Hey, for anyone who doesn’t know me my name is Patrick Alvarez and I’m the Assistant Director of TECS Summer Camps (Programme, Staffing, and Structure) – I know right? What a mouthful! I like to just say I’m the Assistant Director of Summer Camps Pss….. What that means is that I’m the one who works all year round planning our summer camps, the activity programmes, etc. I am also the one who is responsible for the recruitment of up 200 summer camp staff.
Obviously this blog isn’t about me, but I thought as a first blog post I’d introduce myself, what I do, and why I got into summer camp work!
When I was a kid I went to a few summer camps (Not TECS ones, other ones). I think I went to Camp Rockwell, some tennis camp, and a random camp in Riaza to “name” a few. I was always one of those kids who wanted to go away from home, and I think my parents must have been happy to ship me off to camps/family/exchanges/anything-that-would-get-me-out of the house.
However, I’d never really thought about working on a summer camp but when I was a student in my final year in school and looking for something to do in the summer one of the Spanish students there (thanks Peps Moreno!) told me about TECS. He’d actually been a camper, crew member, and camp monitor on the summer camps. He sold it to me by saying that I’d have an awesome summer in the sunny south of Spain, you’ll meet loads of great people and have a really fun job. So work in a shop in rainy Ireland or get a job on a summer camp in Spain? Easy decision.
That summer I worked as an assistant monitor for one month in July and I honestly had THE BEST SUMMER EVER!! Not only did I meet a whole pile of new people, great kids, had loads of craic (fun for you non-Irish people), some of the most randomly hiliarious moments, but I also got so much out of it personally and professionally. At the time I was an 17/18 year old teenage boy about to go to university to study engineering and whose sole focus was himself. Something magical happened that summer which I can’t quite explain….. Working on TECS Summer Camps that first summer in 2008 changed something inside me, and sparked some sort of desire within me to not be such a selfish self-centered teenager, but it drove me to want to be a better person. I know a bit weird sounding but you have to experience it!
Anyway long story short I was hooked! Working on summer camp has become some sort of drug! I returned to work on camp every summer while at university, each year moving up: monitor, assistant coordinator, activity coordinator and then camp director. TECS obviously saw something special in me and wanted to keep promoting me, and then eventually asked me to join their year round team when I finished my degree to do what I do now. I’m the luckiest person in the world to be able to work on summer camp all of the time.
If you’ve never worked on a summer camp you MUST do it at least once! Put on it on your bucket list! It’s the experience of a lifetime, it’s so much fun, and it might just make you a better person.