Working differently at holiday camp

Enforced but hugely positive changes at holiday camp.


As we approach the October half term, we have been reflecting on the enforced changes we have had to make to our holiday camp provision and despite the challenges, the many positives that have come from it.


During the summer holiday period, we delivered successful Play Create Move, Mini Movers and SLD Soccer Camps at The Elmgreen school. As one might expect, there was a huge level of caution and apprehension about running camp, both from staff and parents. Our experience of working in schools during the lockdown period, was essential in preparing us for the challenges of running camp. We are also part of an Active Partnership of Sports coaching companies and having the opportunity to share practice and discuss the challenges, was invaluable.


A key principle in our risk assessment was and still is, to create bubbles of children, all of whom have to remain within that group for the whole 4 days at camp. This bubble work with just 1 coach for that week and whilst they will see other children and use some of the same spaces, they are socially distanced the entire time. This way of working is very different to our normal holiday camp provision, as children of will come into contact with each other throughout the day, in particular during whole camp warm up and the break times. 


We anticipated the bubble system to be challenging for staff, as the coaches are with the children from the moment they arrive to when dismissed. However one of the highlights for staff was the greater bond and connection they experienced from working with a set group for 4 days. The coaches felt they got to know the children much better and particularly in cohesive groups with similar aged children. Since starting our Mini Movers camp in 2019, we have certainly experienced this.  


The feedback we received from parents (see below) from their children, also supporrted the positive impact of the bubble system. The children coming to camp appreciated having a solid and secure base for their time with us. Much like a classroom teacher does, our coaches provided that security, which was particularly important following an anxious and strange experience during lockdown. For those younger children or those attending our camps for the first time, this was an even more significant. 


My kids have been to a couple of different camps over the years but this was the first time at Moving Matters - they said the staff were by far the best and the range of activities. They asked to go back next summer!


My 8 year old son loved the camp, he enjoyed the variety of activities, liked the staff and came back exhausted everyday - so a win win all round. He’s been to other all day holiday camps and complained that the day felt long but at Moving Matters he couldn’t wait to go each day. I’ll definitely be sending him again.


Communication is excellent and staff try to accommodate whenever they can. Staff are friendly and my boys really look up to them as good role models.


Thank you to the Moving Matters team. My 8 year-old who is normally quite anxious about holiday camps (especially as it was her first time at Moving Matters) had a great time, loved every minute. It was especially difficult this year during the pandemic as there wasn’t much choice but the communication and information was well delivered and I felt she was in safe hands.


We wouldn't have designed camp in this way, we were forced into making these changes due to the Covid-19 pandemic but going forward we will embrace the positive experiences staff and children had at camp as a result.


One of our Moving Matters' values is: We don't stand still


An important aspect of this value, is that we reflect on what we've done and how we've done it, in order to improve. Interesting sometimes how enforced changes, which are often met with negativity, can result in positive outcomes.