FAQ

Questions about Language immersion

My son has not had any formal French language training, can we sign him up?

To participate in our French language immersion summer camp programs, children aren't required to have studied French. All activities at camp take place in French only and our counselors, through the use of simple language and signs/gestures, will be able to ensure that your child can participate and be understood in the different activities.

All security and safety announcements will be communicated in French but to ensure proper and complete comprehension for our foreign campers there is always an English speaking counselor available to assist beginners if needed. We do not group children by “level”, the more advanced speakers help beginners, it is part of the experience, each child progresses at its own rhythm.

Campers learn from each other, help each other and exchange their knowledge. No matter what level of French children have, everyone benefits from the immersion experience! However your child will actually learn more French if he/she takes French lessons prior to immersion.

Do you provide French classes during the camp session?

Yes we offer French classes in the beach sports and french classes program. Moreover, children learn and experience the language by living the everyday life in France in total immersion with other French children of their own age.

Questions about Health and safety

What about the children's hygiene?

All the camp counselors are responsible for making sure that all children brush their teeth, wash their hands before each meal and shower regularly following the schedule of each group.

What happens if my child gets sick or is injured?

For anything beyond a minor issue, we will contact you as quickly as possible. In the case of mild injury or illness, we will provide appropriate care on site and continue to carefully monitor your child’s condition. Should medical attention be required, we will take your child to the nearest appropriate facility, and of course will communicate closely with you. Personal Injury coverage is included in the price of the program. Our participants are also covered by a Liability insurance for damage caused to a third party.

Has there ever been a serious accident or injury during a camp?

No. we have had zero serious incidents. The primary concern of each staff member is the health and safety of each camper. Our staff members are trained in risk management and take this matter very seriously. Of course, because we are running, playing, and exploring the outdoors, we do encounter plenty of scraped knees, bumps, and so on. To us, this means that kids are playing hard, testing their limits, and ultimately learning for themselves how to be safe-critical elements of healthy development. But when a child needs care, our Lead Instructors are all trained in first aid, and will take care of your child just as you would.

Do you have an insurance?

Yes, every camper is insured. Our insurance is provided by MAIF, a major company in France.

How is bedwetting treated?

Bedwetting is one of the most potentially embarrassing things that can happen to someone at camp, so it is paramount that parents let us know if the condition exists. Once informed, counselors are careful to use discretion where warranted.The counselor will find some quiet time to speak with the bed wetter in private, to let him/her know he is aware of the condition and how they will treat it if it occurs.

Generally, the child and counselor work out a "secret" signal for the morning to let the counselor know if bedwetting occurred during the night. Then, after all the other kids have trooped off to flag raising, one counselor will remain behind to remove the soiled linen and arrange to have it washed. The linens are returned before the morning activities are over, so no one is the wiser! Of course, we also use as many preventive measures as possible - reduce liquid intake close to bedtime, and remind the child to use the bathroom before going to bed.

How experienced are the counselors? How old are they?

Counselors are between 20 and 30 years old. They all possess the BAFA diploma (a Certificate of Professional Aptitude for Educational Counselors). This diploma is required by law in France in order to work for any camp organization. The camp counselors are all French natives. Moreover, some are certified teachers. We have staff with first aid qualifications. Finally, we have a support staff of bilingual English/French staff. In addition to the rigorous application and interview process, our counselors get together for a special training session prior to the start of camp. From this, our counselors emerge with a firm understanding of the Camp program … along with a high level of safety consciousness.

How many campers per staff member?

We have 6 campers per staff member. Not only does this ensure adequate supervision and safety, but also lots of personal contact between the children and the camp staff.

Are the safety regulations as strict in Europe as they are in the USA or some others countries?

Our camp is run by professionals. Rules and Safety Regulations are very strict in France for camp organizations. Our camp is regulated by the French government and has been approved by the "Ministère de la Jeunesse et des Sports" (French Ministry in charge of Youth and Sports ). We ensure that children are equipped with activity equipment which conforms to European standards.

Approved lifejackets are provided and must be worn during water sports sessions. Strict range disciplines are enforced for archery. All our motor-sports vehicles have their speeds regulated. Please note that we are continually up-dating our equipment to reflect current best practices and therefore equipment used may differ from that shown in photographs on our website.

Questions about French Summer Camps Programs

How can I communicate with my child? How will be informed of his/her well-being?

Communicate in writing, send Emails. Campers are encouraged several times during the week to write emails to their friends and family. They don't always do because they are too busy having fun to write. They may receive emails at all times from friends and family.

  • Blog:
    Twice a week, we post news and updates on the children, their activities and schedule. A great way for parents to stay informed on their children during camp.

  • Personal Email updates:
    While camps are in session, the camp Director will keep parents informed by email once a week about their children's personal experience at camp.

  • Please observe camp policy about phone calls:
    A “No Phone Call policy” generally applies to all French resident camp programs. In general, campers are not permitted to use the telephone. They can use their cellular phone but not during camp activities: between 7:00 and 7:30. Phone calls from or to the camp's office are only permitted in case of emergency and if authorized by the camp Director. Apart from the fact that your child is probably in the middle of an activity session, in the shower, eating dinner, and therefore far from the telephone, our experience has shown that children really do settle in much better if undisturbed by personal telephone calls; that is why telephone calls are generally not permitted during the camp session. We will, of course, pass on any important personal message. We ask parents to observe phone call policies in order to minimize homesickness.

What the best age to come to camp?

The best age for a child to begin attending camp is when one is “ready.” Some are ready at age 8, while others are ready a little later in childhood. We have new campers in all age ranges, and it is never too late to experience a great camp experience!

My daughter wants to practice horse-riding and tennis. Is it possible?

Definitly yes if your daughter spends at least 2 weeks in the camp. You can choose a different activity for each week without extra charge. The price doesn't change due to the activity except for kitesurfing/wakeboarding, kart/quad, scuba-diving or golf which cost 200€ additional charge a week.

How can I be sure my child will not spend his/her time speaking English?

All the activities are in French and of course we encourage and help foreign campers to speak French. The other campers are French so they have to speak French to communicate.

What should my child bring to camp?

A complete list of items will be sent to each participant well in advance of departure. We provide all the equipment necessary for all the activities, although youngsters do need to bring personal items such as water-proof jackets, sunglasses, hats, footwear and casual clothes.

Since campers get dirty and wet, we recommend that children bring old play clothes (they can more easily recognize old clothes as their own); new clothes are best left at home. Anything brought to camp should have your child's name on it. You may sew on or iron on name tapes, or use a laundry marking pen. Wet feet are no fun at camp - please be sure to pack extra shoes and socks!

Can I sign my child up for just one week?

We offer 7, 14, 21, 28, 35 day sessions. A week is the minimum, 21 days is really the right length of time to truly benefit from immersion, 7 days is ok but appropriate for very young children or sometimes first timers. That is why most of the time we will recommend at least a 21-day session. In fact, we’ve discovered that campers spend the first week adapting to the new environment and settling in.

A full 28 or 35 days provides plenty of time to get settled, become comfortable, create bonds with the other campers and participate in activities. Plenty of time for the effect of immersion to take place and for the children to make real progress in the French language and enough time so that each camper gets a complete camp experience and appreciates French culture!

Why choose French Summer Camps?

Here is the answer to this question

How much spending money should we give our daughter?

We recommend no more than 100 € spending money. Children are responsible for their spending money during the trip. We will supply everything they need during camp. Campers can use their spending money to buy ice cream and souvenirs when they go on field trips or if they go to town with their group. We ask children to carry their own money during the time of travel, so please teach them to be discreet with whatever money they do bring.

Do children have any time for shopping during their trip?

Yes, they have a little time to shop during some of the field trips at camp, just enough to bring home some souvenirs .

Do you sell any items to children?

No, we do not.

My child doesn't know anyone else. Can you make sure that he/she has a good time?

Most children come to camp alone, but they quickly make friends! We begin the camp with team-building and trust-building activities, to help everyone get to know one another and get into the right spirit. We love seeing friendships continue after camp .

My child wants to go to the camp with a friend. Can they stay together during camp?

Please let us know in the registration form comments area if your child will be attending with a friend. We can always arrange for them to be in the same tent.

How do I know if French Summer Camps is right for my child?

If your child is ready for a sleepaway camp and is interested in discovering French history and culture, if he/she loves to travel, likes playing, integrating, exploring nature and learning new sports or activities, then French Summer Camps will be an excellent choice.

My child is shy. Will she fit in?

Our staff is trained to help all campers fit in. The first day of camp is spent learning everybody’s names, becoming familiar with the camp set-up and the week's activities. The buddy system is used when moving between activities, so no camper is left alone. Our group period, before dinner, helps friendships develop among roommates.

Questions about transportation

How do the children get to camp?

Hyères: Campers can fly from any city in the USA or in the world to Nice, Toulon or Marseille and meet our group.
Miami: Campers can fly from any city in the USA or in the world to Miami and meet our group.
The camp staff welcome campers arriving from every possible destination on Sunday afternoon. Transportation to and from camps is from the airport, by Coach bus, escorted by the camp staff.
Departures must be on Saturday morning.

Do you offer escorted flights?

All our flights are escorted flights under supervision of the airline. The Camp staff welcome the children at the airport.

Will you help our son check in for his return flight home?

For their return flight home, campers will be escorted from the camp to the airport by the Camp staff on the same day and checked in by our staff with the airlines for their return flight home.

We are taking a family trip to France before the camp session starts, can we bring our children to their camp?

Yes

Questions about registration and payment

How do I register? Can I sign my child up over the phone?

Yes you can reserve admission for your child by calling us or by sending us an email at booking@summer-camps.org. Or you can simply book online. We will check availability in the session you have chosen and get back to you within 48 hours to confirm your reservation.

When do I pay?

A deposit of 500 € is required with your first application to reserve admission for your child at camp. Full payment for the tuition is due no later than May 1st.

Why do you need a deposit?

A deposit secures your child’s place in a given camp, which is important because by late spring there will be waiting lists. We need your deposit to buy airline tickets for your child. Your deposit is also very important in helping us prepare the camp, the logistics of our program, and the necessary recreational equipment for your child.

Do you accept Credit card payments?

We accept credit card payments via Paypal only for the deposit. This deposit can also be paid by wire transfer. The remaining balance due, must be paid by direct wire transfer on our company's account (details given in your invoice). Due to the international nature of our program, the Electronic wire transfer is the type of payment we prefer in order to save time; it's more secure and it often avoids extra bank charges.

When are tuition payments due?

Full payment is due no later than May 1st for all campers. For last minute sign-ups, full payment is due at the time of reservation. A detailed invoice is sent to all families and a reminder follows in April. If payment is not received on the due date, your child will not be able to attend camp until full balance is received.

Is there any rebate if there is more than one registration from the same family?

Yes we do apply family discounts and group rates. For more information please read our Camp tuition page

What forms will we need to fill out?

There are a few forms that we will need on file in order for your child to attend camp. These forms include: French Summer Camps Application forms, Health forms, French Summer Camps conditions for participation. We will send all these documents to you at the time of registration.

Questions about food and accommodation

How is the food?

French of course ! Our camp is committed to providing three healthy, high-energy meals per day, a balanced diet and plenty of variety. We provide a drink and a small snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon if the program allows. A vegetarian alternative can be provided, if requested before the start of the holiday.

  • Breakfast: Typical French Breakfast, with a choice of cereals, toast and preserves; hot chocolate, yoghurts and fruits.

  • Lunch: Either a choice of hot meals with vegetables and salad or a packed lunch including sandwiches or bread rolls with a choice of fillings, chunks of fresh fruit…

  • Dinner: A hot meal including vegetables and mixed salads, fresh fruit or choice of French desserts.

My child has special dietary needs. Can you accommodate this?

We will do our best and can almost always accommodate your child’s needs. Please don’t forget to let us know at the time you register, so we can consult with you and make any advance preparation needed. A vegetarian alternative can be provided, if requested before the start of the holiday. We can accommodate most special diets required on medical grounds but we will require full details at the time of booking.

Where do the children sleep?

Hyeres : The children sleep in a yurt. There are three rooms in a yurt. Rooms are organized by age group. Mattresses, pillows, sheets and blankets are provided.
Miami: The children sleep in a double room with full furniture (e.g. twin bed, dresser, desk & chair) and linen & towel sets at the university of Miami.

Do Boys and Girls share rooms? And where do the counselors sleep?

Boys and girls sleep separately. There is one counselor per tent , camp counselors have their own room in the tent.

What time do the children go to bed?

Even the fittest youngsters feel tired after a full day of activities followed by our evening entertainment programs (veillées), so we try to insist on sensible bedtimes for youngsters to ensure that everyone gets a good night’s rest. Exact times may vary but are approximately 9:30 pm for 7-12 year olds, 10:30 for 13-17 year olds.

How is laundry handled?

If your child is staying for more than one week, please note that each camp provides one machine wash a week.

Questions about homesickness

My child has never stayed away from home, and might become homesick. How do you handle that?

We’re ready to support your child if he/she is missing home. Not only will we listen to their feelings and reassure them, but we find that most kids soon get over those feelings as they make friends and get involved in the many fun activities.

How can I prevent homesickness?

Parents make the biggest difference when it comes to preparing a child for a session of camp! We have found the best way to prevent a child from becoming homesick is to have an open dialogue with your child before he/she comes to camp. For instance: campers who want and look forward to the fun of camp life will enjoy and benefit from it. Readiness depends on the individual maturity and attitude of the child. A child who is persuaded or forced to go will probably have a rough time of it at camp. Remember, there is a lot of difference between "getting to go to camp" and being "sent to camp.” What does your child expect from a camping experience?

Are all of his/her expectations realistic? Children sometimes imagine camp as a place where they can do whatever they want, whenever they want. Living at camp is a lot like living at home. There are lots of fun things to do (but only within certain parameters), and along with the fun come some responsibilities (like cabin clean-up, taking turns, sharing, etc). Parents can help by discussing the new experiences that camp will involve: sleeping and eating with other kids, being in unfamiliar surroundings, and the need for give and take. Our counselors do a lot to prevent homesickness too! Homesickness usually occurs because a child feels uncomfortable in new surroundings with lots of new faces.

This is certainly understandable, and our counselors do a great job of welcoming the campers by getting to know them, their interests, and goals for the camp session. We make them feel at home by giving them a camp tour upon arrival. Parents when completing their child's application must include any key information so the counselors can be alerted to anything that should deserve special attention (such as a recent divorce, death in the family, or other unusual circumstances).