Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT IS THE CAMP SCHEDULE FOR SUMMER 2020?


2020 SCHEDULE: The camp will run from May 3rd to June 14th, 2020. The minimum enrollment period is one week.




WHAT ARE YOUR ENROLLMENT FEES?


Our fees are detailed on our application page.




WHAT ARE THE AGES OF THOSE WHO MAY APPLY?


We accept young people between the ages of 7 and 17.




WHAT ARE THE ACCOMMODATIONS LIKE?


Each room has four bunk beds and a private bathroom. The rooms are cheerfully decorated with art and textiles made in India. See our gallery for photos.




WHAT KIND OF FOOD DO YOU SERVE?


We are proud of our dietary offerings, as we follow a healthful meal plan, sourced mainly from our own organic vegetable garden and dairy cows. Influenced by the Edible Schoolyard Project of famed Berkeley chef Alice Waters—but with a Indian touch—we offer servings of fruits and dairy with every meal. In June we harvest mangoes, papayas, blackberries, and strawberries on our site for the children’s enjoyment. Meals are supplemented with rare heritage rice and whole grains from a respected farm in neighboring Tamil Nadu. Our open-air dining area overlooks an orchid-filled garden.

The farm grows coconut palms, lemongrass, guavas, amlas, and vegetables. It also includes an educational Ayurvedic garden. Campers are encouraged to participate in the daily activities of the farm, and to help harvest the produce for meals.

All of our food is prepared in a hygienic, FSSAI-certified kitchen, and water comes from a reverse osmosis water filter.




IS CAMP CARDAMOM RELIGIOUS?


Camp Cardamom leases space from Cure Monastery, an Ayurvedic retreat run by Catholic monks. However, the camp is not religious in nature and does not promote any one faith. We do discuss religion in the context of educating children about Indian history and culture. Camp staff includes people of many religious backgrounds. We welcome children of all faiths.




HOW DO WE REACH THE CAMP?


Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore International Airport is a three-hour drive from the camp on safe and reliable roads. The camp is a 1.5-hour drive from the tourist hotspot of Munnar, and a 4.5 hour drive from Kerala’s Cochin International Airport. Please see the Google Map on our home page. GPS does not work in the Marayoor Valley, so you will need to write down the directions before you head into the mountains.




CAN YOU PICK UP OUR CHILD FROM THE AIRPORT?


For campers who will be traveling without their parents, Camp Cardamom offers varying levels of concierge services for an extra fee. Our staff can meet your child at the Coimbatore International Airport or at an airport at one of the metros. You must notify us of this requirement when signing up for the camp.




CAN YOU HELP FACILITATE INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL TO THE CAMP?


For groups of a sufficient size we can accompany students on international flights. This service comes with a fee depending upon the airport, distance traveled, and the number of campers traveling together. We will help facilitate group travel arrangements whenever possible.




WILL MY CHILD BE SAFE AT THE CAMP?


Security & Operations Manager Girish Gopinath personally ensures that Camp Cardamom adheres to the best practices of site security and safety for all camp activities. Camp Cardamom guarantees a staff to student ratio of at least 1:3 and total enrollment is capped at 40 students. Students live with and are monitored by background-checked counselors 24/7. Male and female campers reside in separate accommodations and any mixing outside of regular camp activities is strictly prohibited. All Camp Cardamom staff complete a training and orientation session that is one of the longest and most extensive in our industry. Topics include transportation safety, health and wellness, abuse prevention and mandatory reporting, social and emotional well-being, youth development, wilderness travel skills, the camp policy regulating staff behavior and the ongoing development of a cohesive team of staff who are prepared to respond to the varied needs of participants. Staff specialists are trained in the best practices dictated by leading outdoor and adventure sports associations, including the American Red Cross (swimming and lifeguarding), the American Canoe Association (boating), the American Mountain Guides Association (rock climbing and trekking). We take additional guidance from Outward Bound and the Association of Experiential Education. All camp staff are trained in first aid. The camp stocks a full range of essential medicines. A doctor is on call at all times.




WHAT SHOULD I BRING TO CAMP?


Nights are cool and days are warm. Campers should bring sturdy closed-toe shoes, sandals, a hat, a swimsuit, and a light sweater. Rock climbing shoes are not required but are recommended. Students must dress in accordance with the local culture, which means no skimpy clothing. A full packing list will be included with camp enrollment materials.




WHAT IS YOUR POLICY ON PARENTAL CONTACT DURING CAMP?


Parents are not allowed to visit the camp except when picking up and dropping off their children. Students will periodically be allowed to call home using camp telephones. The camp does not allow parents to send care packages, but letters are allowed and encouraged.




WHAT IS YOUR POLICY ON ELECTRONIC DEVICES?


No electronic devices are allowed. This includes phones, tablets, computers, and radios.




HOW DO I APPLY?


Please complete our online application. We will then contact you to schedule a phone interview.




WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE THERE?


Camp Cardamom is located at an elevation of around 800 meters in the rain shadow of the Western Ghats, which means that it gets much less rain and humidity than other parts of Kerala during the summer monsoon season but also has cooler temperatures than most of Tamil Nadu. Average rainfall in the months of June and July is 200 to 300 mm. When rainfall does occur it usually does not last more than a few hours. Average daytime high temperatures are around 25ºC (77ºF) and average lows are 17ºC (63ºF). The temperate climate in the Marayoor Valley allows it to produce an incredible variety of produce, ranging from mangoes and bananas to peaches and strawberries.




WHAT CAN PARENTS DO IN THE AREA AFTER DROPPING OFF THEIR CHILDREN?


Possibliities include 3-hour trek in the nearby Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary to see the majestic Thoovanam Waterfalls, a visit to a local jaggery factory, or a drive through a nearby sandalwood forest. To learn more, please consult our activities list.




WHY CAN'T I SIMPLY PAY AND ENROLL ONLINE?


Camp Cardamom will never sacrifice convenience for safety. We won't ever sell seats online. To determine fitness we screen all guardians (we ask for photos and government IDs). We also conduct phone or video interviews with applicants. This can take time, but it is for the best, and leads to a better experience for all.





©2018 by Camp Cardamom.