Skiing, Languages & Dice Game

Skiing today was incredible. There was alot of progession and the children were very happy with their progress. The students have been studying languages for 3 afternoons now and today they are really starting to improve on their languages. After another exciting day the children relaxed with the Dice Game.

Skiing & La Fureur (Music Game)

Today the children were very excited to ski. The whole day was fantastic, everyone was happy. The instructors taught the children how to turn on their ski’s… great progression for the second day skiing. In the evening the children played La Fureur (music game) it was very exciting and the children had a very good evening together.

First Ski Day & Ice Skating

Today is the first ski day. The children are excited and curious about what the day will unfold. The weather is superb today and the snow condition is perfect. We start of the day by warming up, start jumping, running, dancing, playing games and snowball fighting then start learning how to ski. For the beginner skiers the instructors help the children to understand how the ski works and how to put the skis on, then the children start to experiment with balancing and sliding on the snow. For the returning students the instructors remind the students of the correct body positions and of course the safety on the mountain. After a great lunch the children continued to practice skiing. Excellent progression for the first day. Later after the afternoon snacks we played outdoor games, football and basketball as the sun was shinning brightly. Later in the evening we took thew children to the ice skating rink were they watched the end of a hickey match then got to go ice skating for themselves. A fun packed day all in all

Arrival Day at Les Elfes – Saturday 20th April

We are all very excited at Les Elfes to meet the new arrivals today. It is the start of the Spring in Verbier, the sun is shinning, the flowers are blooming and above all the snow is amazing on the mountain. The group arrived around mid day and we started with a delicious lunch. After we went into the village to completed a verbier hunt and to buy gloves & googles. When we returned to campus we gave the children their ski equipment and clothing. We played games outside and watched a movie together before bedtime. A great start to the week

Sport benefits for kids

Playing sports offers children more than just physical benefits. Sports typically help kids academically and socially as well. The benefits are the same whether or not your child actually excels at the sport. Sports are more than a game; they are a set of life lessons.

The high altitude Les Elfes campuses are located in a great environment offering perfect conditions for fun adventurous outdoor sports suited for kids and teen.

Our aim is to allow youngsters to try out new fun activities and outdoor sports in optimum safety. Teenagers can also progress and improve their skills in sports they might have tried before and in which they may have some experience already.

Huge choice of outdoor activities

The Swiss Alps region offers a wide range of activities combining natural elements and gravity. During the summer camp, kids can discover more than 30 different sports such as:

  1. Tennis
    During all summer camps, kids can play tennis at the sport center, which is situed next to the camp. Tennis lessons are a part of the summer program. Optionally, for those who are fond of tennis, we can propose additional tennis lessons. The teacher will supervise and coach kids and give them professional training with professional exercises. We also organize tennis tournaments.
  2. Mountain Biking
    Mountain Biking is a sport which consists of riding bicycles off-road, using specially adapted bikes. There are over 200km of signed paths around the campus, suitable for all ability levels. Kids will find delightful routes through a wide variety of scenery. No need for difficult climbing, the lifts do the work of carrying the cycles!
  3. Swimming
    Campers can go swimming in the large indoor and outdoor swimming pools in the Verbier Sports Center right next to the Les Elfes campus. They offer a great place for kids to play, swim, have fun or just relax and enjoy the panorama of the mountains, always under the supervision of our staff.
  4. Ropes Course
    One of the most popular activities at our summer camp! The ropes course includes different elements which participants have to learn in order to accomplish the objectives. Fully supervised and controlled by the staff, all elements are attempted with aid and moral support.
  5. Golf (Verbier)
    The 18 hole golf course on the hills overlooking the Verbier resort offers a striking panoramic view on the mighty Combins and Mont Blanc massifs. This top quality course is the place to discover this exciting sport which requests precision and focus or to bring your handicap on another level. The course is full of natural obstacles making the game interesting and challenging. During the courses, the kids will learn pitch and putt in a private practice area.
  6. Rock Climbing
    Rock climbing is a sport in which participants climb up or across natural rock formations. Verbier and Val de Bagnes can boast an impressive number of equipped climbing routes, where climbers of all levels will enjoy testing their skills. It’s a physically and mentally demanding sport, where campers will gain strength, endurance, agility, and balance along with mental control. The experienced mountain guides ensure safety and competence to introduce kids to this sport in a fully supervised way.
  7. Hiking
    Hiking is an outdoor activity which consists of walking in natural environments. The Swiss Alps resorts of Verbier and La Tzoumaz offer over 400km of signed and safe paths. Kids will explore the magnificent landscapes surrounding Verbier and Val de Bagnes, they will be delighted by the cows, known as the “Queens of the Alps”, the plants, animals, and especially the magical contrasts of the scenery.
  8. Water skiing:
    The camp isn’t far away of the Geneva Lake. Located in Switzerland and France, it is one of the largest lakes in Western Europe. The high summits of Mont Blanc are visible from the lake. Kids can try out water skiing and also enjoy many other activities on the lake such as tubing which is a recreational activity of riding an inner tube on the water.
  9. Horse Riding (extra option in Verbier)
    Horse riding is a great way to enjoy the alpine views and discover the resort. The village of Verbier organizes each year a horse riding competition which is very popular in the equestrian sport world. If your child likes horses he/she could ride all around the resort and discover the wonderful panorama, improve their skills and see the famous competition during the month of August.
  10. Various
    On the campus of Les Elfes, a lot of various land sports are offered, such as football, volleyball, table tennis, basketball, badminton, petanque, trampoline and many more. More activities, such as squash and Minigolf are organized in the village of Verbier.

Travel Arrangements

How to make sure children reach the camp safely?

Thousands of kids and teenagers go on holidays without their parents every year and they have a great – and perfectly safe – time.

Many of the risks that are associated with children flying alone can be overcome by using common sense and taking a few basic precautions. The following tips will help both children traveling solo and those responsible for the child to deal with many of the problems that may be encountered.

10 Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How and where do you welcome children coming by airplane?
    Les Elfes welcomes campers in the arrival hall of the Geneva Airport (GVA). We have our own office here. Our friendly and helpful staff will take care of the youngsters right away and then drive them with our private bus to the campus. Both of our campuses can be easily reached within 1h50 after leaving the Geneva airport.
  2. Can I accompany my child to the campus?
    Yes! We always are very happy to meet the parents when they visit the camp. We can arrange the welcome and transfer for the parents as well. You also can drive your child to the campus. We will of course provide you the travel details.
  3. If I accompany my child to camp, can I stay the night nearby?
    Absolutely. We can advise you some beautiful hotels in the resort. You may also wish to spend your holidays in Switzerland to enjoy the peace of the Alps or to discover the lake Geneva region.
  4. Are there any preferred arrival or departure times?
    No. Because kids arrive from all over the world, the time of the arrival depends on the flight possibilities. Les Elfes handles this in a very flexible way. In any case we will arrange the transfers according to the flight times of the kids.
  5. Should your child fly alone?
    The unaccompanied child: Airlines call a child who flies alone an unaccompanied minor (UM). Generally, a child must be five years old to fly alone, and each airline has its own policies, restrictions and requirements. The airline will request from parents the name and phone number of the pick-up person. We would provide you all those relevant information if required. Once the child boards the plane, he is in the care of a flight attendant. If it is a non-stop flight, the flight attendant will transfer the child to the adult waiting at the arrival city. If the child will be making a connection to another flight, the flight attendant will accompany the child to the gate agent or airport employee who will then take the child to the appropriate gate. There should be an adult airline or airport employee with the child at all times. Depending on the number of legs on the trip, the child may be under the care of several different adults. If the child will be spending some time in the airport, the airline may have special kid-friendly lounges for UM’s. These may not be in every airport or available from every airline. The reservation agent will know if there is one in the airport a child is traveling through.
  6. When is a child ready to fly alone?
    Parents are the best judges of that. Is the child comfortable around strangers? Is he/she able to keep track of her belongings, follow directions and entertain herself quietly for extended periods of time? The responsibility that goes along with flying alone can give kids a great sense of independence and confidence. But, if a child is unsure of herself, shy or scared, flying can be a frightening experience. Parents can help alleviate some anxiety by preparing the child ahead of time. Like so many other parenting situations, children pick up on their parents’ feelings. The child should know what will happen at the airport, through security, on the plane and at the destination. If he will be changing planes, parents need to stress that he follows the directions of the flight attendant or gate agent.
  7. Is the Pre-boarding different?
    On the day of travel, parents should allow extra time at the airport to fill out paperwork and pass through security. Some airlines ask parents and UM’s to arrive three hours ahead of time. The reservation agent can provide that information. Parents can go through security to the gate with their child but won’t be able to board the plane with them.
  8. Additional Fees?
    Not all airlines charge a UM service fee, but many do. Charges can vary depending on whether the flight is domestic or international and if there are connecting flights. If two or more children are flying together, the fee is usually charged just once.
  9. Happy landings?
    Airlines ask parents to stay at the gate until the plane has pulled away from the gate since mechanical problems or weather delays could result in passengers deplaning. The plane should be well on its way before adults leave the gate. There should have be a back up plan (or two) for picking up the child at the destination. The child should have names and phone numbers of the persons he may need to call.

When your child is ready to fly alone, you have every reason to expect it will be a positive experience. A little bit of preparation and careful planning can make it a pleasant journey. Opportunity for your child to spread his wings and fly!

Summer Camp and Security

Given all the factors to consider when choosing a summer program, parents should look at the security of the Summer Camp. There are several things that must be considered: Location, facilities, staff, medical support and activities are points to consider as safe.

Choosing a Great Summer Program: Advice for Parents

What is a good program?
Good summer programs encourage kids to learn new things about themselves and to explore unfamiliar activities. As you begin to research programs, you should ask how a program will influence your children now and in the future.

What about Les Elfes’ program?
“At Les Elfes Camps, children and teenagers discover other cultures and make new friends in a very international environment. Activities are designed to promote leadership, teamwork and to challenge students toward excellence in a way that maximizes both personal and group development and enhances self-confidence and interpersonal skills. As part of the language learning program, participants receive a certificate signed and graded by their teacher. The summer camp program is extremely varied and comprises a selection of fun activities and sports every day. Kids can choose to discover, practice and experience many new sports. As the camp offers more than 30 different outdoor sports, campers have a great choice! All the activities are suited for kids and teens and our aim is to allow youngsters to try out new fun activities in optimum safety.

11 questions to ask to evaluate the security of the camp

Parents often ask about the ratio of campers to counselors. While that’s a valid question, the maturity and experience of the staff is of utmost importance. Here are 11 important questions concerning safety at Les Elfes and our answers.

  1. What is the ratio of counselors to children?
    We endeavor to provide the perfect mix of guardian, friends and teachers to all students, and while we are there to make sure the students are happy, parents can be reassured that nothing comes before student safety. The organizer to student ratio is 1:5, however including all Les Elfes staff the ratio falls to 1:2.
  2. How do you select monitors?
    All our monitors have been carefully selected in accordance with Les Elfes criteria for skills and experience in working with children. On top of this, we use sports experts for some activities. Our dedicated and enthusiastic team of staff is 100% focused on the safety of the participants and the smooth running of the activities programs. Our staff are typically aged 18 to 28, and are fun, outdoors loving people from all over the world. Due to the responsibility of looking after children, applications are only considered when over the age of 20. We accept a limited number of Gap Year students aged between 18 and 20 for work experience only. All activity staff must have a valid first aid and CPR qualification, and be able to provide us with a copy of a police statement from your country of origin showing a clean record.
  3. How are your counselors trained?
    All our monitors and instructors have to take a two-week training course before the beginning of each season, one week of technical training and one week learning Les Elfes philosophy and safety requirements.
  4. Is there medical personnel on staff?
    All our camps have a nurse and all activity staff must have a valid first aid and CPR qualification.
  5. What would happen in the event of an emergency?
    In the event of illness or accident, we are only minutes away from world-class professional assistance. We have 3 up-to-date medical clinics in Verbier, and both campuses have access to a regional hospital and two University hospitals only 40 minutes and 75 minutes away respectively, or just 10 minutes by helicopter.
  6. Do your instructors carry mobile phones in case of emergency?
    All our instructors carry a mobile phone at all times that allows them to react very quickly in case of emergency.
  7. Is the health insurance and accidents coverage included?
    All our campers are fully covered by a swiss health insurance and accidents.
  8. How do you deal with weather conditions?
    Sports and activities are practiced only in suitable conditions and we are well informed of any weather condition changes. In case of necessary we modify the program of the day according to the weather conditions.
  9. How are the staff supervised?
    Each camp are supervised by a Resort Manager and an Activities Director whose job is to co-ordinate the instructors & counselors, supervise the activities, manage security, and in general keep things running smoothly at the camps. Each age group is managed by a group leader, an assistant and a team of instructors & counselors who accompany and take care of the children during activities and throughout the camp. Finally, there is a team of kitchen staff, house cleaners, drivers, and others, all of whom watch over the well- being of our guests during the camps. Our Activity Managers supervise the work  of our monitors and instructors all day long. Risk assessments are designed for each activity and are signed by all our monitors and head instructors during daily morning briefings and daily evening debriefings.
  10. How are the kids supervised?
    All our camps have a nurse and a 24 hour reception and night guard, which together with our monitors work, allows us to offer a 24 hours supervision of the children.
  11. What is the experience and history of your camp?
    Les Elfes has been operating since 1987. The resort of Verbier became the main base of Les Elfes with the construction of our own campus with its 140 beds and sports fields in 1995.

How to prevent homesickness?

Homesickness is one concern, children might develop before and while attending holiday camp. Be assured, that this is normal!  We would like to give you some advise on how to deal with this type of concern.

Please see below a few tips provided by our experienced staff:

How to deal with homesickness before and during summer camp?

Anxiety?
For kids that have anxiety about going back to camp, or kids that are first time campers, this time of year can be difficult for them. Anxiety is building and they need to work on it so by the time camp comes they are ready to enjoy a great summer!

Keep an eye open for less noticeable signs such as changes in sleep patterns (trouble falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to fall back asleep) or difficulty separating from you.

8 tips to help kids relax and have a positive camp experience:

  1. Talk about Les Elfes with your child in the weeks before summer camp starts! Try to find out, if your child has any fears or concerns about being away from home… All our staff at camp would be more than happy to answer any questions.
  2. Focus on the FUN side of summer camp at Les Elfes and try to highlight it in daily discussions with your child before camp starts.
  3. Remind your kids of the awesome games, crafts and sports in which they’ll participate. Show your child our camp brochure with cool pictures or go on our website, and discuss what a typical day at Les Elfes will consist of – hiking, rock climbing, swimming, mountain biking and many, many more different outdoor activities!
  4. Keep the farewell brief and do not make it dramatic. Also for parents, it can be hard to say good-bye. When children feel the pain of their parents, they will be more likely to get homesick during the time at camp.
  5. Please do not make any rescue promises to pick-up your child if they do not like the camp. This could have an adverse effect and they may not try to integrate.
  6. Summer camp at Les Elfes is a great way for kids to become independent and to grow up. While your child is at camp, try to keep the contact to a minimum in order to maximize this effect. Even if it is hard for you, please keep phone calls, text messages or emails short.
  7. Express confidence in your child’s resilience and admiration for his or her courage in going to camp.
  8. Tell your child that you are sure he or she will get help from counselors and friends when needed. All the staff at Les Elfes work here because they love working with children and want them to have a great time!