So each year we have a weekend event called the Development Weekend (previously known as the Review Weekend) where we invite of the managers or key staff from the previous summer to one of our camp venues. The purpose of the weekend is twofold:
- To review what still needs to be improved on our summer camps and develop solutions for the following summer.
- To give something back to the people that we invite by further investing in them and helping them further along the path of personal and professional development.
This year we decided to go a little further afield than usual and go to the site of our new camp in Wales in Ael y Bryn (the name of the house) in Mumbles. Our journey started at the lovely time of 5 am on Friday where we all bunged into the van and headed to Malaga to catch a flight to Bristol, and from there we travelled to the venue.
Now apart from it being a little rainier and wetter than what we’re used to here in the sunny south of Spain I really enjoyed Wales! It was beautiful and green, and the house is just amazing! It’s nothing like our camps in that it is a house but massive and really modern and kitted out with everything you could possibly need!
After travelling for around 9 hours we sat down to a beautiful spread of delicious cold meats and salads prepared for by David (with the help of the neighbours). After that then it was time to get down to work. I gave an introduction to our plans for 2017, and then Doug gave an excellent development session entitled “10 Steps to Success: to becoming a great camp manager.”. Now for those of you who have seen similar sessions you will pleased (and maybe jealous) to hear that he has spiced it up a bit and added some new ones! Just a step closer to having a TED talk done by Dougie….
The rest of the weekend was based around a “The Apprentice”-style competition called TECS Apprentice (original I know!) which was judged by Douglas Trump and Lord Patrick Sugar. Everyone was divided into two teams and had to come up with solutions to the following tasks
1. 10 values staff should always aim to follow
We wanted to develop 10 value phrases or principals that we could introduce at the beginning of staff training week which, by following, would guide our staff to be the best summer camp staff they could be. The teams each came up with 10 each and we have now come up with the defintive 10:
- I am the one who will determine how great I can be.
- I will always put the needs and wants of my campers over my own.
- I am the example of how I want campers and staff to be.
- I can and must always use my power to positively influence any person or situation.
- I focus on solutions and goals, not on problems and issues.
- I see and go beyond excuses – mine or others – and focus on succeeding
- I’m not afraid to seek out help and am ready to support others
- I value difficult situations as an opportunity to develop myself personally and professionally
- I value the team: Together we achieve more than I can alone.
- My actions and attitudes are key to how successful camp is.
2. Wales Camp Programme
The teams each had to come up with:
- 5 activities that can be done during class, or tie in with class, but that are done outside of the classroom in the surround area/town which will make students to not only learn English, but learn English in an authentic way in the U.K.
- 3 things that can be done (activity/project/evening ent/etc.) in the house that will mean the students are taking advantage of the facilities and will love the house.
3. Structure for English Class-prepared presentations for Family Camp Puerto Departures Show
We are planning to have the departures show in Family Camp Puerto to be done quite differently to that of the villages in that instead of presenting their creative projects, students will be presenting their English learning. They will have a part of class each day to prepare for this presentation, and the teams had to come up with what this presentation would be and how teachers would get students ready.
Apart from the working aspect of the weekend we also had, like we always do in TECS, had the social side where we had lots of lovely meals, enjoyed a beer or two in the local pub, went for a walk to the beach, went for a drive around the Mumbles area, and had a quiz prepared by our very own Joe Martin.
Great weekend all round, and definitely a great start of to summer 2017: The Best Summer Ever!!!!