Rough It Up!1 Jun 2012
Holidays are approaching and it’s once again time to organize something fun to keep your child away from the video games—a trip out of town or a summer class?
Holiday camps and classes are popular in Malaysia and the types offered vary; those of the arts form include writing, speech and drama camps, while the back-to-nature category includes stays at the orang asli villages on trekking camps.
The ones in the sports arena are aplenty—parents who have dreamt of breeding a dream soccer team or looking for something that requires a dash of extra courage are in luck.
If what you’re looking for is something different and exciting for your kids this holiday, why not test the waters and try scuba diving? Kids Scuba offer family-oriented classes that could be enjoyed by the whole family, focusing on parental bonding and family time.
Kids Scuba conduct the PADI Seal Team program for children eight years and above, introducing them to exciting activities like wreck diving and underwater photography. Parents and teenagers who are interested to join can opt to sign up for the PADI Junior Open Water Diver course and the PADI Open Water Diver Course to join their little ones in the water.
Syed Abdul Rahman, director of Kids Scuba, explained that the first part of the PADI Seal Team program, consisting of five AquaMissions, teaches the basics of diving such as buoyancy control, mask clearing and regulator recovery.
After mastering the foundation of diving they will be able to move on to part two which consists of specialty AquaMissions like fish identification and night dive.
School holiday scuba camps are organized for PADI Seal Team students and their families three times a year at various marine parks and islands such as Pulau Tioman, Pulau Redang, Pulau Lang Tengah and Pulau Langkawi. Campers will have a chance to scuba dive at the shallow reefs up to a maximum depth of five meters.
“During the scuba camps the dive is always the priority (for the children)! Without fail, the kids will be asking me every minute once we reach the island,” said Syed.
The dives will be followed by a marine education video presentation every night after dinner to educate the campers and their families on the marine ecosystem and coral reefs. Kids Scuba believes in educating divers to respect and conserve the marine environment at an early age by getting them involved with conservation projects.
Syed shared that the since the camp’s inception in 2004, he has seen hundreds of child divers grow into responsible teenagers with a deep appreciation for the marine life and ecosystem.
“Some of the students have gone to colleges and universities taking up marine related courses like Marine Biology, Marine Science, Marine Engineering and Oceanography.” “For me, the hundreds of kids and teens students we have trained are the future generation of divers. It is up to us to educate them and give them the right values and skills to appreciate ocean life and the marine
Riders Lodge is the place to go for all horse-whisperer wannabes. Agnes and Sennett Tzinberg, owners of the lodge are passionate about horse riding, and their passion is infectious. “Learning horse riding means being able to communicate with the horse in different ways to get the horse to follow the rider,” explained Agnes and Sennett.
“It also means learning to follow instructions and concentrate on riding improvements. In addition this teaches early leadership and commanding respect from a large animal by effective communication - at early stages they will experience firsthand that respect is a very important value at all times.”
The summer camps are a fun way to instill important soft skills in children; by learning to interact with other children with similar interests, mastering a discipline of skills and taking care of a horse, the camps will facilitate in developing early independence and self confidence.
Campers will have access to over 3.5 hours of mounted riding lessons throughout the camp with hands-on sessions on track. As with any animals, care for its welfare is very important and they will be educated on how to care, feed, groom and exercise a horse. A typical camp day would begin with breakfast at 7am followed by sessions on how to care for horses, tacking up and saddling and then it’s riding time.
The riding classes are recorded on camera to be used for later clinics with the horse riding coach. Children get to feed and groom the horses before lunch at noon, and then an hour of riding to work on their basics, manage their riding and advance from trotting to cantering.
Their hard work will be rewarded with an afternoon break of snacks, feeding the horses and even a dip in the Jacuzzi. Later in the night they will get to watch the recorded videos of them riding with their riding instructors for some constructive comments before giving a final check on the horses and retire to bed.
Over the years, Agnes and Sennett have seen proud progresses from their campers, with some moving on to pursue successful studies in horsemanship in the USA, as well as veterinary in Australia and Singapore—“their love for the sport and horses is home grown at Riders Lodge,” they added.
Malaysian Waterski and Wakeboard Federation
Water skiing has been gaining some profile for the past four years ever since the inception of the Malaysian Waterski and Wakeboard School as well as the extra boost in media coverage from the 2011 SEA Games as the Yoong family of prodigy athletes—Phillipa, Alex and eight year old Aaliyah—took home four gold medals.
Aaliyah Yoong became the youngest gold medalist of all sports in the history of the SEA Games, and if you fantasise seeing your child swish in the waters with as much flair as little Aaliyah did, the Malaysian Waterski and Wakeboard Federation (MWWF) offer weekend classes and packages for families. Children as young as four years old can begin with kneeboards, and at five or six they are ready to ski or wakeboard.
According to Hanifah Yoong, Executive Secretary of MWWF, children from age six onwards are easy to teach, usually achieving successful results within two to three lessons. If your child is not ready to take the challenge, the coach will start them on tubing first and train them to be comfortable in the open waters.
Land training and water comfort training have to be completed before the student is towed behind the boat, where a driver cum coach as well as a dedicated coach will keep an eye on the student’s progress. MWWF’s crew are thoroughly trained in coaching, boat driving, life saving and CPR skills.
Typically, students will be exposed to two sets of 15 minutes rounds in the water during the morning with an hour’s break in between. Training will resume after lunch with another two sets of 15 minutes in the water, this time separated by a two hour break.
When asked if there was any prerequisites for children who wish to join the classes, Hanifah said the only requirement was that the student has a strong determination to ski. “Our students are comprised of 75 per cent who did not know how to swim and became proficient in open water even without life jackets after a year or less in the sport.”
“They learn special skills in an extreme and lifestyle sport but more than that they learn to be comfortable in vast open water without the need to wear goggles and this is vital for survival in water born emergencies.” There are students who progress to take up coaching, boat driving or boat maintenance as a hobby, and Hanifah added that some “later on learn to be inducted into the hospitality industry, for waterski is not only a sport but a tourism product.”
Little League Malaysia
To spend the days doing nothing but playing football could fulfill many children’s dreams– and if your child’s dream is to play football, then look no further than Little League Malaysia (LLM).
LLM has been coaching school teams since 2000 and regularly holds holiday camps running from three to four days for children aged three to 16.
Each day begins with a warm up, and of course footballs are involved to keep the children from getting bored too quickly. Andy Johnston, General Manager of LLM, shared that Day 1 of the camp would be structured to work on dribbling and close ball control, while the second day would focus on striking of the ball.
Day 3 is set aside for competitions to put the skills they have learnt into practice. On the fourth and final day, there will be a mini-tournament and the session will end a little early to make way for a small prize giving ceremony.
“Football as a general activity is superb for developing social skills outside of sports,” Andy explained. “Fair play and sportsmanship run right through the very roots of Little League Soccer and all of our sessions are based on these values.”
“The camps in particular are very good at developing teamwork and leadership qualities as we play a lot of mini games that all require advanced social skills to be successful at. The kids quickly learn that they will win a lot more by working together.”
The camps are carefully designed to alternate between fun mini-games and serious skill-based drills, enabling children to absorb as much information as possible over the course of a three-hour session without feeling burned out. Andy remembered that the first sports camp ran by LLM had been a challenge as the football company had to pull together eight different sports in conjunction with the football program.
LLM has since held three sports camps with a great variety of sports including rock climbing, horse riding, tennis, badminton, basketball, swimming, golf and bowling. Scuba diving, horse riding, water skiing and football camps are perfect for children who are keen on adventure with a lot of rough play and tumbling involved. If you are still hung up on how to entertain your children during the holidays, sports camps are certainly the way to go.
For children who don’t like being outdoors, Camp5 offers indoor climbing facilities that are just as exciting as being out in the open waters or riding on horseback. Basic courses include Taster Sessions, Basic Wall Courses and, especially for the young ones, the Cicak Club.
Dragonfly Art Cotttage
221 Jalan Maarof, Bukit Bandaraya, Bangsar, KL
Tel: 03–2095 1597
1st Floor, 17-1, Jalan Putra Mahkota 7/6C, Putra Heights, Subang Jaya
Tel: 03–5191 8005
Lot 1302, Kebun Sedenak, Kulai
Tel: 07–652 5512
Malaysian Waterski and Wakeboard Federation
45 Jalan Seri Putra 1/4, Bandar Seri Putra, Bangi Kajang
Tel: 03–8926 1054
Little League Malaysia
Lot 116B 2nd Floor, Jalan Burhanuddin Helmi, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail
Tel: 03–7710 6101
5th Floor, 1 Utama Shopping Centre, Bandar Utama Damansara, Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03–7726 0410
K-8-6 Block D, Plaza Damas Jalan Hartamas 1, KL
Tel: 017–3708 920