COVID-19 | Children stare at a dismal summer vacation

A nearly empty Subash Bose Park in Kochi on Saturday.

A nearly empty Subash Bose Park in Kochi on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

Holiday camps go for a toss owing to COVID-19 scenario

Despite getting almost one full extra month than their normal two-month vacation, this may yet turn out to be the most dismal summer for the school-going generation as everything from arts and sports camps to malls and movies looks unviable for the time being.

With the probability of the partial lockdown till the end of March getting extended both in scope and duration increasingly looking real, summer plans of children may go awry.

Chandradasan, founder and artistic director of Lokadharmi Centre for Theatre, has taken a ‘wait and watch’ approach. “We were planning to hold a five-day theatre workshop towards the end of April before SSLC classes begin. But we have decided not to announce the dates and rather watch how things pan out,” he said. Lokadharmi has also called off its three-day annual day celebrations and theatre fest originally scheduled from March 27 to 29.

Noted artist T. Kaladharan also remains indecisive of his annual summer camp planned for the second week of April, with the situation surrounding the breakout of COVID-19 still remaining fluid.

Things are no different for football and cricket camps in the city. Ravi Kumar, an accredited coach who has been holding summer coaching camps for children for nearly three decades, has publicised his academy’s 20-day camp for children at St. George’s High School, Edappally, next month in the hope that things will settle down by then. “Academies and clubs usually conduct camps ranging from 15 days to a month during April every summer. We were expecting more girls to join camps this time, especially with the surge in interest in the game among girls after the national women’s cricket team reached the final of the latest edition of women’s T20 World Cup,” he said.

SportHood, a network of neighbourhood sports centres in Bengaluru and Kochi, was planning to hold three modules of camps running into two, four and six weeks for children aged between five and 15 years at Edappally. “As of now, all our academy sessions for both adults and children remain suspended till month-end, while a call on summer camps will be taken based on the evolving situation,” said Abin Joy, who is associated with the group.

Manu Jose, storyteller and an authority in children’s theatre, is thinking of ways to reach out to children who are forced to remain indoors through new media. “Uploading videos of storytelling sessions and games on YouTube to reach out to children is something I am seriously considering. It’s a given that children staying indoors will be into new media in a big way, and such videos will be one way of positively utilising the scenario,” he said.

Mr. Jose is also planning to encourage a limited number of children in the immediate neighbourhood and from families known to each other to gather in a household to play together, thus utilising the situation to engender a sense of community feeling long lost.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 3:33:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/children-stare-at-a-dismal-summer-vacation/article31071790.ece

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