Knock-on ben­e­fits

Friday - - Inside -

But qual­i­fi­ca­tions and spe­cific skills aside, the gains from a sum­mer camp can be greater still. Yes, your kids will burn en­ergy, get fit, learn phys­i­cal skills, and no doubt have fun, but they will also learn life skills and val­ues. “There have been many stud­ies in re­cent years that have looked at the cor­re­la­tion be­tween be­ing ac­tive and aca­demic per­for­mance and the re­sults are clear,” says Anouar. “Be­ing ac­tive does im­prove aca­demic per­for­mance. The so­cial as­pect is also im­por­tant for chil­dren – sports can have a huge ben­e­fit with team­work, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and con­fi­dence. That con­fi­dence will help chil­dren in other ar­eas of their lives. Par­ents will of­ten comment that their child has be­come much more so­cia­ble since he or she be­gan football coach­ing classes.”

A study of sum­mer camps un­der­taken in the US in 2005 backs this up. Amer­i­can aca­demic Dr Stephen Fine found that a camp of­fers a so­lu­tion to many of the gaps in the cur­rent ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem. “It teaches val­ues such as self-es­teem, team­work and car­ing, ar­eas where ev­ery­one, not just the A-grade stu­dent and the ath­lete, can thrive and en­joy.”

For kids, and par­ents, not sure what sport they’ll en­joy, a multi-sports camp is the best bet as it of­fers a chang­ing diet of sports, chal­lenges and games, giv­ing kids the op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore their own strengths and weak­nesses, likes and dis­likes and try new things.

“Our pro­grammes are not based around sin­gle sports,” says Russ Wil­son Ju­nior of Ju­nior Life Fit­ness, which runs a multi-skills sum­mer camp in Dubai. “In­stead, we fo­cus on skills and games, which de­velop team­work, lead­er­ship, con­fi­dence, co­or­di­na­tion, speed and agility, so kids can take th­ese im­proved qual­i­ties into which­ever sport they choose to pur­sue.”

If your child is try­ing some five dif­fer­ent ac­tiv­i­ties a day (the aver­age most UAE sum­mer camps of­fer) they’re bound to find some­thing they en­joy and it may spark in­ter­est in a sport for life, not just for sum­mer. In fact, re­search* sug­gests that the more phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity spa­ces and ac­tiv­i­ties avail­able within a camp for kids to try, the more ac­tive and in­ter­ested they’ll be and, ul­ti­mately, the more likely they are to con­tinue with one. Th­ese multi-sports camps can, there­fore, pro­vide kids with the kind of ‘take­away’ that health pro­fes­sion­als ap­prove of – a last­ing pas­sion for ex­er­cise. Ac­cord­ing to re­search con­ducted by the Amer­i­can Camp­ing As­so­ci­a­tion, 65 per cent of chil­dren who learn new ac­tiv­i­ties at camp con­tinue en­gag­ing in th­ese ac­tiv­i­ties when they re­turn home.

MPAC Sports Sum­mer Camp of­fers tra­di­tional, mainly Amer­i­can sports, but throws in b-boy dance classes, wrestling and car­dio classes and a class on how, what and when to eat and the ben­e­fits of stay­ing ac­tive. At Haddins Sum­mer Camp in Abu Dhabi, kids can try ev­ery­thing from bowl­ing to boxing, while Ace Sports Acad­emy Sum­mer Camp in

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