Camp Cardamom – A Unique Arts & Outdoor Adventure Summer Camp for Experiential Learning in India

Although the “Game of Thrones” fans are going fanatic about “Winter is Coming“. But, in reality – Summer is Coming. Millions of students will be looking forward to getting a break from their hectic school & college life. Participating in a summer camp is a great way to utilize the holidays. Summer camps offer a structured opportunity for children to grow and learn. From friendship building to physical activity, your child has a lot to gain from attending a summer camp. In this post, we will look at Camp Cardamom, a unique summer program for school kids in India that leverages experiential learning and teaches classical Indian culture & environmental stewardship.


What is Experiential Learning?


Experiential learning is the process of learning through experience and is more specifically defined as “learning through self-reflection“.


Camp Cardamom - Experiential Learning Summer Camp in India
Image Credit: Growth Engineering

In short, experiential learning means learning by doing or learning through action. The general concept is ancient. Around 350 BCE, Aristotle wrote that “for the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them”.


Experiential learning is a well-known model in education, training, facilitation and organizational development. The basic model of the experiential learning cycle is “do reflect decide”.


Experiential learning has significant teaching advantages. Anybody who has ever tried to learn how to ride a bicycle or play a musical instrument knows that no amount of theory or classroom instruction can substitute for practice.


Now, we will see how the Camp Cardamom helps leverages the concept of experiential learning to help kids with their self-discovery process and also with their career & life journey.


Experiential Learning for School Kids at Camp Cardamom

Q&A with Josh Harkinson, Co-founder and Outdoors Director, Camp Cardamom



What is Camp Cardamom all about and why is it a unique summer camp?


Josh Harkinson

Camp Cardamom applies the model of experiential education to teaching children about classical Indian culture and environmental stewardship. We believe that by actively participating in activities such as dance, music, and visual arts, as well as trekking, rock climbing, and canoeing—to name just a few of our offerings—students will gain a greater interest in their cultural roots and natural environment.


But our program is not only experiential. We use also experiences as teaching tools in the classroom, where our visiting scholar from the University of Oxford will deliver a series of discussion-based lectures on Indian history, religion, and culture.


How does it help with self-discovery the process for the high school kids?


In our increasingly cosmopolitan, interlinked, and globalized world, we believe that young people need time to reconnect with their roots, both cultural and environmental. This means less watching and more doing. It means getting away from screens and onto the dance floor. It means taking a walk in the woods, eating a guava off the tree, or swimming in a waterfall. It means understanding where you come from by truly experiencing it.


Summer Camp for School Kids in India
Rock Climbing at Camp Cardamom


For many young people, going to to a residential summer program will be their first experience spending time away from their families.


Camp Cardamom provides them with a safe, nurturing environment in which to expand their horizons. The skills they learn and the connections they make during our program will be vital in university and beyond.


Our programs at Camp Cardamom are designed to promote:


  • Self-discovery—fuel for the imagination
  • Friendships outside one’s family network—a wellspring of new confidence
  • Independence—a driver of courage


Can the Camp Cardamom help high school students looking at to crack the admissions at top colleges abroad?


Yes, of course.


Students who go to university abroad will be emissaries for their homelands.  The world’s top academic institutions value applicants who can demonstrate a strong understanding and appreciation for their own cultural and environmental roots.


Camp Cardamom helps prepare tomorrow’s leaders to represent India and its heritage to the rest of the world.


Could you please tell our readers a little about the Cardamom Camp? What is it all about and why such a unique name?


Cardamom originates in India. Although it is popular throughout the world, its ancestral home is in Kerala’s Western Ghats, the location of our program. Likewise, we aim to bring children of Indian descent closer to their origins—and then seed them back into the world, to grow richer communities with deeper roots.



Camp Cardamom is an arts and outdoors summer program in the Kerala mountains, in partnership with the University of Oxford. We offer three-way immersion among international children coming to India, children living in Indian metros, and our partner tribal school.


We shall welcome our next class of 8 to 18-year-olds between May 12 to June 23, 2019. Students attend for a minimum of one week to a maximum of six weeks.


Our offerings, at the intersection of nature and classical Indian culture dance, music, kalaripayattu, visual arts, sports, and environmental education—are taught by elite instructors.


Kalaripauattu Summer Camp for Kids in India
Kalaripauattu (Indian Martial Arts) Training at Camp Cardamom


Our experiential education program is united by a university-level seminar delivered by our curriculum director, a senior instructor from the University of Oxford. Admission is limited to 40 students per week. For more about the program please see our detailed brochure. Readers could also check our leadership team here.


Any particular rationale behind choosing Munnar/Kerala?


Kerala is a place that celebrates classical Indian culture and preserves its traditions, while also celebrating pluralism and a global outlook. It is a place of breathtaking natural splendor where people remain intimately connected to the land. It represents the true intersection of nature and culture.


Our location in Kerala’s Marayoor Valley is located in the rain shadow, making it protected from heavy monsoon rains. It is also at a high enough elevation that temperature is mild all year long. The valley is surrounded on all sides by wildlife refuges and protected lands.


Our site, a 100-acre farm, and Ayurvedic retreat are completely fenced and protected from wild animals. We grow our own organic produce and source heritage grains from an organic farm in Tamil Nadu.


We are a three-hour drive on good roads from Coimbatore International Airport.


Summer Camp in India
Learning Bharatanatyam at Camp Cardamom


Who are the ideal participants for the Camp Cardamom?


Our experiential education programming is open to students between the ages of 8 to 18. Students are divided into small groups based on skill level.


The Oxford seminars are for students aged 12 to 18.


Summer Camp for Kids Aged 8 - 18
Tabla Session at Camp Cardamom


Tell us a little more about the classes and sessions at Camp Cardamom.


Regarding the Oxford seminar, questions that may be asked, to name a few:


What do ancient texts say about environmental conservation? How did yoga transform from a mind-dominant exercise to an agility-based one? How did it pass that Ayurveda, like Hinduism, is now vegetarian dominant, while the history books describe a quite different carnivorous past? What are the uniting strands of Indian thought in Indian Islam, Christianity, Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism?


More info on courses and sessions is here.


How to apply and enroll? What does the camp look for in applicants?


Interested students (and parents) can apply online. Applicants will be scheduled for a phone interview.


We look for applicants who exhibit intellectual curiosity and are accomplished not only in book learning but also in arts or sports or other extracurricular activities.



Note: This is a Sponsored Post.

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