Barracudas Activity Day Camps began in 1992. Neil Greatorex had worked in the industry both in the UK and Australia and had a vision to offer an amazing experience to kids in the school summer holidays.
Activity camps at that time were very different to what children can expect today! There were just a small number of them in the UK. Early camps offered kids something different to do in the holidays and children loved the new experience. Whether they came along to break up the long school break, or because their parents had to work, they offered something new and exciting. These first school holiday camps whilst exciting, weren’t perfect. The breadth of activities certainly doesn’t match what’s on offer now and they weren’t yet the organised holiday clubs we’ve come to love.
Having worked in the industry, Neil had a vision for a new kind of multi activity camp. Right from the start, Barracudas was driven by a commitment to delivering an amazing experience for every child. He pushed the boundaries to offer an unrivalled number of activities to suit all interests - something we still do today! Group sizes were capped so that every child had the opportunity to take part in our full range of activities. Barracudas also recognised how important it was to get the right team on board to be able to deliver the highest quality camp for children. Kids have never been a number at Barracudas and we’ve always been committed to providing the very best experience.
Back then, our camps were staffed entirely from personal contacts, filling a variety of roles to get the job the done to the highest standards. They might not have gone through the same stringent recruitment process as we operate now, but even then expectations were high and only the best would do. Barracudas wouldn’t have lasted long if it had been any other way!
Barracudas holiday clubs began with just two camps; one at Woodford (where we still operate today!) and one in Leatherhead. We had just 50 children at our first summer camp at Leatherhead and 30 at Woodford. Operating for just 7 weeks in the summer between them. These first camps were the start of something great. Barracudas wanted to offer kids more than a sports club in the school holidays. We introduced new activities to children that they would never have had the opportunity to do before. Kids had the chance to try new things like archery and go-karts and fun sports as well as having the option of arts and crafts sessions whilst at camp. Barracudas really did offer something for every child.
Right from the early days, professionalism was at the heart of Barracudas. With modest resources, the highest standards of care were expected. Barracudas rose to the challenge and achieved what it set out to. The first holiday clubs delivered such an amazing experience for every child that they couldn’t wait to come back. It may have started from humble beginnings but even then had the same values that sets us apart today; communication, fun, innovation, personal development, professionalism, teamwork. Barracudas promised fun for the kids who attended our holiday clubs and attracted great staff by also being a great place to work.
Without Neil’s vision for a new camp offering Barracudas wouldn’t have survived its first year. The team worked hard and the kids had a blast!
If you missed The Life & Soul of Barracudas Part 1 - The Vision you can read it here. You can get insights into the first stages of development of Barracudas Activity Day Camps here!