This summer, are you going to dump your children or engage them in fun activities?
If that sounds like a runner on a colour advert, it is!
Summer is a time when parents need to decide what to do with their children.
Holidays in Sri Lanka. Or in Coonoor.
Tuitions to prepare for the Board exams of 2008.
Or sign them up for summer camps.
Summer camps are big business these days.
I see them as opportunities for creative people to share their talent. In their neighbourhoods.
Srimathi and Binitha of K. K. Nagar are doing just that in K. K. Nagar. Teachers at a local school, they resigned their jobs but want to continue their association with children.
They started tentatively. With a story telling and reading camp at a small space behind the school where they worked.
Now, they are set to launch their first big summer camp. And they want all the children to have fun.
They know it will not be easy- pleasing parents is tough. Most of them want to know how a summer camp can help their children improve their grades or stand first in class!
But Srimathi and Binita know that the kids want fun and loads of the free spirit too.
I know many other people who look beyond the deals and sponsorships and fees and want to make their camps a wonderful experience for children.
A woman who is passionate about science even sets up makeshift labs and coaxes children to have fun experiments which trigger in them a love for math and chemistry!
As for me, I am sticking to what we do best - get children interested in writing, in journalism.
Encouraged by the fact that two girls who were at our camp have stuck on to report for our newspapers, we have enlarged the scope of the 2007 camp.
Friends Revathi ( who is launching her web site for kids - www.yocee.in) and Satya, a publisher, will now get children to blog from day one. They will blog stories they will do in the field.
There is one idea that has bugged me for some time. I think it stuck with me after I watched a story on an American TV channel.
‘How to Manage Money’ is a camp for kids that a couple run in the USA. It is time we had some thing like that here.
ICICI Bank should hold these in the backyards of its branches. And award cash prizes once a while to kids who come up with bright ideas.
ICICI Bank will want to plug in for their Kiddies Account. Doesn’t matter. As long as the bank does not try and market a credit card for the kiddies!