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“The Happy Child” Charity Foundation has, for the last four years, been organizing walking tours, excursions and outdoor camps for orphans and children from large, low-income and asocial families from the Zaporizhia region.
We would like to share our experience in this article. Hopefully, it will be useful for our colleagues who are also developing some active types of children’s outdoor holidays.
Advantages of Outdoor Camp comparing with Hiking:
- There’s an opportunity to invite many guests as well as to set up workshops and training courses;
- One may take (and should) various sports equipment (such as balls, tennis, hula hoops), toys and workshop equipment;
- Outdoor camp suits children who, due to their poor health, cannot take part in any hiking trips;
- Outdoor camps are good for children with special needs;
- One can invite journalists to the camp;
- Outdoor camps are often (but not always) a cheap alternative for children since they are usually situated close to home and they are not as costly as walking tours in the mountains.
Disadvantages of Outdoor Camps:
- One should thoroughly arrange a camp program so children do not get bored (since there is no time to feel weary during hiking as young tourists are always on the move, exploring places. In the case of an outdoor camp the camp site is fixed and this can make some children feel fed up).
- It’s important to choose the right camping site with drinking water, firewood, a place for washing, cooking meals, playing football and other outdoor games;
- It’s rather problematic when it comes to receiving official permission from local authorities and the Sanitary and Epidemic Control Center enabling the setting up of an outdoor camp (since there are no clear regulatory documents controlling outdoor camp activities and state officials may cavil at everything). Sometimes such outdoor camps are registered as walking tours which makes it impossible afterwards to apply the necessary requirements for outdoor camping;
- Outdoor camp preparations are usually complex and time consuming;
- Such camping excursions require a lot of money for transporting guests. Water is also a significant cost. Needless to say, investigating suitable camp sites also costs money.
One cannot say for sure that an outdoor camp is better or worse than hiking. These two kinds of holidays can both greatly benefit children and bring organizers a great deal of moral satisfaction. The most important thing is to arrange such outdoor activities carefully, taking into account all the possible issues which may arise at any time and also care about children’s psychological state as well as keeping in mind the main aims of the project.