Saranya Agarwal, a 12-year-old from Worli, cannot contain her excitement these days. She is heading to Switzerland in May, her first-ever vacation without parents.
Saranya, along with some of her classmates, will climb rocks, skate on ice, ride horses and even participate in extreme adventure sports such as rappelling and paragliding in the Alpine country. “I am looking forward to these adventure sports. I would be on my own for 15 days. My parents explained what kind of adventure sports we would take up there and I was immediately hooked,” said Saranya.
Summer camps that were once held on school campuses are now being held out of the city and, some like this, even beyond borders.
With activities such as river-crossing, trekking, white-water rafting, kayaking and snorkelling, tour operators try to attract teenagers. Some of these activities even have curious and catchy names. One such is Tarzan Swing, where a person jumps over obstacles dangling from a rope.
But there is more to these camps than just adventure sports, claim operators.
“Children pick up life skills and values through such group activities, besides having a lot of fun,” said Charuta Bapat, manager of Nature trails, a tour company that organises camps around Mumbai.
Parents, who have sent children on such trips, agree. “My son picked up skills and learnt good habits at the camp,” said Dhwani Mehra, who sent her son to Koyna dam last year.
Parents believe such trips distract children from non-stop computer gaming, which would otherwise be their main summer activity. “Children are addicted to computers games and apps. These camps have activities that children cannot indulge in, in Mumbai,” said Anushka Mitra, a parent.