By Maia Muttoo
Families are increasingly travelling as a unit. Now more than ever, children are joining their parents on business trips and vacations rather than staying at home.
Recognising the need to better serve these young travellers, Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa has developed an approach that aims to enhance guest experience for all ages. This approach includes child-friendly activities, amenities and treats like a kids’ social hour, complimentary caramelised popcorn at check-in and in-room kid-sized robes and slippers.
The resort also offers an exciting daily camp called Camp Seafire that offers a range of outdoor and indoor activities for children every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and for extended evening hours of 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays.
The Camp Seafire programme is led by manager Jenna Snyman, who relocated to the Cayman Islands with her husband and daughter almost four years ago from their native South Africa. Snyman now applies her background in education, training and development to the hospitality sector to create memorable moments for young travellers.
With her team of three full-time camp coordinators, all of whom are passionate about working with children, she builds programming that is designed to be fun and flexible and offers options for any child’s preferences.
Snyman describes the camp as “holistic," as its schedule of activities includes something for everyone. Morning programming begins with an hour where families can get to know the camp coordinators and other guests. This is followed by a "Move-and-Groove" session of sports activities like beach soccer/football or yoga. Next, to conclude the morning programme, children enjoy pool and beach time where they can take advantage of paddleboards, kayaks and the popular ocean flat-mat.
Lunch is ordered for kids before the afternoon programme begins at 1 p.m. It starts with arts and crafts, including a Cayman Islands hour where children engage in fun and creative activities surrounding Caymanian culture and heritage. Next is the "Edible Engineers Masterchef" hour where kids learn culinary skills. Finally, the "Making Memories" segment typically includes gaming, spa surprises or additional outdoor activities.
While the programme has a structure, it is also flexible. Registration works on a sign-in, sign-out basis.
“We don’t expect everyone to commit to a half or full day,” Snyman says. “If you’d just like to stay for the morning kayaking hour, you can do that and come back for the Edible Engineers Masterchef hour in the afternoon if you want to, and we’ll charge accordingly.”
The camp is also not restricted to Seafire guests. Guests of other hotels are welcome to use Camp Seafire’s services, and Cayman residents are also encouraged to sign their kids up.
Admissible ages are typically 4 to 12 years old, but children under 4 are welcome to join the camp at standard rates if potty-trained. Those who are not yet potty-trained are still able to join the camp at the resort’s one-to-one care rate.
Locals may be particularly interested in Camp Seafire’s midterm camps, which are operated during all local school breaks from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Parents who need to drop their children off a little earlier can do so anytime after 8 a.m. at no additional cost.
For February 2020, the midterm camp theme will be “Full STEAM Ahead” and programming will include activities around science, technology, engineering, art and math. Pre-booking for half- or full-day camp can be done online or in person at Seafire. Again, booking is flexible and parents can make arrangements with Seafire based on their needs.
“We have many locals who love our camp and have been coming every school break since the programme started three years ago," says Snyman. "For those children and for hotel guests who are staying with us longer than five days, there is always something to look forward to as our activities rotate. There’s always something new and exciting.”
Snyman says she's recognised that children love the opportunity to interact and play with fellow campers from other countries and cultures and to form relationships with camp coordinators and hotel staff. She also says they love being able to exercise their creativity through activities like the arts and crafts and masterchef hours, and being able to take these creations home with them.
“No one ever leaves camp empty-handed," she says. "We ensure that kids always leave with a takeaway that they can be proud of.”
This article first appeared in the January print edition of Camana Bay Times with the headline "Holistic fun at Camp Seafire."