Why don't we do American-style residential summer camps for kids in the UK? Disgruntled dad of three and ex-New Yorker Dudley Ward wants to know, and he's pretty worked up about it.
Actually, Dudley, we do do them – very well, thank you. Last year saw record numbers of kids in the UK being packed off for fun and adventure with their friends while their parents earned their daily crust.
And we'll be doing them even better this summer, thanks to the Department for Children, Schools and Familes and its new £12m scheme to help the Youth Hostel Association to run its summer camps for 10-16-year-olds (01629 592530; doit4real. co.uk). These residential weeks follow the US model, with team leaders and lots of adventures.
The range of activities is extensive: the most popular include Extreme Camps, which promise paintballing, quad biking and team challenges. Other camps focus on watersports, performance art and navigation skills, and there are even Urban Vibe weeks, held in Sussex, where cool dudes get to learn to DJ under the guidance of music industry pros who have worked with everyone from Leona Lewis to the Sugababes.
Do it 4 Real has just started taking bookings, and, thanks to the extra funding, prices have been reduced this year. They range from £49 to £299 per week, with accommodation, activities and food included.
Better get in there quick, Dudley; Brits are catching on fast.