Re: Happy Camping!
- From: "chalky" <gslchalky@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: 20 Jul 2005 02:40:43 -0700
Stephen Rainsbury wrote:
> "Ewan Scott" <ewanscott@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
> > Let's see. Your camp clashed with family holidays.... and lost out. No big
> > surprise there. If most parents are like many I know with full time jobs
> > they can have to select their holiday time as much as a year in advance,
> > sometimes are lucky to get what they want.
Holidays in the uk have changed dramatically over the past couple of
decades. Very few firms now have a fixed annual "shut-down" for a
couple of weeks in the summer. That's a throw-back to the 1950's and
before. I recall working for a firm up in Warrrington that used to have
a shut-down in summer for a 2 or 3 week period when they would do
repair, rebuild, maintenance work on parts of the plant (such as
furnaces) but that ended back in the 1980's (when the furnace processes
Most people now have somewhere between 20-25 day (4 or 5-week) flexible
holidays. Most is still taken to a roughly standard pattern: 1-week at
Xmas, 1-week at Easter, 2-weeks in the Summer (July/Aug), and (for
those on 25-days) 1 week taken in odd days spread throughout the year.
(Those on 20 days take shorter times off at Xmas and Easter to build up
their week of odd days).
Increasingly with flexible working practices there are people now that
have flexi-months off plus as there are also many more part-time
workers they too have more flexible holiday arrangements.
There is now really no standard holiday pattern. The days when Camp was
always (for many) the first week of the school holidays because dad and
or mum were still working are fast disappearing. That week now tends to
be the main week that starts the family holiday.
Many more families are taking longer summer holidays with 2 or 3 -weeks
being the norm now not just 1 or 2-weeks. In fact many more families
are now taking 2 holidays (often abroad now that travel there is
relatively cheap) in the year!
You also have many more clubs and planned activities, some run by LEA's
to make use of the empty schools in the summer.
There's a lot of competition out there!
I would say that unless your group has a fixed tradition of Camp going
back a relatively long way you will find it hard to compete.
Alternatives have to be looked at. Whit/half-term at the end of May is
becoming more popular, and will be even more so now that groups have
only up to 14 year olds and there isn't the problem of GCSE's. And of
course there's Easter. It's also less "competitive" towards the end of
the summer holidays in late August but there you have the problem of
framilies meeting the cost of Camp especially if they've just spent a
few weeks abroad. I know of some troops who have Camp in the October
> Due to the local Nazis in the education department next tear our schools
> will be on a six term year and our kids will only get 5 weeks off in the
A friend who is a scouter and who works in the LEA won't like you
calling him a NaZI! :-)
20 LEA's are piloting a 6-term year starting next school year. These
are: Bath & NE somerset, Bristol, Derbyshire, East sussex, Glos., Kent,
Lincs., MEDWAY (yours I believe), newham, NE Lincs, N Somerset, Oxon,
Reading, Rotherham, Rutland, S Glos, Swindon, W berkshire, Wilts,
Windsor & maidenhead.
For Medway the dates are:
Start Term 1 = 01-Sep-05
Start Holiday 1 = 24-Oct-05
Start Term 2= 31-Oct-05
Start Holiday 2 = 19-Dec-05
Start term 3 = 03-Jan-06
Start hoilday 3 = 13-Feb-06
Start term 4 = 20-Feb-06
Start holiday 4=03-Apr-06
Start term 5= 19-Apr-06
Start holiday 5= 29-May-06
Start term 6= 05-Jun-06
Start holiday 6 = 26-Jul-06
Most of the other triallists have similar dates.
There are lots of things in favour of this arrangement. There are lots
of good arguments against!
> To make things worse they are now aggressively perusing the policy
> of refusing kids time off school during term time to go on holiday and
> fining the parents.
That is a policy many LEA's are adopting nowadays. The policy is to
allow up to 2 weeks off during term time to accomodate those families
who had difficulty in arranging holdays or child cover during the
normal holiday period (e.g. baecause mum or dad had fixed holidays out
side of july and august). It was meant to be an exception not a rule,
however, many now see it as a privilege and a chance to take the
opportunity of beating the higher holiday prices in the main holidays
as well as the crowds.
While unauthorised absences (truancy) are a problem still in many
schools, authorsied absences are growing ever more, much more than
those beyond sick days, funerals or visits to the dentist, doctor,
hospital, etc. for which they really were intended. Some figures I saw
some months ago (forget where so cant check on their veracity) show
that actual school attendance in late June and july was down to some
> This makes arranging dates damn awkward
Its a competition now! either compete or change your dates.
> The last week includes a bank holiday so that could be a parental favourite,
> so we are probably best going for the first week and finishing on Friday to
> give the families maximum choice of which week.
No one really knows what impact the new 6-term year will have so a lot
As its only a relatively small number trialling this option I would be
fairly sure that holiday/travel companys will stick to their
traditional pricing system. Hence one would expect that families in
6-term year LEAs will generally look to take the family holiday when
the schoolls are out (in the 6 holiday periods) and when these also
fall outside of the peak holiday/pricing season. You would expect to
find the peak season reducing and more load being shifted to other
times. Many more might get away in holiday 4 and then again for a week
in holiday 5 (and tag on a week authorised absence to the latter). Who
> Oh but hang on!!!
> All of the group kit will be out this year for the first time in ages, all 6
> patrol tents, dining shelters, all the lights and all the cookers, because
> there will be over 30 of us on site.
> So when can the cubs go?
Some other time obviously! (Or maybe you need more equipment!)
> They did an opinion survey the school holidays, the majority wanted to keep
> things the same as now, with 6.5 weeks holiday, but we were over ruled as
> somehow it saves money, I have no idea how, but you can bet your bottom
> dollar that the last people to benefit will be the actual school kids.
Actually many surveys showed support for a 5 or 6 term year. (CTCs
already have a 5 term year which is popular).
There are pluses and minuses wherever you look.
I think these days you have to be a little more imaginative about
timing Camp and what Camp should actually be.
Its very difficult to sell to some young people the idea these days
that a week in a field in "sunny" wales or the lakes is so much better
than a week in disneyland or on the beach in the med or the canarys or
Our culture on holidays is very much strongly focused on a family
holiday and very unlike other countries such as north america where
sending the kids away to camp is very much a tradition (but the people
there also tend to get fewer holidays and not the 25-days or more we
get over here so camp is a ncessary childminding exercise for them in
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