Put that iPad down and strap on your hiking boots, son...
Laptops, smartphones, iPads and PlayStations, are just some of the electronic devices vying for your children’s decreasing attention span in this digital age. The beauty and freedom of the outdoors have practically fallen by the wayside, relics of a time gone by. Maybe we’re being a little dramatic, but there’s definitely a problem and it’s one that Carpe Diem has been determined to solve since launching in 2012.
Offering a range of camps, trips and events that aim to open Egyptian children to a world beyond their TV and computer screens, Carpe Diem is the brainchild of Gary Kehiaian, himself a keen camper, adventurer, outdoorsman and, most significantly, parent.
“The idea came to me when I saw that Egyptian kids spend most of their time on electronics,” Kehiaian tells CairoScene of his motivation for launching Carpe Diem. “They just stay in their comfort zones.” And this is key to Carpe Diem’s M.O. – to shake up what has become the status quo and expose kids to a world many of them barely know exists. This isn’t just a regular holiday camp, however. Kehiaian and the team have bigger goals.
“Our mission is to improve the quality of life of Egyptian kids,” he explains. “We want kids to become more nature-oriented and hopefully better citizens.” Kehiaian and his team achieve this by carefully curating each trip or camp with an itinerary made up of a range of different activities that not only expands attendees’ horizons, but equips them with skills, knowledge and attributes that in turn provide plenty of life lessons and build character.
Carpe Diem has two camp sites, one in Cairo at Heliopolis Sporting Club (HSC) in El Sherouk and a second in El Gouna on the Red Sea coast. Introduction to Camping is held at the HSC camp where kids between the agers of 6 and 12 are taught the fundamentals of camping, with all its pleasures, challenges and values.
At the El Gouna site, the team hosts Introduction to Nature-oriented Sports, where campers between the ages of 11 and 18 are given the chance to take on activities such as sailing, windsurfing, wakeboarding, scuba diving, kitesurfing and horseback riding – and it’s here that Carpe Diem’s efforts have paid the most dividends and where many of the campers have found their calling.
“A lot of the kids that come to us in El Gouna develop new hobbies based on the activities we organize. Sometimes they even discover that they have a hidden talent,” Kehiaian explains, while referencing one particular case. “Marwan El Khouly was a camper last year who tried sailing, among other sports. We saw how talented he was and spoke to his parents about him pursuing it. One year later, he won second place at the National Egyptian Sailing Competition.”
It’s these kinds of success stories that have further built Carpe Diem’s reputation amongst parents around Egypt, which brings us to what is almost certainly the first cause of concern for all parents: safety. The Carpe Diem team is professionally trained in all safety and security measures when it comes to its camps and activities and are all certified first aid responders. Kehiaian himself is certified by BAFA, a French institution that trains individuals in lead activities for children. No location is chosen without meeting Carpe Diem’s strict safety standards, either, ensuring that the rough-and-tumble, seize-the-day experiences are completely safe.
The content of this article is sponsored.