Summer camps in France

The Evasoleil summer camps are held in Montalivet, by the ocean, in the South West of France. Voir la page summercamps en français.

The Surf camp, Sports and Nature camp, and the multisport camp allow French speakers around the world, from expatriate households or not, to find themselves in an elaborate, rewarding, and educational holiday project.

A summer camp for all children around the world

Evasoleil welcomes “all living children”; it’s inscribed in our educational project. It’s the reality of our camps. Evasoleil ensures that the coeducation of this camp contributes to everyone’s valuable life experiences. Children, coming from various horizons with their own interests and different activity formulae, coexist in this camp. 

Every year since 2008, we welcome children from Spain, England, Germany, Russia, America, etc. and from expatriate families or foreign French families from: Hong Kong, Angola, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, Germany, Belgium, Morocco, Italy, Russia, …

An educational summer camp: our project for the children (and teenagers)

If one takes the time to share their cultural differences, it will contribute to everyone’s life experiences. Evasoleil helps establish these wonderful exchanges, by making it the primary theme of this camp.

Upon their arrival, children are asked to discuss and program their holiday. What they are able to do, what they want to learn, their views on holidays, of their spare-time, etc. Many questions on which they can reflect and exchange on, in order to build their own schedule, where everyone has a say in what they wish to do in each activity. Moreover, they have the option to cancel a meal and prepare one themselves, which could be an occasion for special culinary exchanges, and even have a chance to create cosmopolitan cuisine together. The first evening program allows the finalization of this schedule and to establish different groups of “organizers” for each activity.

During the rest of the week, each day will be split between the activities, the preparation of the activities, the children-assembly, and the room-council.

We need to distinguish between “home-made” activities and service activities. The former offers a greater degree of freedom to the children, like having a direct access to the organizers (others in the group), and therefore, can easily negotiate the time-frames and other modalities. In regards of the service activities (surfing, horseback riding, tree-climbing course, sailing, paddling, …), these are booked before the children’s arrival with our partners, depending on the choices they have made during their enrollment. Therefore, it will be more difficult to change the time-frames and the contents.

The activity preparations will be held by small interest groups. Supported by a counsellor, the small groups create and design their activity for the other children, similar to what counsellors do. Each child will put their individual competences to value, in order to decide on the aim, the rules of this activity, and also to find a location, gather the needed resources, advertise their activity, lead the activity, find partners, etc. The counsellor will help them succeed in each of these steps.

Some elements of the daily camp life need to be decided together in a big group: managing the budget, the activity’s schedule, and the operating rules for the group, all of which are handled during the group assembly. This assembly will allow all children to gather; and come to an agreement about the “community life” at camp. This gathering will allow the children to take responsibilities, to learn how to make consensus, to negotiate, to compromise and to make a decision together.

Finally, there are more intimate subjects and more personal questions that some children need to address, to deliver. That is why the room-council is held every night. In the presence of the “referent” counsellor of the room, this council also allows children to reflect on and discuss about their day and, exchange their points of views, opinions, etc. It’s a sacred moment for every child because they will be able to confess and share with their roommates, allowing the counsellor to help improve the child’s camp experience.

These efforts are made to democratize the process, and for each child to find their place and participate without overshadowing others. Sooner or later, the group will adapt to this process and will be able to help each other grow. It’s an educational and rewarding process for every age. The pedagogy is empowering and favors community life.

The summer camp to create (enhance) encounters in France

Evasoleil brings together children from around the world. The camp is a place of multicultural encounters. Children from France, Spain, Russia, the United States, the West Indies, Mali, Ivory Coast, etc., live together during the camp. By building their holidays together, they can exchange on what they want to do during their stay. Evasoleil camps are devoted to encounters. Here, children do more than just live together, they build the events and organize them as a team. They will not be be able to miss out on the encounters and the cultural wealth.

The summer camp to improve your French

Although this camp welcomes children from around the world, most of them live in France (year-round), the camp is held in a region called Médoc in France, and the staff members are also French. Naturally, French is the dominant language used to organize the group-life. If it generates any kind of difficulties for a non-fluent French speaker: this camp is an opportunity to improve, especially for those who already have a solid foundation. Children meet and collaborate in French. Most of these children make tremendous progress during their stay, by practicing the “common” French, spoken on a daily basis, without actual classes. The appeal of the encounters and of the necessity of the organization represent concrete, practical, and pleasant objectives for the children.

Warning: this is not a language course/camp per say, so if a child does not speak French or does not wish to speak French, they will most probably be unable to enjoy their stay and be uncomfortable during. If the objectives are not understood by the child, the Evasoleil staff, who are always mindful of the children’s welfare, will not be able to deliver them.

Sports et Nature Camp

The Sports and Nature camp is a program comprised of 3 land sports activities each week: a horseback riding activity within the “Les Petits Chevaux” stables, a Fatbike* activity, and a tree-climbing activity. An additional activity, also known as “bonus”, can be chosen from a large selection, once the children arrive at camp. Unlike the traditional sports course, the children will have the pleasure to discover 3 distinctive activities, chosen among sports possibilities, respectful of the environment, and allowing to playfully discover the Aquitaine’s landscapes. 

The bonus session will allow to discover another activity renowned in the Médoc region, for instance: tree-climbing course, surfing, sailing, paddling.

*The Fatbike is replaced by a tour in a farm for the children aged 10 and under. The pedagogical farm “Animalia Parc” welcomes all the animals of the region, of the Landes forest

Surf summer camp

The surfing camp includes 3 surfing sessions and one bonus activity, which will be chosen by the children once they arrive. Thomas BILBAO, vice longboard world champion and his team, all qualified, will welcome the children to defy the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. After 10 minutes of theory and a warmup on the sand, the children will confront the ocean and its waves. They will be able to master the strength of the ocean, stay balanced on their boards and try a few tricks… The children will encounter a force of nature all together, and they will learn that they cannot fight the waves. That there is a need to learn how to compose with and understand the currents to enjoy this element (safely). An enjoyable discipline, with loads of perspectives, in the ocean perfectly adapted to practice this sport. The sessions, although they are pedagogically constructed and enjoyable, can differ, mimicking the changing nature of the ocean.

The bonus session allows the child to discover another activity renowned in the Médoc region, for instance: tree-climbing, sailing, paddling, horseback riding.

The bonus session can also be an additional surfing experience, offering the child a fourth surfing session during the week (a maximum of 8 sessions for a 14 day camp).

Aquatic multisport summer camp

The Aquatic Multisport camp comprises 4 different activities favouring the discovery of the region. Starting with sailing at the Hourtin lake: the perfect occasion to spend a day next to the biggest natural lake in France and to discover how to play with the wind aboard a catamaran. The children will be hosted by CVHM (Centre de Voile Hélio-Marin) with Stefan and his team, all qualified. The children will be placed in groups (crews) of 3 or 4 per boat and will sail for 2 hours, where they will have to be coordinated in order to sail as fast as the wind will allow them. Before getting started with the discovery of navigation and the wind, there will be a theoretical induction.

In the continuation of natural sensation activities, the MontaSurf School team allows children from Evasoleil to discover the discipline of Paddle Board (SUP). Smoother than surfing, this activity allows children to learn how to glide on a private water space, just a few minutes away from the camp. You can expect games, simple techniques, and lovely strolls during this paddle session. 

To meet with the Atlantic Ocean and its indomitable tides, the children will need to ride the waves. After a little bit of theory sitting on the sand and warmups, they carry their boards and leave the shore, to then surf back on the waves or to experience a memorable and pleasant fall in the rough waters. By confronting the ocean, the children can discover themselves and learn how to tame the water. Looking for flexibility, speed, balance and calm, while observing the currents and their strength, the children find the humility facing nature and the joy to be together. They will not become champions in just an hour and a half, but they can rediscover themselves and the nature of the ocean.

This is what is planned for the children before their arrival at camp. Three activities to discover more than one practice.

The fourth? It’s the bonus activity that the children can choose once they arrive. This will allow them to have another surfing session or to experience Fatbike, horseback riding, wakeboarding…

A summer camp from 6 to 17 years old: the differences according to the ages

Between needing a benchmark and a quest for autonomy, the process described above is adaptable according to the age groups, and will also be adapted to each child.

All groups are housed in wooden chalets with 2 rooms (with a washbassin) of 6 each, a room for the counsellor(s) and a toilet.

The summer camp for the children aged from 6 to 10

At this age, it is often the first time that the child leaves their family settings. This can often induce a risky feeling for the child and the parents. To prevent this feeling from progressing into feelings of insecurity, the child will be closely guided by the whole of Evasoleil’s staff.

In order for this discovery (introduction) to be reassuring, the camp is smaller and welcomes a maximum of 24 children, with 3 counsellors and the supervising team. Furthermore, their camp space is located near the supervisors’ office and the common areas, such as the showers, which are reserved for them from 6 to 7pm. They are invited to invest not only in their closed activity areas, but also the common areas, such as the DIY corner or the volleyball court. Breakfast is held between them, in their space and they are woken up at different times, depending on their desires, their needs and their planned activities.

The 6-10 age group is particularly heterogeneous. Each child evolves in his own way. The activities can be programmed and be prepared from the moment they arrive till the very last moment or it can even be totally spontaneous, in order to adapt to each child. All activities demand a minimum of preparation, and they will be accompanied by a counsellor. This is done in order to complement the young organizers’ capabilities: the adults are here to support what the children do not feel capable of putting in place. The counsellors are therefore qualified to identify and to adapt themselves to the capabilities and the needs of each child. They are particularly vigilant to the daily-rhythm and to the organisation of the children’s daily life.

The summer camp for the children aged from 11 to 14

The camp for the pre-teens is an ideal place to enjoy (the) community life, the encounters and all that can be experienced: to exchange with one another, to build an opinion, to achieve an educational project, to negotiate, to organize, to discover other ideas, other sensibilities.

At this age, the children love to participate, to create their own programmes, to participate in the organisation of such activities. In fact, compared to other summer camps, Evasoleil facilitates the children in gaining in responsibility and in participating in most of the decision-making, which concern their holidays.

The children’s meetings work best in this age group. The children participate actively and voluntarily in these meetings.

Every activity that is programmed during the camp is suggested by one or several children. It is then prepared with the help of a counsellor, who will help the organizing children until the activity is held.

The space for this age group is composed of 3 chalets and one activity (common) room, implanted on a well arranged and wooded land: barbeque, ping pong table, hammocks areas, outdoor tables, … Each chalet has 3 rooms: 2 rooms of 6 with 3 bunkbeds, storage spaces for clothes and a sink (for the children); and a room of 2 (for the counsellors or the group’s infirmary).

The group welcomes between 30 to 36 children depending on the dates, during the 2 months of summer.

The children eat during fixed periods, and the meals are prepared by the kitchen team.

However, the children can choose to prepare their own meals, by grocery shopping and cooking it themselves.

This team has 4 counsellors, who are overseen by the supervising team. The leaders of the association will also be present at the camp.

The camp will be prepared by the team, months in advance.

The summer camp for the teenagers

Many teenagers come to this camp, because it correlates with their needs and also because they find a way to be responsible by tailoring their own holidays.

What is special about our camp is that children can meet other children from all around the world: France, naturally but also Spain, the United States, Belgium, Russia, Italy, Eastern countries, China, etc.  

Evasoleil’s educational project is also renowned: make the teenager author of their holidays, to make them responsible.

Teenagers will, as soon as they arrive, be in charge of their schedule, by programming their week (the activities, the evening programs, the outings, camp (group) rules, …). Each teen will be able to organise an activity for the group, to participate in the group meetings, to change and to vote for a camp (group) rule, to manage their budget, to be in charge of one aspect of the community life, to prepare meals, depending on their envies.

The counsellors are qualified to help each teen grow, find their place, make encounters, which will allow them to expand their point of views and their world perspectives.

The teenagers are also, at certain times of the day, free to leave the camp, in groups of threes, being reachable and having the contact details of the counsellor, who is also in town, available and close by.

The 2 teens’ spaces of the camp also have 3 chalets and an activity (common) room, which is specific to the group, on a well arranged and wooded land: barbeque, ping pong table, hammocks areas, outdoor tables, …

Each chalet has 3 rooms: 2 rooms of 6 with 3 bunkbeds, storage spaces for their clothes and a sink (for the teenagers); and one room of 2 (for the counsellors or the infirmary).

Each of the 2 groups of teenagers welcomes between 30 and 36 teens depending on the periods of the summer.

The teenagers eat their meals prepared by the camp’s cooks, but they can sometimes choose to shop for and cook their own meals.

This team has 4 counsellors per group, who are also overseen by the supervisors’ group and the leaders of the association, who are all present on camp.

The camp will be prepared by these teams, months before the summer starts.

 

Translated by Moey Yokota, adherent and counsellor of Evasoleil