We wanted to share the story of Barracudas to give you some insights into the ethos behind our school holiday activity camps and the principles we’re built on. We’ve already let you in on the early days and the first Barracudas camps. Now it’s time to share our first stages of development.
Barracudas started with two camps in 1992, with 80 children attending between them. Barracudas was a fledgling operation with strong defining principles committed to delivering quality care and amazing fun so that parents and kids wanted to return season after season.
In 1995, just 3 years after we first opened our doors, Barracudas moved into their first office in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. By this point we had 5 activity camps and were successfully delivering an amazing experience to over 2,000 children in Chelmsford, Egham, Harrow, Leatherhead and Woodford.
Barracudas Activity Day Camps was in its early stages of growth, building upon the core values of communication, fun, innovation, personal development, professionalism, teamwork. At this stage the camps were staffed by personal contacts and our camp staff joined us on personal recommendation and word of mouth. Even as a new venture, people were keen to come on board as our reputation as a fun place to work went before us. Each season Barracudas easily filled our camp roles. Having such an enthusiastic team meant that our camps were fun, welcoming and exciting places for the kids to come to in the school holidays. We’re pleased to say, that it’s still the same today!
With a hands on approach, Neil Greatorex, Barracudas' Founder, knew the majority of our seasonal staff personally and knew what an asset each of them were for our camps. Of course, as a highly professional company, we still performed all the required checks needed to be able to look after children in an activity camp setting! This uncomplicated hiring process is something our Recruitment team would dream about today!
Right from the start, it was Barracudas’ mission to not just give kids a safe place to go in the school holidays, but to give them such an amazing experience that they couldn’t wait to come back. We were determined to offer maximum fun to every child who attended our summer camps. We only chose venues that offered all the space and facilities needed to be able to run the best sessions. New camps were added only if they matched our long list of requirements. This was as much a challenge as we first grew our camps as it is today, but one we wouldn’t compromise on - and still don’t!
Whilst it’s all about the fun that kids have at camp, we’ve always taken our obligations towards child safety and development very seriously. Barracudas has always had stringent processes in place behind the scenes to meet these standards of care. In the early days our camps were inspected by Social Services and since Ofsted was formed under the Education (Schools) Act 1992 we've had regular inspections. We’re proud that we’ve been rated Outstanding by Ofsted more times than any comparable provider over the years.
So, with our core values and high standards, Barracudas Activity Day Camps had established a great reputation amongst parents and staff as well as professional regulators - and most importantly, the kids! With the first stages of growth underway, Barracudas had established itself as an exceptional local provider.