Vishal Koshy – GM – Kalypso Adventures, Kochi
Kalypso Adventures, ranked as one of the topmost adventure tour operators in the country, is located in Kochi, Kerala. The company is owned by two commanders – Mr. Sam T Samuel, MD, is basically a pilot and is into marketing and promotion of the company, while Mr. Thomas Zackarias, Executive Director is an engineer by profession and is involved in operations and running of activities.
Mr. Vishal Koshy is the GM and heads the travel duration and students’ camp. About himself, Mr. Vishal says that he is certified by National Outdoor Leadership School and is associated with the company for the past 10 years.
About the company, Mr. Vishal has the following to say:
· “We have operations almost all over the country.”
· “Specialize in top adventure activities like cycling, trekking, kayaking etc.”
· Most of the clients of the company are inbound from abroad and the company arranges for activities.
· The company has a division for corporate training for their base in Cochin and Bangalore
· Student camp is part of the training division of the company.
The training includes “mostly team building and games.” Activities such as rafting, trekking, and team games are part of the training camp which usually lasts for 2-3 days.
Types of Groups
Mr. Vishal says that the company has two types of groups – one is from schools directly approaching them with specific requirement and the second one is for kids from different schools. The company publishes the summer camp dates for the second group to sign in. For both groups the requirement and main learning are totally different. While the first group will focus on the schools’ requirement about leadership skills, the second group for public gets exposure to outdoor. People come in search of them after getting to know about them online.
Summer Camp Activities
The summer camp includes activities like trekking and map following which leads to plenty of learning, rope skills, river crossing, raffling, and rafting. The children are made to do:
· Rope skills
· First Aid Skills
· Nature Trail Walk
· Camp fires
The city kids get more exposure to nature. Naturalists accompany them and talk about the flora and fauna, Western Ghats, dependency of human on nature, human animal conflict, and importance of sustaining nature. The games have basic values added to it, such as staying in tents, sharing with others and other activities like spider web where one participant from each group has to pass the spider web without touching it which shows how they may need help of the team in impossible tasks. “We add on values giving them exposure to a safe atmosphere and experience.”
Preferred Age Group
About the preferred age group, Mr. Vishal says that it starts from 10 years and each year it differs based on the exposure and knowledge. For the 10-14 years kids’ camp, there are no activities like rafting except short ride, talks about nature, presentations, and games. For those above 14 years, there is trekking of longer duration, first aid skills, outdoor exposure, and rafting. The ones between 16 and 20 travel from one camp to the other, learn about survival skills, first aid scenario and develop leadership skills.
The size of the team usually is 4 kids and one leader from the company. The person in charge of the camp splits the groups into teams with two leaders, one in charge and one assistant. There will also be one skilled person for rafting, one naturalist, and leaders with special skills who lead the team.
Safety Measures Taken
When taking kids on such trips, “we follow British standard for safety which includes assessment of the area, study the risk of the route and take precautions.” They will be prepared with certified life jackets for rafting and qualified persons from North India for rope activities. One senior person from navy or army oversee the safety standards and monitor branded safety equipment and skilled persons. No electronic gadgets are allowed for the kids. The same is informed to them via mailers and FAQs on what to carry. The contact numbers of the leaders are given to the parents in case they want to contact.
A Special Experience
For last two camps there were two children who were suffering from autism. Our team put in lots of efforts to make them comfortable and give them some of the best experiences. Without any doubts we can say that those children enjoyed the most and went back home with many friends. Smiling faces of the children are the ultimate reward for the effort we put in.
The group is a mixed one with boys and girls and separate toilets are given to them. The biggest lesson for the kids is going out in a safe atmosphere and exposure to nature, scope to travel, and exposure from travel. The company usually gets a feedback that “kids see change in the life style, learn small values like sharing with friends, feeling confident” and better leadership skills after the camp. Mr. Vishal concludes “since we make money in travels, we give it back to the community by organizing these camps. That is the commitment we have.”
For more information, please visit: http://www.kalypsoadventures.com/
G 340, Panampilly Nagar
Kochi – 682036
Tel: +91 484 2092280, 401 2700