The end of the mid-year examinations seems to be a joyous season for young school-going children. Although summer’s spectacular climatic changes are not as profound here as in other parts of the world, the August vacations speak of good times and a lot of adventure for most kids.
The John Keells Hotels events calendar had a blip that meant it was time for yet another Summer Camp at the Cinnamon Lodge. A meticulous program put together and a short advertising blitz had thirty-five rooms booked up with 55 children spanning ages between 6 – 16 years ready to attend the camp.
Chitral Jayatilake, who heads the events team and his crew were all geared for this momentous event, where a lucky bunch of children were to experience a combination of events that are educational, challenging and loads of fun.
The camp began on 26 August where 55 children registered at the Lodge while their folks took a well-deserved break during the summer holidays. The national anthem echoed with pride, after which Chitral and Harshana (a professional trainer) announced the rules, and they were off, the fourth camp at the Cinnamon Lodge since it commenced operations three years ago.
Games and a pool session also had Dr. Neluka conducting a short drama lesson with the kids and after a quick freshening up; dinner had all participants sitting out by the campsite watching Karate Kid. There was no doubt that Drake (young Will Smith) in the movie with his techniques inspired a few in the outdoor audience. Then it was time to light the campfire followed by toasted marshmallows and hot chocolate served by the chef.
The second day began with a yoga session followed by high tempo Zumba aerobics, much to the delight of the children. Soon afterwards, they were boarding three coaches on their way to Pollonaruwa for a treasure hunt. Set amidst our ruins resembling remnants of a glorious past, kids answered a set of questions, learning the history and details of the monuments in the process. At the end of the morning session, as the heat was getting in to the children, an ice cream bicycle appeared with an all-you-can-eat offer!
Back at the Lodge, after lunch, it was time for dance lessons. This year the organizers had celebrity dance instructor Kevin Nugara train the kids for their evening camp performance. The tough three hour session didn’t disappoint the parents who sat out in the Lodge compound for a gala outdoor dinner while their children danced the night away, entertaining the audience.
The dancing continued till midnight with fireworks. The evening rhythms were still ringing in their ears when they all gathered with their parents on Sunday morning for the final event of the camp, which was the amazing race.
Cake making for parents, sculpture, mini golf and creative dressing were all parts of this amazing race, enjoyed equally by the parents.
Before the prize giving, a session with paintball guns on fixed targets set in the dried lakebed was especially enjoyed by the boys and their fathers.
A scintillating weekend filled with loads of fun came to and end as the children received their certificates. It was time to close this year’s camp but many were almost in tears as they promised to be back again next year at their favorite resort to engage in yet another summer fiesta.
As the delighted kids and their parents left the Cinnamon Lodge, a much-recited phrase echoed around the campsite as the children said, “It was simply awesome.”