Come summer, and people flock to the innumerable categories of classes and camps tailored to fit the vacation period of students for the most part, who would be free for just that short time, who would be looking forward to getting out of the houses to learn a skill or two, to gain many memories and experiences before hitting their usual, monotone routine of schooling, and education. To them and their parents who feel almost equally stressed with them helping their children with everything throughout the ten academic months, these camps and classes are like a breath of fresh air, like a restart button to help them refresh themselves from all the hustle and bustle that just ended on the day of the final exam. Indeed, it is only the moms-at-home who might be eligible for this, as there are many mommies who are high up on the corporate ladder of late, and won’t be able to even greet their kids properly.
In these camps, some might pick up new hobbies every other year, or others may continue a long-running hobby and further improve upon those skills in which they would have lost their touch. The usual categories include sports, arts, and other categories which are almost centered on the first two if actually looked at.
There are pocket-friendly classes, and those that are not, too. But who really cares about that when they are ready to pay what that price in bold letters is stamped across the shiny pamphlet, or refuse the enticing velvety voice of the proprietors of the classes when they try to lure in the potential customers? Though I must add, it is not just the marketing tactics giving rise to the number of people enrolling, but also the desire of the desperate people to join classes to try out something new.
The crux is that no one really cares to notice whether the dough they pay for the classes is actually worth it or not. Furthermore, with the proprietors knowing the amount of people who heedlessly enroll with them, they put in a major clause that the cost of materials required for that particular class has to be borne by the participant. This when protested or questioned, will be given a reply saying the participant should have read the fine print in the pamphlet—which in most cases would be just a star with ‘Conditions Apply’ written, or in the case of having enquired over e-mail or the phone, the participants do not get all their questions answered with half-baked replies to their queries. This is sad business as after all the high expense the participant shells out, the teaching quality at these classes might be poor. True, there are places where teachers sometimes go out of their ways to make sure the participant gets an experience worth every penny paid for. This unfortunately does not happen always, as it turns out to be ‘push the sheep into the pen’ in many episodes.
A new phenomenon has spread across quite virally, thanks to the Facebook wave that’s riding these days; there are perhaps a good number of people who enroll in summer camps just to show off.
One should not ask if these folks attend the classes to gain something new—it is an assumed answer pointing halfway to the negative path. Going to the classes to befriend more acquaintances, and add them to their ever-growing Facebook list is part of many participants’ plans. I overheard a couple of middle-aged women huddled in groups at my swimming camp today, who were enquiring and making a list of those who had a presence on Facebook, and noticed the expansion of this Facebook conversation throughout the line of women on my side. It is a given fact that this drowned out the coaches’ whistles and cries for them to not chat and start kicking against the water.
It is those students who are next in line for the board exams, who are to attend coaching classes in the summer to be exempted from the fun of this venture.
I chanced upon a boy of sixteen who wanted to attend this one summer camp where there is a good food court—he had apparently heard that from a friend who had been there before—and confessed that him being a foodie, he wanted to try out a place with good food, and that he attended the classes not for the skills the camp promises to cultivate in the participant. Hence, while it is educational for some, it is all about enjoyment for most participants in the summer camps.
I am currently enrolled in an eighteen day long ladies-only swimming camp at a renowned sports club far off from my residence, and am to head out tomorrow for the fourth day in. So far, it has been delightful in all aspects. Though I possess prior knowledge of some basic swimming, I wanted to enroll this year after a rather long gap for I see this sport as a way to physically tone myself. Not bragging, this, but let us just hope there is an upsurge of people wanting to hone skills and join classes, and not make a fad of it, and enjoy splashing in the wonderful pools of creativity the summers have to offer.