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Bootcamp - Frequently Asked Questions

Postby Catrin Lliar » Thu Jun 28, 2012 7:41 pm

If the All you need to know about Bootcamp thread hasn't answered your question, then have a look at our growing list of FAQs below...

Q: How many Bootcamps are there during the year?
A: There are usually 4/5 Bootcamps a year, all depending on the availability of the leaders (Iestyn&Cat/Aran&Catrin) and the availability of the venue where Bootcamp is held (The Ganolfan in Tresaith/self catering cottages in Pen Llŷn), and of course the demand from our learners.

Q: At what time of year are Bootcamps held?
A: Bootcamps are usually held in once a month in the spring and summer (April/June/July and sometimes August). But this is subject to change because of the factors mentioned in the question above and there may sometimes be Bootcamps held 'out of season' depending on demand.

Q: On what dates are Bootcamps held?
A: At the end of each year Aran and Catrin and Iestyn and Cat check their calendars to see when they are available as families to hold Bootcamp weeks for the following year. They then get in touch with Heledd who runs the Ganolfan in Tresaith to check availability and also other self catering venues in Pen Llŷn. Dates are then decided based on the above information. SSiW consistently have held one Bootcamp on the last week in July leading up to the Eisteddfod week, making it easier for learners travelling from abroad to get the benefit of both experiences in one trip. There is usually only one Bootcamp a month in April and June then sometimes two in July, but this pattern varies from year to year, again depending on the factors mentioned above.

Q: Are there any times of the year when Bootcamps are not held?
A: We usually do not hold Bootcamps in autumn, but is subject to change, but we have no plans at all at the moment to start holding Bootcamps in the winter.

Q: Who runs Bootcamp?
A: Aran and Catrin and their children (Northern Course) and Iestyn and Cat and their children (Southern Course) run the Bootcamp weeks. They run the Bootcamps separately - Iestyn and Cat in Tresaith and Aran and Catrin in Pen Llŷn. The dates on which they run the Bootcamps depends on when they are available as families to do so and both families have chosen to hold Bootcamps near their home, therefore making Bootcamps easier to run and a more successful experience for everyone all round.

Q: Where are Bootcamps held?
A: Iestyn and Cat's Bootcamps are held in the small, secluded seaside village/hamlet of Tresaith in the south of the county of Ceredigion, on the west coast of Wales. Bootcamp is based in the Ganolfan in Tresaith which is a large hostel which sleeps up to 44 people on bunk beds in separate male and female dorms, though currently only 10 individuals are accepted on any one Bootcamp week for the benefit of our learners - it makes for a better experience for everyone all round.

Aran and Catrin's Bootcamps are held in Pen Llŷn, west Gwynedd, north Wales, they are held in self catering cottages and are called 'Luxury Bootcamps'. This is a new arrangement as of spring 2013 and the first Bootcamp of this kind will be held in a cottage called 'Gadlas' near the village of Sarn Mellteyrn. If this venue proves to be successful then we will aim to use this cottage again.

Q: How long is Bootcamp?
A: Bootcamp is a full week, starting on Saturday at 3pm and finishing on the following Saturday at 10am. Please note though that the start and end days of Aran and Catrin's Luxury Bootcamps in Pen Llŷn may vary depending on the venue used.

Q: Do I have enough Welsh for Bootcamp?
A: We won't be accepting anyone on Bootcamp who hasn't finished the SSiW introductory course, AND added vocab units. This will ensure a higher all-round standard, and a better experience for everyone. Even if people have done other courses, we'll still expect them to do SSiW introductory + vocab - advanced learners will fly through it, and it will help get everyone on the same page.

Q: How do I book a place on a Bootcamp?
A: As soon as dates have been confirmed at the beginning of the year, Bootcamp dates will be announced on the SSiW forum under 'Bootcamp – Welsh in the Wild' here - In this section there will be a separate thread for each planned Bootcamp and in that thread there will be a link to a separate page where you can book and pay for your place at that particular Bootcamp. Once you have completed these steps your booking will be secure.

Q: How do I know if there are free spaces on a Bootcamp I'm interested in?
A: As soon as a Bootcamp is fully booked then the title of the thread for that particular Bootcamp will contain the words 'NOW FULLY BOOKED' in capital letters, if the thread for the Bootcamp you are interested in doesn't include this statement then there are still free spaces. If for some reason a free space becomes available at the last minute then it will be announced in that particular Bootcamp's thread. So always worth checking!

Q: How many spaces are there on each Bootcamp?
A: There are a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 10 spaces on each Bootcamp.

Q: How much does Bootcamp cost?
A: A week at SSiW Bootcamp costs £250. Please note that these are the fixed prices for Iestyn and Cat's Tresaith Bootcamps. The prices for Aran and Catrin's Pen Llŷn Bootcamps will be as close to this price range as we can possibly keep them, but may vary depending on the venue and the time of year.

Q: Is food included in the price?
A: No food is not included in the price.

Q: What are the arrangements for mealtimes?
A: All evening meals are communal. The Ganolfan in Tresaith has a large professional, well equipped kitchen, with a serving hatch and a large eating area and the kitchens in any Bootcamp venue in Pen Llŷn will also be large and well equipped but will be regular domestic kitchens.

At the beginning of the week learners are asked to pair up and each evening a different pair cooks for the rest of the group. This is paid for by everyone chipping in about £3 each for the ingredients. The first Saturday evening's meal is prepared by the hosting family, then usually, but not always, Sunday lunch is had out at a nearby pub or cafe. There are plenty of opportunities during the week for trips to local shops and supermarkets. If you have some favourite recipes or ingredients that you would like to share then you are welcome to bring them with you - this is something that has worked well in the past.

Q: What do I do if I have special dietary requirements or allergies?
A: Individuals with special dietary requirements or allergies have never been a problem. You are welcome to prepare food for yourself separately if you wish, or for example if you are a vegetarian you are welcome one night to cook a meat free meal for the rest of the group. Otherwise don't worry, Bootcamp has a very relaxed and informal atmosphere and a large kitchen!

Q: What happens with at breakfast and lunchtime?
A: It's each to their own with daytime meals and if we are out and about during lunchtime then we'll usually stop for a light meal at a cafe or a pub.

Q: How do I get to the Ganolfan Tresaith for Iestyn and Cat's Bootcamps?
A: Tresaith is quite remote when it comes to public transport so can be quite tricky to get to if you are on foot, but there are means and ways! It is a good idea to become a regular poster on the forum thread for the Bootcamp you are attending, this way you will start to get to know your fellow Bootcampers early and it is also the place where you can raise your transport issues with your fellow Bootcampers and kindly ask for lifts from various bus and train stations! Otherwise take a look at this following thread for really useful transport and travel info -

Q: What if I'm not keen on the idea of sleeping in a shared dorm with others at the Ganolfan, Tresaith?
A: The Ganolfan in Tresaith does have a couple of separate rooms for teachers and depending on the arrangements of the particular family that are running the Bootcamp you are attending, there may well be one of those rooms free. Otherwise, the person who owns the Ganolfan also owns the adjacent holiday flats so if you are interested in renting one of these for the week, then please just get in touch with us at bootcamp[at] and we'll help you with those arrangements. Please note though that the spring and summer are busy periods for Tresaith so the sooner the better you let us know.

Alternatively you could look out for dates for 'Luxury Bootcamps' in Pen Llŷn. This is one of the reasons why these alternative Bootcamps have been started, because there was some demand for a Bootcamp with a little more comfort accommodation wise.

Q: Will I have to share a bathroom and washing facilities?
A: If attending Cat and Iestyn's Bootcamps at the Ganolfan in Tresaith then yes you will have to share a bathroom and washing facilities (though male and female facilities are seperate), unless, of course you have decided to book one of the adjacent flats. If attending one of Aran and Catrin's 'Luxury Bootcamps' in Pen Llŷn then there is a chance that you will still have to share a bathroom and washing facilities, though at some of the self catering cottages, some bedrooms will have an en suite.

Q: Will I need to bring bedding?
A: If attending the Bootcamps in Tresaith, then yes. Each dorm (male and female) has 10 sets of bunks, that makes 20 beds in each dorm, each bed has a mattress with a protector but not a sheet, and a pillow also with a protector. Therefore you will need to bring a sheet and a duvet, or a sleeping bag. You may also want to consider bringing your own pillow if you are particular about what type of pillow you sleep with because of preference or back/neck complications. If attending a Pen Llŷn Bootcamp, then no, bedding will be provided as we use self catering cottages.

Q: What do I do about bedding for the Tresaith Bootcamp if I am coming from abroad?
A: If coming from abroad you have two options. You can either borrow from the Ganolfan. They do have spare duvets for such incidences but need advance warning that they are to be used so they can get them ready – you can do this by stating your preference on the forum thread of the Bootcamp you are attending. Otherwise you could kindly ask your fellow Bootcampers in the hope that someone travelling from within the UK by car have spares at home they could bring! :)

Q: What does the Bootcamp 'Welsh Only' rule mean?
A: The idea of Bootcamp is that you are literally saturated in the Welsh language for a whole week. SSiW want to give you the opportunity to step your language learning up a gear by getting your brain in to a Welsh only mode 24 hours a day for an entire week, and by doing this you will be surprised, by the end of the experience, at the difference it has made to your ability to speak Welsh! Once you have started speaking Welsh and nothing else, you will not want to pollute your learning experience by speaking any other language as it will cause you to lose your footing and you will find yourself taking a step back – trust us! :)

So yes there is a Welsh only rule – and this rule is a serious one! Please remember also, that attending Bootcamp with you, there may be others whom have travelled very far and invested a lot financially for this opportunity. Many come because they are passionate about wanting to improve their spoken Welsh and are fiercely eager to have an all Welsh week. So we ask you very kindly, after the initial Bootcamp introduction, not to spoil the experience for yourself or anyone else, and to refrain from speaking any other language except Welsh for the whole week. If a situation arises where you absolutely have no choice but to phone your family/work then we ask you kindly to do this outside or out of earshot of the rest of the Bootcampers. Diolch yn fawr! :)

Q: Do we have lessons at Bootcamp?
A: No, there won't be any lessons at Bootcamp. Bootcamp is an experience and not a course. What we aim to give you at Bootcamp is an enjoyable and fun week living in Wales through the medium of Welsh, eating, sleeping, drinking, speaking, buying, travelling, singing, laughing, joking, walking, and so on, all through the medium of Welsh! There will be games that we play, fun tasks that we give you when we are out and about, quizzes that we have fun with and so much more, we'll also endeavour to throw in some Welsh culture and possibly a little history where we can... You'll just have to wait and see! Each bootcamp is different according to the time of year, the weather and what's available locally and as there are many who attend multiple Bootcamps we try to make each one a little diffrent!

Q: I've just turned 17, can I come to Bootcamp?
A: Yes, but unfortunately not alone. We can't accept any individual under the age of 18 on Bootcamp unless accompanied by an adult who is their legal parent or guardian.
Northern course female voice. Raised in Pen Llŷn, fled when 18. Spent my 20s discovering the wider world. A qualified teacher (English & art), worked in marketing with small local businesses - gave it all up to become a Mam! A creative soul who inherited my family's artistic gene, love drawing, being behind the lens of a camera and being creative with food. Movies, red wine, dark chocolate help me relax. Always here to help!
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Catrin Lliar
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