BAL

F.A.Q.s

General

Do we have to bring bedlinen, or a sleeping bag?

It is not necessary since we provide everyone with clean bedding each week, however, you may bring your own for comfort.

Essentials to bring

• Clean clothes for a week (Those who stay for multiple weeks may use the washing machines at the camp)
• Hygiene products
• Suitable clothing and protection for changing weather (e.g. raincoat, sunscreen, baseball cap)
• For the full list, please refer to the Parents’ Information Bulletin, sent to parents via email 2 to 3 weeks before your chosen week

What should be brought for classes?

For most classes, we kindly ask your child to bring suitable clothing (windsurfing, SUP, golf, horseback riding, dance, sports, art).
Special equipment will be provided, but you may bring your own (e.g. tennis racquet, helmet, neoprene suit).

Special equipment will be provided, but if you have your own (e.g. tennis racket, cobak, neoprene suit) you can bring it with you. For some classes everyone works on their own equipment (photography), see the subpage for each class for more information.

For the full list, please refer to the Parents’ Information Bulletin, sent to parents via email 2 to 3 weeks before your chosen week.

Healthcare

My child is taking medicine daily which has to be refrigerated. Can they do it in camp?

If your child is taking medicine regularly, please note that on the registration form, say it in person during check-in and ensure that your child has a sufficient dose for the week. Make sure to also bring the instructions to the medicine and consult with our camp doctor. You will be asked to sign a declaration form that we secured your medicine and we will also store it in a fridge if necessary.

Is there a doctor in the camp?

We have two medical students in their last year who are available 24/7 during the camp.

What do I have to do if my child does not have a Hungarian health insurance card (TAJ)?

If your child is not registered to the Hungarian national health system, but has a European Health Insurance Card please bring that or a copy of it. If your child has neither of these, then it is necessary to get travel insurance: we cannot allow participation for non-insured children.

The price of the camp includes a supplementary accident-insurance provided by Uniqa, however, as it can be seen in its name, it cannot replace a general health insurance.

Is there anything to do if my child has a health issue or specialist diet?

If, for some reason, your child requires particular medical attention (e.g. allergic reactions, ADHD, asthma, etc.), please make sure to tell us both on the registration form and when checking in at the camp so we can ensure your child’s safety. The same applies to special diets: please specify your needs on the registration form so we can provide the right catering for them.

Catering

Is there a refrigerator in the camp?

There is a fridge in both the main and the new building for children to use. However, we would like to request that children do not bring any perishable food to the camp if possible, as daily meals are provided for everyone.

What can be purchased at the snack bar?

Drinks, snacks, crisps, ice cream, and sweets, as well as hot food like sandwiches and pizza slices can be bought. Apart from that, we provide our campers with water and fruits for free throughout the day and have our own snack point where quick and nutritious food is available (e.g. porridge, soup).

How many meals are provided every day at the camp?

Since 2020, we have added a 4th meal of the day: besides our usual three meals a day (breakfast, hot lunch and hot dinner), we are introducing the “Snack Point”, where our campers can choose from small meals (porridge, a cup of soup or a croissant) once a day, also included in the camp fee. The Snack Point will be open  in the mornings during the long break between the two classes. Moreover, we will still be offering fresh fruits every morning between the classes, something different every day!

Can I request special catering? Until when can I change my menu requests?

The following menus are available at the Camp:

  • Regular menu
  • Vegetarian menu
  • Regular without pork menu
  • Lactose-free menu (will send doctor’s note in email)
  • Milk protein-free menu (will send doctor’s note in email)
  • Gluten-free menu (non-celiac, so cross-contamination is not a problem; will send doctor’s note in email)
  • Gluten-free menu (celiac, cross-contamination-free menu necessary; will send doctor’s note in email)
  • NON-severe allergy to peanuts or other nuts (may eat food labelled ‘contains traces of nuts’)
  • Other special dietary needs – if feasible (contact and doctor’s note necessary)

*Important: when applying, please note that campers eat in the same place as other campers, so even in the case of cross-contamination-free meals prepared in a separate kitchen, it is not 100% certain that gluten is not in the air.

Unfortunately, we cannot provide:

  • Vegan meals
  • Cross-contamination-free meals for campers with severe allergies to peanuts or other nuts

All our campers who for health reasons need a lactose-free, milk protein-free, gluten-free or completely individual diet will receive hot meals from a specialised external supplier. All this is available in limited quantities, subject to medical certification, but at the same price as the normal menu. Considering the range of suppliers, the fulfilment of an individual diet must be subject to special assessment in each case, so please contact us by email as soon as possible if you are concerned! If a special diet is not required due to a health problem, we can provide the “basic” menus for our campers, which are: regular, vegetarian and regular without pork. It is possible to change the menu in writing at the latest by the Monday of the week preceding the session. No changes will be possible on the spot.

Values and safety - Homesickness

Is there a safety deposit?

Bringing mobile phones or other electronic devices to the camp is not recommended, but it is not forbidden either. The camp administration does not take responsibility for belongings brought to Funside. However, our administration staff runs a free safety deposit, where valuables can be kept safely during the day.

My child cannot swim. Is this a problem?

If your child is not confident in deep water, they will not be allowed to take part in windsurfing and SUP classes. They can, however, go to the beach with us and play in the shallow water with our supervision. 

Is there anyone to keep our children safe during the night?

Naturally, children are safe at the campsite 24 hours a day. While the camp leaders do not share rooms with the campers, our camp also has a 24/7 reception, to whom children can turn to may they have any issues during the night. Also, our camp has on-site medical assistance, may there be any emergencies.

Who are the teachers and the group leaders?

Funside camp leaders are a young, energetic and dedicated group of people who are there to guarantee we all have a great time. We take their selection very seriously, as it can be seen by our 3 step application process. It begins with an online questionnaire, where we first find out how professional and motivated candidates are. The best applicants based on the questionnaire will upload a video interview of themselves, answering 10 questions about their most relevant camping experiences. After that they take part in a group audition, where 20-25 people show us not only their pedagogical and social skills, but we also look at how they behave as and with children, by making them play the activities they will eventually be holding. Finally, every member of our staff is required to take part in our orientation weekend, where the learn the practical skills and the schedules of a Funside Balaton camp. Each year we try our best to provide the best education and safety for our campers by choosing the right members of staff.

We forgot something at the camp, is it possible to return it to us?

Lost valuables and clothes are constantly collected in the camps and put on a table, so that whoever is looking for something can find it. When leaving the camp, our group leaders will specifically tell the child to check the lost and found table – located next to the reception – to avoid the awkward “where are your blue sweaters and sneakers?” questions at home. Also, for younger children, it is a good idea to initial the labels. We will keep your lost and found items for a few weeks after the last tour of our Balaton camp. Until 31 August, the end of the summer, you can pick up your lost and found items left at the camp!

Communication during the camp

Can I talk to the Funside staff during the camp? How can I get in touch with my child?

Our camp leaders are always available during the week. We will be sending detailed information through email later.

Which part of the day should I call my child?

We have two phone numbers (camp phones) which we have exclusively for parents to call if they want to talk to their children. As we do not recommend bringing phones to the camp, we advise you to get in touch through this option. We would also like to ask you not to call during classes (9 am – 1 pm). We will specify daily schedules and camp numbers a few weeks prior to the camp via email.

Can I visit my child in the camp? What happens if they are homesick?

Generally, parents can come and visit during the camp, but we only advise this for those who stay for multiple weeks. We would like to ask you to give us a notice if you are planning on visiting. We advise you to visit on Saturday (between 3-8 pm), however, visitors are not allowed to take part in activities together with the camper.

 Younger children, especially those who are spending time away from home for the first time, tend to feel homesick in the first few days. This reaction is totally natural and for this, our team is wholly prepared. The moment we realize somebody is having a hard time, we will act immediately. We always get in touch with the parents first and ask to let our trained staff help the child find their way instead of parental advising over the phone. Immediately after seeing that someone is homesick, our team will try to keep them constantly entertained and make them realize that they are here for a good time, surrounded by great people. Despite common belief, we do not advise parents to keep in close touch with their children in this period, as our experiences show that this would only make it harder for the kids. Make sure you get in touch with us if you have any worries about your child going to a camp for the first time.

Application and participation in the camp

For how long should my child stay?

Usually, we do not recommend a specific length of stay as parents should know the best how long their child can enjoy themselves away from home. If your child has already been in camps for a longer period, then staying for more than a week should not be an issue. Many of our campers choose our long camps (two weeks straight), but more and more stay for three or even more weeks – they usually become very comfortable and become part of the community.

How do I know if my child got a place for a specific class?

We will be sending email confirmations via email within days after registration. You can read about the registration process here.

I cannot fill in the registration form, I cannot select the camps I want to.

Our registration form only displays the classes that match the age requirements for the campers. If you cannot see any classes in the list, please kindly check if you have filled in the age of the child correctly in the corresponding question.

Can my child go to the camp on a day camp basis, not spending the nights at the camp?

This is not possible at our Balaton camp. This has pedagogical reasons: those who leave in the afternoon will miss the activities at night and spending time with the others in their rooms. This hinders social integration, which would ensure your child is having a good time in our camp. We believe it is our duty is to provide everyone with the same experience.

We are on holiday nearby, can my child join the activities?

No. In order to take part, you must be a camper at Funside Balaton.

Why can’t we choose double windsurfing classes?

Of the various classes, only English, Native English, Sports, Art and Dance can be chosen for 4 hours a day (with new material for each time period). The other classes cannot be chosen double, you must find another class to go with them.

Can I extend my child’s stay while they are there?

It is possible, however it depends on availability. If you are initially considering multiple weeks, we recommend you book them in advance as we usually fully sold out well in advance.

Cancellation policy

What happens if my child cannot take part due to an illness?

In case of cancellation due to illness or any other reason prior to the camp, the Camp Organizers will try their best to find someone from the waiting list to take over the place in question. If another Child (a newly signed up camper or someone from our waiting list) is able to take the place of the Child at the camp, then only the 5% service fee is charged, the remainder of the standard camp fees is fully refunded. If the cancelled camp is a premium camp, then then ‘extra fee’ of the premium class (e.g. the extra cost of Windsurfing, Horseback riding etc.) is only refunded if the newly signed up camper chooses the same class; otherwise this cost is not refunded. In order to have the best chance of a full refund, it is best to notify the Organizers as early as possible about a potential cancellation. It’s never a good idea to join the camp while being ill – should this be the case, please get in touch with our team as early as possible so that we can find the best solution for you.

In case the Organizers are unable to fill the place in question (there is nobody on the waiting list able to take over the place), then due to the costs regarding housing, meals, personal costs etc. in connection with that place already partially or fully spent, refunds may only be issued with the following conditions:
– A 95% of the full camp fee is refunded if the cancellation happens up to the Monday two weeks before the given camp week (only a 5% service fee is charged from the full camp fee). If the cancellation happens following this date but up to the Wednesday before the given camp week, then 80% of the full camp fee is refunded. Any cancellation that happens from Thursday to Saturday before the given week permits a 50% refund of the camp fees. In case of no show or a withdrawal from the camp after the camp week has begun, no refund is issued.
In the case of the Camper getting ill during the Camp, forcing them to leave the Camp or spending time in isolation within the Camp, the Organisers cannot be held responsible and the illness does not provide ground for a refund.

If the authorities impose mandatory quarantine on the Camper and thus they cannot continue participating in a week which has already begun, there is no ground for a refund.

Cancellations must always be made in writing. Refunds are then issued within 30 days of the cancellation to the person who made the original payment.

What happens if the class or the week is cancelled?

Our camps usually operate with a full house plus a waiting list, so a whole week to be missed is highly unlikely and has never happened before. However, there is always a possibility that for a given class, there may not be enough people for your child to be in a group and study at the same level. In this case, we will inform you beforehand. If it does happen, then you may choose another class, or another week, when the specific class will be held. If neither of them is ideal for you, you can get full refund.

In case overnight (sleepover) camps become legally prohibited by the Hungarian government in 2024, and therefore the camp cannot go ahead this year, and this legal measure takes effect prior to 1 June 2024, anyone who has already made a payment is eligible for a full refund, or a voucher for next year’s camp of the same value, whichever one the payer prefers. The voucher cannot be later exchanged to cash.

In case overnight (sleepover) camps become legally prohibited by the Hungarian government in 2024, and therefore the camp cannot go ahead this year, and this legal measure takes effect on 1 June 2024 or later, anyone who has already made a payment will receive a voucher of the same value. The voucher can be redeemed in 2025, for Funside Balaton summer camps. The voucher cannot be exchanged to cash.

Can I cancel a camp with extra costs?

In case a camper keeps their booking but cancels or substitutes a ‘premium fee’ class (e.g. Windsurfing, Horseback riding etc.) up to the Monday two weeks before the given camp week, the full cost of the extra fee is refunded. If the cancellation happens following this date but up to the Wednesday before the given camp week, then 80% of the extra fee is refunded. Any cancellation that happens from Thursday to Saturday before the given week permits a 50% refund of the extra fees. In case the class is cancelled by the camper or the parent on the first day of camp, or later, then no refund is issued for the extra fee.

Room allocation

On what basis are groups and rooms allocated?

• Room allocation: we assign children to different rooms based on their age and gender. In practice, this means that in one room, there can only be either only boys or only girls with no more than 2 years of difference in age (e.g. 10-12). If your child wants to be in the same room with a specific someone or a group of people (siblings, relatives, friends), please specify that in the registration form and we will try our best to make it happen.
• Group allocation: for our afternoon and evening activities, organisation units will be so-called double groups. These consist of two small groups, 8 girls and 8 boys from the same age (e.g. 12-13 y/o boys and 12-13 y/o girls make up one double group). Each small group has one group leader, thus making it two for a double group. In most activities, they will be playing together, however, in some cases, games may require them to move individually. These groups are based on the rooms (thus they are roughly the same age). Including all our members of staff (camp doctor, media staff, teachers and volunteers), there is a 5:1 kid-to-member of staff ratio, meaning that 1 responsible person is looking after no more than 5 children.

I forgot to request my friend as a roommate, can I do that after I’ve submitted the form?

Yes, it is possible, but please make sure to give us an e-mail notice too.

Can two siblings be in the same group and room?

It depends on their age and gender. If there is no more than 2 years between them they can be in the same group, and if they are both the same gender, being in one room is no problem either.

Questions regarding finance

Should my child bring cash to the camp?

Upon arrival, every camper gets a wristband with their own ID number. They can use this to pay at the snack bar, so they do not have to carry cash. If they still do, however, they can leave their wallets at the safety deposit. In programmes outside the camp (e.g. at the Aquapark), they can get cash out from their snack bar accounts and use that.

How does payment work with wristbands? What happens if my child runs of their money?

The snack bar is ran by a third party, but we have agreed to keep it cashless for our campers. Upon arrival, parents can deposit money onto their child’s snack bar account, which can later be used by the kid by saying their name and personal code. We recommend 5000- 10.000 HUF a week, but you may deposit more money if you want. If you need to top it up during the week, please let us know in an email – this can later be paid when picking up the child at the end. If the camper does not use up all the money on their account, the remaining funds will be refunded.

Can I pay for the camp in instalments?

You can choose to pay in instalments in the Payment section of the sign-up form. We will send you a separate monthly pro forma invoice for the chosen instalments (2 or 3 pcs).

You can choose 3 monthly instalments for registrations submitted by April 1, 2024 on the sign-up form.

You can choose 2 monthly instalments for registrations submitted by May 1, 2024 on the sign-up form.

After May 1, 2024, only single amount payment can be chosen for the 2024 summer season.

Can I pay for the camp by Erzsébet voucher?

Unfortunately, we cannot accept Erzsébet vouchers. We can, however, accept payments from Széchenyi Recreation Cards.

How can I pay with SZÉP card?

Funside Balaton camps can be paid for partially or wholly by SZÉP cards’ recreation accounts. Each Hungarian bank has its own way of payments, for more information please check this site. We accept K&H SZÉP card, OTP SZÉP card, MKB SZÉP card. 

If I choose two different classes, does that mean that the costs will increase?

 The camp’s base fee includes two basic camps, so choosing two of those will not increase the price (e.g. from a tennis-English combination, both classes are in the basic category, so the price of the week will remain the base fee).

Windsurfing, or other camps at extra costs can be paired up with basic classes – this will mean that only the former will carry extra charges. Logically, if you combine two camps with extra costs, both of them will raise the overall price to the given extent.

All prices and combinations are available on our website here.

Is there a discount for siblings?

Unfortunately, we do not have such discount for siblings. Please find our price chart here.

How do I know if my payment has been processed?

We will be sending out confirmation emails after every payment you make. If you do not receive this in a few days after your transfer, please contact us.

What is the last time I can pay the camp fees?

If you choose to pay in one amount (bank transfer or card payment via Barion): within 21 days of the confirmation of your registration – applies for all registrations that are made before June 10, 2024. For any new registration received after June 10, the payment deadline is 14 days of the confirmation of your registration or 3 days when your chosen camp starts in less than 2 weeks after the date of registration.

If you choose to pay in 2 or 3 equal monthly installments (only for bank transfers): within 8 days of the date on each pro forma invoice (2 or 3 pcs). 

Traveling and arrival

When do we have to arrive on day 1?

Check-in is always on Sundays, from 11 am to 2 pm. If you cannot make it during this time period, please let us know through an email so we can make amends.

When can I pick up my child at the end?

Check out is always on Saturdays, from 10 am to 1 pm. I f you cannot make it during this time period, please let us know through an email so we can make amends.

My child is coming by train. What do they have to know?

If your child is taking the train, please book the ticket to Becehegy station. The campsite is located on the outskirts of Balatongyörök, so the town’s main station is too far from us. If you let us know their time of arrival, one of our colleagues can pick your child up and walk to the camp together on request.

How does group travel work to Funside?

Budapest bus transfer: campers have the option to travel in a group, supervised by our teachers, from Budapest to the camp venue and back, by bus. Advance sign-up is necessary: if you would like to join a group, please kindly mark this option on your sign-up form. The group, supervised by our teachers, this year will have a private bus service on the Budapest (Kelenföld) – Balatongyörök (the camp) route. We will notify all signed up campers 2 to 3 weeks before their chosen week, about the specific details and itinerary.

Can I sign up for the bus after the registration?

Yes, but it is subject to availability. Places are limited and are primarily given to those who applied initially. Please get in touch with us, and hopefully we will be able to find a solution.

We cannot make it to check-in/check out. What can we do?

Please let us know through email or phone if you cannot come to the given time periods. Our office is open from 8 am until 8 pm every day. We can only deal with transport queries (e.g. letting the child travel alone by train) during these hours.

Questions regarding classes

When do we decide what classes to take?

They have to be decided in advance (in the registration form) as places are limited to each camp. These can later be amended if there are spaces left on other courses.

We are not sure which class to choose. We just want to improve our child’s language skills.

If your main goal is to improve during the camp, then we recommend double classes (2×2 hours a day, making it 20 in one week). However, you cannot choose another camp alongside this.

We would like to choose native English, but we are not sure if it is the right level. What should we do?

If you cannot decide, you may request a preliminary test, however we mostly rely on spoken language skills. It might be useful to enquire in the child’s school if they have reached an A2 level. You may check the different types of language courses we have here.

I have chosen windsurfing first, does that mean I will be doing that in the first block?

Not necessarily: schedules can change based on availability and other factors (e.g. if the child would be considerably younger/older than others in the same block, they might be placed to another).

Can my child be together in the same class as their friend?

You may want to signal that on the registration form, however, class allocations are based on multiple factors, hence there is no way to guarantee them being together. This is especially true for language classes, where groups are determined based on skills.

Does my child have to write the placement test in the camp or beforehand?

Placement tests are done at the beginning of the camp. You may only need a preliminary test if you are unsure whether to choose a native class or not.

Do I necessarily have to choose two classes for the morning?

In Funside, you have to choose 2×2 hours’ worth of classes for the morning. These are done by lunch and the afternoon and the evening will be full of fascinating activities together.

Activities

What will the children do between the end of one and the start of the next week?

For those who stay for multiple weeks, we arrange a range of activities from Saturday afternoon until Sunday morning. These are obviously less active as they are during the week, as we have noticed that children appreciate easier days following a busy week of adventures. They are also usually not accompanied by the same teachers as they were during the week, as we have to provide enough time for our staff to relax as well. From Sunday morning though, everything is back to the normal pace and adventures resume!

What happens if a specific course or activity cannot be held because of the weather?

Most of our courses can be held regardless of the weather (e.g. languages, technologies, arts), as our campsite has numerous inside spaces. Some of our afternoon and evening activities can also be held inside, but for those which cannot, we always guarantee an equally entertaining activity inside. If bad weather would affect some larger programmes (e.g. Aquapark), we will try our best to reschedule it. If bed weather can be foreseen, we might change the weekly schedule so it will not affect such activities – we will inform you about any changes. However, we cannot guarantee a refund for specific activities as all weeks cost the same, regardless of the activities.

Sports camps (sports, American sports, golf, tennis): in case we have to cancel specific classes due to weather conditions, we will try our best to reschedule and catch up with these. You may change classes, but it is subject to availability and only allowed if unfavourable conditions remain for multiple days. We would also like to emphasize the need to bring baseball camps to every outdoors class as the heat usually does more harm than the rain.
Horseback riding: classes will not be cancelled in cold or damp weather. Therefore, please make sure to bring long trousers and raincoats. If the classes are held in worse conditions and your child does not have the necessary clothing, we cannot let them participate. In this case, there is no way of rescheduling either.
 Windsurfing and SUP: classes will not be cancelled in cold or damp weather and teachers will ensure safety by keeping an eye on storm signals. If necessary, neoprene suits will be provided for windsurfing/paddling. In the complete lack of wind, children will do windsurfing theory on the beach.

Age limits

My child is just younger than 8. Can they still apply?

If they have passed year 1 of elementary school and they are over 7 at the start of the camp, they may still apply.

I saw that children aged 8-17 can come to the camp, but what does that mean in practice? Is there an average age?

As we host 250 children each week, there is a true variety and every age group is roughly evenly represented every week.

Alumni

Where and how can I apply?

Partaking is on an invitational bases, our oldest campers receive them on their last day at Funside as a kid. The Funside team itself chooses those who can become Alumni members, so it is certainly an honour to be a part of the team.

Is each alumni member admitted? What happens if too many apply for the same week?

We can only host 5 volunteers each week. In case of more applications, the organizers will decide who can come.

Can I apply to more than one week?

Multiple week applications are decided based on demand and in-office consultation.

So alumnis do not pay for the camp but neither do they get paid?

Yes. Alumni members are technically volunteers, who do not have to pay for accommodation and catering, however they do not get a salary either.

What do they have to do?

• Help in waking up the camp and controlling Funside radio
• Help preparing activities alongside our senior members
• Keeping posters in the theatre room up to date
• Checking name lists and attendance (e.g. catering)
• Helping the Funside media team
• Helping the team in cleaning and doing other chores (e.g. moving bean bags, refilling water tanks, washing cups)
• Helping the reception team
• Occasional drop-in help for stations in activities

International camp

Which countries do people come from to Funside?

Funside Balaton is the country’s largest international camp, visited by children from around 50 countries each year. You can check the full list here.

What does it mean that the camp’s official languages are Hungarian and English?

Because of our international scope, we were obliged to make Funside bilingual. This means that every activity is explained in both languages and we translate all the signs and posters too. It is necessary for every camper to speak either of these languages at least on a communication level in order to be able to voice concerns, understand rules and feel safe around others. Our team also has numerous German teachers, so if somebody is more confident in German than in English, it should not be an issue either.

In language classes, discussions will always be on the target languages. Most of our teachers also try to make sure to translate everything in other, non-language based classes (e.g. in different sports). There are, however, some courses where we unfortunately cannot provide education in both languages, so they continue to be available only in Hungarian (e.g. media camps).

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