Ben Prior talks to us about getting teenagers active and social while having fun during the summer holidays

As a dad to two teenage children, I know how hard it can be to find suitable summer holiday activities. That’s what inspired me to create Varsity Summer Camps. The 10-16 age group aren’t really catered for in the holiday camp market, and they usually opt to stay at home if their parents let them. I wanted to strike a balance where parents just like me are given peace-of-mind and know their kids are safe, and where the children actually want to participate.

Getting teens out of house and away from screens can be tough. Running until August 14 near Begbroke, Varsity Summer Camps are a place where older children can try out activities like zorbing, fire-making and motor buggies, as well as making friends from around the world.

As far as I’m aware, these are the only camps of their kind. We have designed them to appeal to older children aged between 10-16, putting them in charge of their own agenda. With a combination of active and creative options to choose from, I really believe we have hit a sweet spot with the young teen market.

Our aim is to combine fun and socialising with learning new skills – there is an incredible variety and children partake in different activities each day. Teens decide whether they want to try something new or do more of something they love.

The activities include fencing, wilderness cooking, “mocktail” making, T-shirt design and air rifle shooting– what parent doesn’t wish they could have had these options in their holidays growing up? Mobile phones and screen time is certainly not missed.

We also run the camp alongside Varsity International language school, so it offers a unique cultural experience too. Children meet children from countries all around the world. A range of full day excursion options to attractions like the London Eye, Thorpe Park and Roman baths are also available.

Essentially, we wanted to create a culture which really revolved around older children. Between 10-16 they are developing their independence, and it’s important they have the choice to decide how to spend their time. We provide a social environment, and they have control over the rest.

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