I started off working in on TECS Summer Camps in 2008 as an assistant monitor. I had just finished school and I was young and naive, and just looking for sun and fun in El Puerto de Santa Maria, in the south of Spain. Boy was I wrong….. Yes, summer camp is fun, the most! But it was also the hardest I had every worked, more than studying for my final exams or training or anything! By working on summer camp and being forced to put the needs of the children that I was responsible for I learned so much about myself that first summer.
Over the years I have done almost every position on camp from monitor to teacher to activity coordinator, welfare coordinator, camp director, and now as the Assistant director of TECS Summer Camps. I experienced camp from so many sides and I have seen, firsthand, the ability that summer camp has on shaping and molding both the campers and the staff in a deep and meaningful way that will last them the rest of their lives.
In my role as the Assistant Director of Language Camps I am responsible for the running of all our summer camp programmes, for the recruitment and management of the 150-200 summer camp staff, and for the management of our summer camps. My objective is the same as everyone else’s on summer: To create the best summer experience possible for each and every child.
I will, within the areas that I am responsible for and through my general influence on those around me, ensure that each summer is a thoroughly enjoyable and memorable experience for each and every camper that comes to camp. Not only will they have the most fun and have enjoyable experiences, but I will ensure that each one of them learns new skills, English and values that will hopefully help them throughout their lives.
All year round I will push myself to analyse our summer camp programmes in order to identify how they can be improved for the campers benefit. I will do this by taking in the opinions of the staff, parents and campers each summer, and by using my own experience and creative ideas to push the boundaries of what is possible in a two week summer camp.
I will work tirelessly to find and recruit the best staff and managers possible as I believe that they, given the proper support and guidance, are what will truly make our camp special. At all times through the interview process, with both staff and managers, I will not only try and get the best people for the job but will also ensure that each person I talk to understands what the strains ahead of them are and the high expectations that we will have them, as I believe that staff must have the opportunity to be mentally prepared for what is ahead of them in order to truly take on the massive role they are agreeing to.
Once those staff arrive to camp I will make them feel welcome and important, which they of course are. Through training I will pass on all of my experience, passion and skills to the directors and coordinators which they will in turn pass onto the staff. I will push each and every staff member to learn all of the information that they need to do their job, but more importantly that each and every person on our summer camps “buys into” what we are achieving and adapts their personalities and desires so that they too will always put the needs of the campers above their own.
I will make sure that staff on all levels are treated with the respect that they deserve, that they are supported and guided by their managers, but at the same time ensuring that they are also constantly pushing our staff to be better in all aspects of their job.
I will recruit, train, and manage all of our coordinators and directors who believe in the wonders that we can do in summer camp, so that they too are inspired to work all of the hours needed and to overcome whatever challenges that they will face. I want all of our summer camp managers to know that I will always be there for them both professionally and personally when needed, but that I will always do so with the best interest of the staff, and mainly the kids in mind. I am committed to passing on all of the experience I have gained over these years to our coordinators and directors, so that they too can live up to their own goals.
I want the staff to know that I, and the camp management team, are committed to our goal and that we will do whatever it takes to best achieve it. I will make sure that summer camp staff are always treated fairly and made to feel important, of which of course they are. I will ensure our directors and coordinators are always there to support our staff in their challenging jobs, but likewise I will make sure that they are also not shying away from pushing them to be the best they can be as this is an important part of making summer camp better for the kids.
Although the campers must and always will be our primary concern, I also believe that summer camp due to its nature has the ability to change the lives of the staff that work on it. For this reason I will always push a message of good moral values in all of my dealings with staff, and will ensure that our staff are constantly pushed to be better, as I want our staff to leave this summer feeling that they have developed (in a positive way) both personally and professionally.
Over a thousand kids are going to walk through the doors of our camps this summer, and for me to feel like this summer was a success I need to know that in two short weeks that we were able to touch the lives of each one of those kids and gave them an experience of a lifetime. I am committed to doing whatever it takes and, more importantly, making sure that everyone else on camp will do whatever takes to giving them that experience.