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ALTERNATIVE LIVES ENDLESS SUMMERS


Summer holiday experiences where kids learn, make friends, and relax … all without their parents!


We are all counting down the hours to those long, warm, summer days . . . but many of us don’t have the luxury of spending endless holidays with our children. The reality of life keeps us in the offi ce and worried about what to do with the kids, especially as they become older, more active, more easily bored . . .


In the US, the culture of summer camps has a long history. Not so in the UK. But there are now a growing number of amazing, unique and original holiday experiences that children can have without having to tag their parents along with them. Summer camps, art schools, sport and music academies and language centres both at home and abroad, for example, all give children the opportunity to gain some independence away from the family.


Eds Up looks at some ideas and meets a couple who have taken the road less travelled to set up their very own summer school in France …


France – the art of living


In the mid-nineties, Alisa Rosseter was an Account Executive for a software company in Los Angeles. She was always on planes, on the go, with little time to enjoy herself, until she decided to take a rock climbing class to try and bring some joy back into her life. The class changed her life. Her teacher, Bruce Anderson,


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an artist, climber, and all-around free spirit, became a good friend, sharing camping weekends rock climbing, away from the pressurised bubble of life in LA.


After a year of being good friends, Bruce fi nally asked Alisa out to lunch. And after a few years together, Alisa took the brave jump to quit her job. Some fantastic trips abroad, travelling and climbing, followed but Alisa knew that, although she didn’t want to go back to full time work, she wanted to do something.


An idea sparked by Bruce to bring art to kids became, within the matter of a few weeks, Art-Works Studio and in 2000 they opened in Culver City, CA teaching the fundamentals of painting and drawing to children aged 6 to17. The business grew and grew. In 2002, they took their fi rst trip to France and their love affair with the country began. Says Alisa: “As Art-Works grew, we’d still fi nd time each year to run away for a few weeks to explore another corner of France. In France we felt free, at home,


and relaxed. We both knew that we would live in this beautiful country someday.” So, in 2008 they took a sabbatical to southwest France in the Midi Pyrénées region: “By the end of our stay we knew we wanted to share this amazing place with others, especially youth. We wanted to open some eyes and change some lives. And so, Raison d’Art was born.”


In May 2010, they sold Art-Works to a client and in July brought their fi rst group of nine teenagers aged between 13 and 17 to France for a life-changing experience of art, activities and learning about the French way of life. “Kids are so overscheduled and pressurised to be on track for each next step of their life, we thought that this could be a powerful experience where we could show them a life that was much slower and much more connected with the land and people around,” says Bruce. “The trip turned out to be a magical, amazing experience and extremely rewarding for us too. It felt like this was exactly what we wanted to do.”


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