In this text I will write about a youth camp in the Alicante mountains. The reason is that GoNatureTrip is going international with a clear focus on values and the blue zones in the world. You and I will be learning about blue zone communities and how to create more through our visit to Alicante. I will take you on a journey of discovery and enlightment.
I am trying to find out more about what a “blue zone” is all about. It might be a place where your values align. There is an expression saying that wherever you place your hat is your home. These blue zones share several characteristics, such as strong community ties, low levels of stress, healthy diets, regular excersise, a sense of purpose, and the feeling of home.
I would say that a home is a place where you are at ease and where you feel that you can live in accordance with your values. I am talking about the values ingrained in you from childhood from your parents, grandparents and to some extent other people. The compass that forms your view of the world. So where am I going with all of this? Well, bear with me please.
GoNatureTrip going International
GoNatureTrip started as a group of small businesses in Sweden. The aim was to create digital platform to inspire people to take the road less travelled. In addition, we all believe that the small things in life are the most enjoyable. This is why, we have more and more moved into texts on Green zones and Blue zones. I am not sure if we have created business value (as defined by the business community)?
Nevertheless, I am convinced that if in my networking, I can create long-lasting friendships, then I have hit the jack-pot. To be able to find a common ground in terms of interest, concerns and projects is a an emotional gold mine.
GoNatureTrip World will start with a series on places and people around the world that wants to create a blue zone experience.
What are blue zones?
Blue zones are places where people thrive. Places where people live longer and healthier lives than anywhere else. Is it possible to create the same feeling anywhere is our question. Yes we believe that you can create places that ooze a sense of purpose and belonging and promotes that moderation is the way forward.
Also, a good laugh with friends and family is often key to your wellbeing. At the risk of spreading platitudes in this text I often feel lucky, that the “stars are aligned” and that I found places that feels like or could feel like home.
The Spanish blue zone trip
I am often in Alicante, Spain as I own Villa Balea, the home of my parents for many years. Over the years I have made many friends and every time I go there I try to catch up with them. Therefore, the first text of this series features an outdoor camp for children and youth in Alicante. Julio Tonda, an old friend, has built up, together with is partners, this fantastic place over the years.
So, I visited “Campament de Fontés” with my sons and their friends.
My sons were too old to join the outdoor camp. However, I remember that I wished that they have had a place like that to go to when they were smaller. Simply a place where they encourage comradeship and how to enjoy outdoors and the simple things in life.
Simply “Campament de Fontés”, creating and spreading blue zone environments with the youth?
One of the owner, Julio Tonda, showed us the place. He explained that they receive children and youth between the ages of 3 and 17 years of age. They have different groups at different times. On a really busy weeks they can have up to 400 children. However, “only” 200 can sleep-over. Many of the small children are from Alicante and come over the day during the hot summer days on the Mediterranean coast.
“An important value that we live by and want to transmit to the kids are living in harmony with each other and the nature”.
Consequently, when you walk around the camp you, can see that almost everything is made in natural materials.
Julio tells us about his love for woodworking. He has made much of the furniture, outdoors and indoors himself with the help of his father.
Julio is originally a physical education teacher and all the people working for him have similar backgrounds. This is an requirement in Spain. If you want to work with children, you need to have to have the right background.
The program and its core values
Julio and his team facilitate outdoor adventures and exercises apt to the different ages. To walk the talk Julio and his teams of instructors carry out activities that aim to strengthen the core values.
The surrounding, in the mountains of Castalla, is stunning and fill you with a feeling of bliss.
Julio explains “With our programme we want to show the kids that respect, sharing, helping each other, physical exercise and having fun in the sun are the things that matter in life.”
In addition, Julio also tells us he cooks all meals on site. He is a keen home-cook himself and has a keen interest in traditional Spanish wholesome dishes.
“I do most of the cooking myself. It is hard work to cook for 200 children but very fulfilling. In an era of fast-food children from outside Alicante might find it strange at first to eat local dishes such ‘arroz con verdura’ or ‘Guisado con Carne Fidegua’. I use a lot of veggies and you know kids today,” says Julio with a laugh.
Julio continues, “But after one week I feel sure that I have at least planted a seed in their minds. Good food is made with love.”
A place for young food lovers
There are several typical delicious Alicante dishes on the meny. I am really envious and would like to be a kid again.
Here comes a selection of the dishes that the kids are served:
- Olleta, a rice dish from Alicante.
- Gazpachos Montaña, mountain style Gazpacho typical in the Alicante mountain
- Fidegua is a Mediterranean dish and an important ingredient is the fish stock. I will ask Julio how it is made
- One of Julios specialty are the Cocas saladas. It is an ancient flatbread savoury dish with topping such as anchovies and different vegetables. For the topping the secret is to find locally produced ingredients of the highest quality. The basis of a coca is a delicious dough, usually made with water, olive oil, flour and yeast,
- Escalibada, a great dish for vegetarian. It is a traditional dish in several parts of Spain and consist of grilled vegetables. Typical are eggplant and bell peppers, onion, tomato and of course excellent olive oil. At Fontes they have their own olive trees and have produced their own olive oil.
- Arroz tres sabores
- Macarrones con atún
For Julios recipe of his famous “Arroz con Verdura” or “Guiso de Carne Fidegua” for large quantities of hungry kids please see our next article where I do a in-depth interview with Julio.
To find out more information on Campament Fontés, please see their website (In Spanish)