I have been involved in my son’s, Rasmus, football team at the local Mölndal (Sweden) football club, Dalen Krokslätt FF, since he joined the club at the age of 6. Once in a while, we would organize a city break for families and friends of the club at the countryside surrounded by nature.
It is a great way for, not only the team to bond, but also an unique opportunity for some quality family time, as the parents came along. I wish that the many voluntary hours that I put into the club will make the sport experience of my son and his friends into a life long love for sports.
A break in nature for bonding and strengthening relationships
I believe that being out in nature is extremely important for our well -being and development. From a young age, I found that nature is the perfect place for activities and contemplation at the same time. For instance, we learned to get along with our own thoughts with the help of the natural environment. Similarly, the trees, sounds and smells are sources of inspiration. We used our creativity and imagination in ways that the city life does not allow us to do so.
For instance, Children of today are no longer looking for those empty fields or vast forests as their natural playgrounds, a place to create their own games and activities. Children are instead spending more time than ever sitting inside and “socializing” online.
I had on my bucket list to arrange a different kind of football camp, a city break in nature for the children and their families. The opportunity came along to organize a 3-day unique camp in nature when the children had a break from school and football practice.
Catch-up time with team and family members
I also really wanted to meet up with my sister and her kids, who I don’t get to see very often because they live in another city. This was a good opportunity to catch-up with them. After all, I had in mind a countryside meet-up were the team could bond with each other and with each other´s cousins, siblings and parents.
Luckily I knew that the perfect place, Ödevata countryside hotels. The resort is a green village, with a beautiful hotel and cottages on the shores of 2 lakes.
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Day 1 – Authentic countryside adventures
Ödevata is a natural “playground” with the lakes, forests, fields and great hiking trails. The farm animals, the sauna ramps, the teepee tent, the many horticulture projects, and the amazing “Aquaponics” greenhouse creates an abundance of things to see and places to hang out.
We did some camp activities, like playing “Kubb” (A typical outdoor Swedish game where the objective is to knock down the opponent’s king by throwing wood sticks), playing field football and taking a dip in the lakes.
The “no-waste and sustainability philosophy” of Malin and Magnus is all around and you have biodiversity at your fingertips. We spent some time in the beautiful glass-enclosed aquaponics greenhouse and learned more how to tend the plants. It is very relaxing.
The farm and the hotel
The countryside hotel in itself has nice rooms for two and up to three people. There are two kitchens and a conference room. There is enough space for the kids to socialize, as well as to create their own games and activities. A table tennis corner was set up in the conference room from three tables and instead of a net they just placed some jumpers in the middle.
We cooked our own food, with vegetables picked from the garden, in the spacious kitchen and all the kids helped out. We had a great family feeling and good for strengthening everyday collaboration and communication.
The fantastic surrounding nature and small-scale vegetable and fruit orchards inspired the football coaches and the kids to “think outside the box”. For instance, they developed new strategies and techniques they could use in their matches.
AD- Visit Ödevata Countryside hotels for a country break
Perhaps you are in Sweden on one of the many kids and youth tournaments, such as Gothia Cup, then stay some days and experience a different summer break adventure camp at Ödevata.
When you are staying at Ödevata countryside hotels, you package to choose from for an adventurous and relaxing vacation!
When you rent the whole hotel all activities are included. There is a special package deal when you come in the low season.
Day 2 – Lake adventures; hiking, sauna and canoeing
In the mornings and afternoons my sister and I hiked around the lakes. Malin showed us the best paths. The paths cut through beautiful dense forests and fantastic lake views.
We had such a wonderful time at Ödevata, the team decided to come back for the next October break, and we will try to convince the kids to go for a hike as part of the adventure, when different fun fitness activities are to be set up along a trail.
Cycling and hiking are popular outdoor activities in Sweden for all generations. In and around Ödevata´s beautiful spruce forests, there are long dwindling lanes and roads with no or little traffic. Some parents were keen to explore heritage sites and glass works, and the bike trails not far from Ödevata.
Sauna and canoeing
The children truly enjoyed the floating sauna on the lake. It is a Swedish outdoor wood burning sauna and is something everyone wanted to try. It is an inherent part of the Swedish Heritage. The preparation and execution require collaboration.
The kids worked together chopping wood and fetching water in the cold October lake. Magnus showed them how to make a fire and how to navigate the sauna ramp out in the lake. Furthermore, jumping into the freezing lake was great for creating their presence of mind.
Canoeing as a group is good fun. They ended up having a synchronised row by tying up the canoes and going around the lakes and canals as a single long line of canoes.
Day 3 – Fitness training on the farm
My sister is an outdoor fitness instructor and brought along some boxing gloves and fitness rubber bands. The kids, my sister and I joined in for a morning session with a view of the lake. We were all tired afterwards, but we were more awake than ever and more energy for the rest of the day.
Outdoor cooking experience
The outdoor cooking was amazing. The kids helped to drag the outdoor cooking kitchen to a strategic position outside the kitchen building. With the help of Malin, the kids started a fire with the wood they had chopped the previous day. She lent us pots, buckets, knives and peelers. We all had to help out.
She sent us to the farms root cellar to fetch locally produced potatoes, carrots and turnips. Just the size of the carrots the kids had to peel and slice, was an ice-breaker. The carrots were huge! Fetching the eggs from the hen house was something new for the kids and so was frying eggs over an open fire.
In addition, the cleaning up afterwards turned into a no waste lesson. Malin told us which of the peels we should recycle to feed the pigs. The rest was carried away and into the farm´s compost.
What are parents saying about the experience
“A big thanks to Eva, and the coaches for the Ödevata football Camp. A memory for life. The kids had a great time!” Daniela, mother of one of the players from Dalen Krokslätt FF.
“A huge thank you Eva, for everything you’ve done for the boys. Together they had an amazing experience!” Susanne, mother of two brothers who participated in the camp.
Future plans for coming back to Ödevata
Every day we run a workshop with the kids to increase their commitment and understanding how to manage a youth football team and club. We set goals and plan activities, but it’s up to them what they what to do.
For instance, the team decided that we will return to Ödevata in 2020. For our next trip, we are hoping that more parents and family members join in.
The main goal was to give them an unforgettable outdoor experience, encourage them to go outside and create everlasting friendships. I wanted to show the parents that this is a great way to bond with their kids.
Ödevata is a safe and friendly place. More importantly, the owners, Malin and Magnus, are amazing ” just-go-about-it” people. They have the power to inspire others through their work on the resort. The kids learned a lot from Ödevata´s no waste philosophy and participate in activities in nature.
I think we achieved those goals and we look forward to return in 2020!
The text is written by Eva, a football mom, sponsored by Daylight Motorhomes and Skanditrip Premium Motorhome rentals.