By Ada Leivada
While Christmas isn’t here yet, it’s still never too early to start thinking about Summer plans, especially for those of us who must arrange long and expensive flights for the whole family. And it is definitely never too early to start thinking about signing your kids up to a Greek-language summer camp. For those of you who are still in doubt, here are just a few of the numerous benefits which prove that spending time at Greek LoL’s summer camp is a great idea.
Friendships and Social Skills
Speak to any one of the children who participated in the Greek LoL Summer Camp last year. While some will talk about horse riding and how much they loved all of the activities in which they took part there, all of them will mention the Greek friends they made and the bonds they created.
“Can’t wait to see Alexandro from the Cayman Islands again,” says nine-year-old Konstantinos from Greece. Those two boys developed a great friendship last summer. Konstantinos is fluent in Greek while Alexandros was a complete beginner on day one.
“For us it felt like Konstantinos was more of a full-time teacher to Alexandros, and he actually was; showing Alexandro how to write, asking him to repeat words, helping him with his language tasks — it was amazing,” says Stella Bompotsiari, the founder of Greek LoL Summer Camp.
It is true that kids take social risks by approaching and making new friends on the first day, and while this might feel a bit uncomfortable, they soon become more independent and they receive a real boost in their self-esteem. Plus they go through a fun experience together and make memories which bond them for life.
Like Zsuzsi from New York says, “When your child leaves a camp crying because they did not want it to end… you know that they created memories for a lifetime. Our kids can’t wait to go to the Greek LoL camp again in summer 2020.”
Fitness and Health
Don’t get us wrong, we do love technology and all the amazing perks it comes with. However, kids nowadays do spend much of their time being physically inactive.
A summer camp is the perfect way to awaken a child’s natural craving for physical activity.
Through activities which feel like movie adventures, or like treasure hunts, kids who take part in summer camp have the chance to use all their senses and muscles and spend a few weeks in nature becoming fit and active. And who knows? Maybe this will inspire some of them to remain active during wintertime as well.
Like Ektor, 14, who lives in London and also spent his summer at the Greek LoL Summer Camp last year. “I love horses, and it was awesome that we went horse riding almost every day. I even had private lessons included in my camp fee which is very expensive to take in London. Loved it!”
Or consider 13-year-old Greek-language camper Anna. “It is so difficult to convince a teenage girl to stay physically active once she decides she does not want to do it anymore, so I was so happy when Anna told me that she spent a lot of time playing volleyball at the Camp. What made it even better is that she decided to join a club back in London,” says Nelly, Anna’s mother.
Connecting with nature
When was the last time your children spent a day of learning in the natural world? Summer camps give the opportunity to kids who spend most of their year in front of screens to spend a few days closer to nature and being physically active.
While we do love our computer screens, a break is always beneficial. Especially when this break means learning Greek, in nature, while participating in activities such as climbing, archery, swimming, dancing, and arts and crafts in between classes.
We talked with Zsuzsi, who lives in New York with her Greek husband and their twins, Gabi and Alex, who said “Living in a big city like New York means that spending time closer to nature is always a special occasion, so we loved the idea of our twins spending time in Greek nature, doing outdoor activities for 13 days!”
Authentic Language Learning Opportunities
The aim of any language summer camp is to provide students with the opportunity to produce and hear authentic language in an immersive setting. Attending Greek LoL Summer Camp means that your children will be speaking or hearing Greek all day in class — but most importantly out of class as well.
They will hear authentic dialogue between native Greek speakers, they will have to express themselves in Greek to ask for something, they will play in Greek with native Greek children and by the end of their stay they will be more confident in spoken Greek than you could ever imagine!
Alexander and Gabi’s father Alex, who is a Greek physician living in New York City, told us how amazed he was by his children’s improvement in spoken Greek. “It seems like their Greek self has emerged all of a sudden, I am so happy and proud.” After attending the Greek LoL camp, his children would order food, buy tickets, and even ask for directions with ease.
There are an almost endless number of summer camps for kids but if you want your children to improve their language skills you need to search for just the right place.
Pavlos Ksinas, the co-founder of Greek LoL Summer Camp, says “Parents send their kids to Greek school or Greek camps but if they do not interact with Greeks and if they are not exposed to Greek 24/7 they eventually end up speaking English the whole day.”
Kids really do need to have fun and enjoy themselves in the summer, so if this is combined with a fun learning experience, what else can you ask for?