SERIOUS FUN℠ SUMMER Camp

We provide children living with serious illnesses with a spectacular camp experience and high-quality medical care, all in the safest and most supportive environment.

FOR AGES 8 – 17 | DURATION 6 DAYS

Where kids are not defined by their illnesses

For children with serious health challenges, life is often impacted by missed opportunities to participate in the everyday activities enjoyed by their friends and peers. This can result in isolation, poor self-esteem and low confidence, which can become a barrier to future growth and development.

Outward Bound’s Serious Fun℠ are designed to bring about transformational change to tackle these issues. We aim for every camper to return home empowered with a new sense of ambition, self-confidence and a better understanding of their abilities.

Our camps take place in a medically safe environment – our team of volunteers, which includes doctors, paramedics, and nurses, means that campers are fully supported with medical assistance on hand.

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We partner with:

THE SERIOUS FUN℠ EXPERIENCE

The Outward Bound Netherlands, Serious Fun℠ programme, focuses on helping young people who experience health challenges to become aware of and apply their incredible abilities and talents; our model is a 4-step programme based on Challenge, Success, Reflection and Discovery.

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CHALLENGE

Challenge is different for everyone. We'll work with our campers to explore where there's room to 'stretch'. Campers choose their level of challenge – we call this 'Challenge by Choice'. Giving campers the responsibility to make their own decisions empowers them to go at their own pace of progression. We learn about campers' goals and comfort levels on the very first night so that we can support and encourage them. We will break down our challenges step-by-step to ensure no task is too daunting and individualise challenges to ensure each camper succeeds.
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SUCCESS

Everyone wants to experience success; it gives us a boost and makes us want to achieve even more. Outward Bound ensures that your child will experience success in a safe, fun, positive and supportive environment. We get to know your child and learn what they might find challenging at camp so that we can support and encourage them in the best possible way. A powerful tool called ‘Specific Positive Labelling’ highlights individual and group successes throughout camp, recognising when a camper succeeds and ensuring they recognise their achievements.
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REFLECTION

Life at camp is action-packed, and it can be difficult for campers to find the time to reflect on all their incredible achievements. This is why we have built-in 'Reflection' times at camp. We start every activity with an introduction and finish with a debrief. The debrief facilitates Reflection and highlights the positive change after the session. One of the most powerful times at camp and aid Reflection is the campfire chat at the end of each day. While campers talk about their successes, our trainers re-emphasise and validate the incredible achievements of each camper.
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DISCOVERY

Discovery is when your child realises that all the fantastic qualities and strengths they noticed about themselves at camp are a genuine part of who they are – attributes they can call on whenever needed. They recognise consciously or subconsciously that they don’t need a climbing wall to be brave – they are brave; they don’t need a room full of crafty material to know that they can be creative – they are creative. Campers discover they don’t need to be at camp to use all the unique qualities they possess, they just have to be themselves, and with this discovery, their confidence and self-esteem can grow.
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Serious Fun® Camp 2023

5-night residential activity camps

For Summer 2023, we invite applications from children aged 8 to 17 years living in the Netherlands who are currently receiving treatment or experiencing health challenges. Before attending our Serious Fun® camps, each camper’s parental application and healthcare professional form completed by their doctor or nurse is reviewed by one of our Nursing Team. This is to ensure that the camper meets our eligibility criteria and that our team at camp can meet their needs.

Our camps are 100% fun and 100% FREE for everyone, all of the time.

This is Serious Fun℠

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

ABOUT CAMP

Nothing – Our Serious Fun® camps are totally free of charge for every child and family. Outward Bound Netherlands fundraises to cover the costs of all the camps.

Camps take place in various high-quality venues across The Netherlands.
To find out who can come to camp and what the various criteria are for each of our camps, click here.
No tents! Accommodation is provided in buildings with bedrooms, bathrooms, electricity and even a plug socket for your hairdryer! Accommodation varies from site to site, but many of the rooms are multi-bedded and are shared with other children, often with en-suite bathrooms. Our staff and volunteers are also resident and so stay on the same corridors as the children, to be on hand if required. All bedding is provided, but you will need to bring your own toiletries and towels.

There is always a varied menu with plenty of choice and dietary requirements can be catered for as long as we know in advance. We do not allow any child or family to bring their own food to camp (unless by prior arrangement for special dietary requirements).

We are a partner of SeriousFun Children’s Network – a network of camps that operate throughout the world. It was set up by the late Hollywood actor, Paul Newman.

 

APPLYING FOR CAMP

We invite applications from children aged 8 to 17 years, living in The Netherlands, who are currently receiving treatment or experiencing health challenges.
This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Blood disorders (eg Sickle Cell Disease, Haemophilia)
  • Gastrointestinal disorders (eg Inflammatory bowel disease, TPN-dependent)
  • Cancer and Leukaemia
  • Rheumatological conditions (eg Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus)
  • Immunological disorders (eg HIV, primary immune deficiency)
  • Respiratory disorders (eg Severe Asthma)
  • Skin conditions (eg Severe Eczema)
  • Severe Allergies
  • Heart conditions (eg Congenital Heart Disease)
  • Kidney disease (eg Polycystic Kidney Disease, Renal Failure)
  • Liver diseases
  • Neurological disorders (eg Epilepsy, Spina Bifida)
  • Neuromuscular disorders (eg Friedreich’s ataxia)
  • Organ Transplant
  • Endocrine disorders

To ensure the child is able to benefit fully from all our camp programmes, they must:

  • have the physical ability to participate in an action-packed activity programme with a range of high and low energy activities
  • have the social and emotional ability to participate in a group setting and team activities with children of their own age
  • be able to communicate their needs independently
  • be able to transfer from chair to floor and floor to chair without assistance if they use a wheelchair

Unfortunately, we are unable to accept children who:

  • have learning, behavioural or social communication needs that would prevent them from participating in age-appropriate group activities
  • are more than 2-3 years off treatment, if they do not have any ongoing health challenges 
  • need overnight care/intervention/monitoring, or health care needs that require constant one-to-one support
  • have Cystic Fibrosis or Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia (due to the risk of cross-infection and infection to immunocompromised campers)
  • are on the ketogenic diet

Before attending camp, each camper’s parent application and a medical form completed by their own doctor or nurse is reviewed by one of our Nursing Team. This is to ensure that the camper meets our eligibility criteria and that their needs can be met by the team at camp. Any required care plans can be formulated ahead of time. We will consider the child’s ability to participate in the programme, their psychosocial wellbeing, and what other opportunities are available to them. Each application is considered on its own merits, however as places are limited, we will give priority to those children who have not attended camp before.

Any medical information that we request from you should be received by us as soon as possible. Applicants to our camps must fill out our  Healthcare Professional Form which should be completed by the child’s nurse or consultant at the hospital. We will send this request to you on receipt of your application. We cannot assess an application for camp without the supporting medical information requested.

If you are a new applicant and meet our criteria, then you have a very good chance of getting a place on a camp. If you have been to our camps before, then you may initially be placed on a reserve list as we will prioritise those who have not attended a camp before.

We assess every application on an individual basis, both for the child’s safety and to ensure we can deliver for their individual needs. All applications are assessed by our clinical team who are all registered nurses. We prioritise children and families who have not been to one of our camps before. All applications need to meet our criteria to ensure our campers safety and ensure the medical team can work to the best of their ability.

Yes, but we do prioritise children who are first-time applicants to our camps, so you may initially be placed on our reserve list to see where we have availability when applications have closed.

Once we’ve received your application and any supporting information the nursing and wellbeing teams will assess your application. The team may contact you if they have further questions regarding your child and their health condition – please do respond to these quickly to avoid delaying your application. We cannot progress your application until we have received all medical / supporting information so please provide this as soon as possible.

WHILE AT CAMP

We consider each child’s needs on an individual basis, but some of the most common aspects our team deal with are:

  • Give medication  
  • Oral chemotherapy
  • PEG, NG and NJ feeds
  • TPN
  • Central lines and portacaths
  • Dressings
  • Non-invasive ventilation
  • Subcutaneous injections and infusions
  • IV factor
  • Stoma and catheter care
  • Bowel washouts  

At a Serious Fun® camp we provide a team of volunteer qualified doctors, paramedics and nurses. They provide all necessary care, giving medication, feeds, changing dressings, personal care, as well as monitoring their health over the duration of the camp. A doctor, paramedic or nurse is on call for overnight emergencies. The team is led by a nursing coordinator who is a member of staff.

Our camps run with the help of a team of volunteers and paid staff.  All staff hold a Certificate of Conduct (VOG) issued by the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security.

Outward Bound Netherlands provides a variety of activities and each activity is targeted to the age group at camp. Examples of activities include climbing wall, zip wire, arts and crafts, kayaking, archery, board games and music – to name a few. Activities change depending on the venue.

We understand that parents and carers may want to know how their camper is getting on at camp. Outward Bound Netherlands has a Camp Hotline which should be used in these circumstances. A Serious Fun® camp is a busy place and we might not be able to answer the phone, but please leave a message or send a text and we will return calls or texts as soon as possible. We will send parents/carers the Camp Hotline telephone number prior to camp.

READY? CHECK CAMP DATES AND APPLY

Find a date and location convenient for you and complete your application online now.

Outward Bound Netherlands

Outward Bound® and the Compass Rose are each registered trademarks of Outward Bound International. Outward Bound Netherlands is an educational non-profit organisation registered under number 63491419.

ACCREDITATIONS

Outward Bound International

Outward Bound Netherlands is proud to be part of Outward Bound International. Outward Bound International is a membership organisation of the worldwide Outward Bound network. This network consists of 34 Outward Bound schools around the world.