following:
- Terrain such as uneven ground for mobility issues.
- Likely weather conditions at the time of year for the camp.
- Any hazards such as insects, cliffs, water, sharp objects, overhangs, reptiles, pets, natural disasters etc.
- Hygiene standards – sleeping, food preparation and bathroom facilities,
- Safety standards for equipment.
- First response plan in the event of an emergency.
- Communication system.
- Current accreditation and affiliations with associations.
What’s the bottom line?
Naturally health and safety isn’t something to economise on, however, other factors can determine the cost of selecting a school camp venue such as:
- Is the camp affordable for your school population?
- How far is the venue from the school?
- What is the best / most economic mode of transport for to travel to the camp?
- Are there other attractions nearby that can be incorporated into the camp program?
- Are there any hidden costs e.g. cleaning, staff for night activities, facility hire in the case of wet weather, birthday cakes, catering for dietary requirements etc.
- Do school staff need to attend courses to upskill before attending the camp?
- Are there extra activities available that may require a higher fee?
Ask the right questions
When it’s something as important as choosing a school camp venue, you can never ask too many questions. Here are a few more to consider:
- How are your staff selected and trained?
- What is the staff/student ratio?
- How do you cater for individual dietary needs?
- How are minor injuries handled? Is there a nurse onsite?
- How do teachers best communicate with camp staff before and during camp?
- How long has the camp been operating?
- What facilities are there in the case of wet weather?
- What do other schools say?
Look from a different perspective
After all the boxes are ticked, it’s good to see the venue through other people’s eyes.
Think about the following:
- If I was a student would I want to want to go to this camp?
- If I was a parent would I be comfortable for my child to attend this camp?
- How would you describe the school camp venue to a nervous parent?
We’re here to answer all your questions to help you choose the perfect school camp venue. Shannon, our Camp Concierge is only too happy to assist you by providing all the information you need.