As far as 10-year-old Mehek's memory goes, she has been picking up some kind of skill since she was five. Her mother and grandmother run various summer programmes and vacations only mean they would be busier.
Chennai is her hometown and Mehek has no qualms of not being able to go to a fixed destination every holiday. “Most of my classmates do not go on a vacation; some enrol in my mom's summer camp. What I like is you learn things in a fun way in these camps,” says Mehek. The family does take short vacations, but it mostly depends on her mother Vandana Kataria's summer schedule.
The traditional summer vacation that included visits grandparents' homes, far away from the hustle and bustle of the city life, is increasingly seeing a change. The reasons range from holiday homework and coaching classes to whether parents would get leave.
Children also seek something new every vacation. V.I. Mukund is in class X in a CBSE school and he has fond memories of visiting his ancestral home in Salem. “I do like visiting such places where people are simple, but I would not like to stay there for more than three days. It should be an experience, but not more than once,” Mukund says.
This time he would be exploring north India with his parents.
Summer camps and sports, in a way, help bridge that gap, say camp managers.
The increasing popularity of such camps is evident as most parents believe that such summer programmes teach a good number of life skills and thus ensures it is continuous learning.
Sapna Dugar, who runs Wordly Wise, says she gets one section of parents, who feel that their child can learn a lot more through the camps. “There are parents who call well in advance to find if the camp schedule is ready and based on the dates they would book tickets for their vacation. This time, I have children who have enrolled along with their cousins, who are on a holiday in the city,” she adds.
It gets expensive and parents may not always get leave, so what most people prefer is a camp,” says Vandana Kataria, assistant course director of Summer Skills, adding that children “learn social skills” too.