We hope that you have a lovely Christmas time, be it with family or friends, at home or away! We hope you all of the best in what we believe is going to be the BEST YEAR EVER!
News on TECS
Hiring Management Positions NOW!
We’re currently receiving applications for management positions at the moment. If you are interested in applying to be a coordinator or director this summer then please apply by the end of the Christmas holidays
Are you someone who has worked with us in the past, but isn’t interested in doing an intensive summer camp experience like in the past? Well for the right people we’ve got two very interesting opportunities:
This is going to be my 10th summer working for TECS summer camps, and for 5 of those years I’ve been working as part of the year-round team.
At the beginning I did summer camp because it was an amazing experience that I absolutely loved to do during the summer. I was in university studying to be a civil engineer, and I MUCH preferred to come out to the sunny south of Spain to do the funnest job in the world rather than work in a rainy old Ireland in Supervalu or something (I even took an extra class to avoid doing my degree work experience). In December 2012 I finished my degree and I decided to come out and work for TECS rather than taking some big fancy engineering job somewhere else as I’d come to love it and thought it was something I could try for a bit if I didn’t end up liking it. 5 years later and here I am!
Over the years I’ve had family, friends, and strangers question my choice of working for a summer camp organisation all year round by saying it is “I presume it’s something for a little while?”, “something for a young person”, “Why wouldn’t I get better paying job?”, etc.. Nobody ever gets it.
I’ll tell you what I’ve had to tell my parents: I feel lucky to have a job that makes me wake up looking forward to going to work in which I have to force myself to go home because I enjoy it so much. Now don’t get me wrong I’m not saying that working in front of a computer is the most fun job in the world (working as a staff member or coordinator on camp in the summer is!) but working in TECS is honestly the best thing that has ever happened to me. Working in this environment in which we all work so hard towards such a noble goal: To give children the most fun, educational and life changing summer we possibly can.
I can’t imagine what it would be like to do what I see so many people do, which is see my job as something in my life that is there to allow me to pay for my personal life. As an annoyance between 9-5 in which I am obliged to go to. It is crazy how many people, either conciously or sub-conciously view their work as this. Well I am lucky to say that it is one of the most rewarding aspects of my life and that still, after 5 years, it still has me waking up happy every morning – So Thank you TECS 😀
P.s. it doesn’t hurt to work surrounded by your best friends!
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!!!!
One of the weirdest things about camp at the very beginning are the songs. all of the time. But then you go home at the end of the summer and you can’t stop singing them all the time!
#2 Camp Chants
What’s the difference between a song and a chant you say? Well….. I’m not really sure! I guess in a song you at least pretend to have some musical ability, whereas with a chant you just scream with all of the passion you’ve got for your colour, house or camp!
#3 Dressing Up
So there is one thing that happens in every summer camp ever in the entire world, and that is dressing up! Be it face-painting, costumes, whatever. In order to be a summer camp you must have some form of dressing up – by the kids and staff. If not, then you’re just a summer school (that is the official difference).
Not just dressing up, but at some stage every summer there must be a male staff member who cross dresses. Ever year! What is it with guys wanting to put on a dress???
Family Camp Staff
Maria painted Jamaican
Staff Dressing Up
#4 Being Messy
Well you get a set of 4-5 Colour War t-shirts and your 3 pairs of beige shorts and you where them day-in-day-out. Well you get a used to just being a bit messy! Look how happy everyone is though!
Patrick covered in shaving foam
Staff in the mud
#5 Gunk Night
Gunk night is literally the best thing about summer camp ever! The kids vote everyday for 2 weeks for one staff member to have a big bucket of gunk poured over the heads. Bit by bit you see your name getting more and more votes and the pressure builds up. Staff start launching “Gunk for______” campaigns. Then is the big casino night evening ent when the final votes when the kids get to get their own back on one unlucky staff member (usually their favourite). The big moment comes and the staff member gets gunked AND RUNS AFTER EVERYONE LOOKING LIKE SOME KIND OF SLIMY MONSTER!!!
Family Camp Staff Gunking
(Candeleda, Spain – July 14, 2011) – Family Camp Gredos finishes Thursday classes. They have Casino Night and gunk one of the staff. Photo by Will Nunnally / TECS
#6 Colour War
Ah Colour War……. Ever felt national pride? Or pride for your club or school or whatever it is? Well multiply that by a hundred and you’ve got Colour War! You’re either on the White Team (scum) or the Blue Team, and once you’ve got a team you’re with that team for ever. This will be my tenth summer on camp and I’m still Blue Team. Wait. I’m a manager and I’m neutral. Ya right! COME ON BLUE TEAM!!!!
Colour War Monitors
#7 Jokes that are only funny when you’re there
I don’t know if it’s the sleep deprivation or whether it’s because you’re with the other staff all of the time and become way too close. But you just become a bit wacky and some jokes are just not funny in the real world.
If you haven’t been to a summer camp don’t you judge!!
#8 Camp Band
Why people decide to make a boy band or girl band together camp I couldn’t tell you! But they do! And they’re not good.
Except for Ella and the Dreamweavers… They were actually great!
#9 Weird Games
So you’re with these kids all day long and you need to keep ’em entertained, so you end up being pretty inventive!!!
Random camp games
Yoga on the beach
Miss summer camp, or want to let out your inner child?
As many of you know we here in TECS are a tad in love with developing new ideas, changing things and generally improving things one year to the next to make them even better for the kiddies. Well this year is no different. By this year I mean 2017. It’s confusing I know. Obviously there will be loads of small new things this year, like every year, but the main changes for 2017 are:
Little Village Travelling
So the biggest novelty for us here in TECS Summer Camps is Little Village Travelling (or LVT). For many years we’ve been running what are called Language Travel programmes which is basically where one of our Language Travel Coordinators takes a group of students from Spain to another country like the Ireland or the U.K. for 2-3 weeks. Usually the students would stay either in host families or a residence and would do a summer school there with another company. We would supply the coordinator and put the logistics of where they would stay and the programme, but it would all be sub-contracted because obviously we don’t own anywhere abroad and it would be very complicated for us to do otherwise.
Until Now: Meet Little Village Travelling. LVT is going to be like another one of our summer camps but in a place called Mumbles in Wales. The school in which we are based now has a large house (called Ael & Byrn) in Wales as they have it as part of their school curriculum to send the students over for a trimester to study there. During the summer the plan is for us to use it to run a Mini-Little Village (for only 20 or so kids) for kids who are 14-17 years old. It will be slightly different to Little Village in that obviously there are less kids and the focus will be much more on getting out of the facilities, going on trips, etc. to get both the language and culture that Wales has to offer.
Obviously we don’t have all of the details of the programme yet as we will be developing it bit by bit but you can see the basics and some photos here.
Magic Village and Little Village on the same site!
So up till now Magic Village and Little Village have been based in separate venues with MV being in the rural Los Chozos site and Little Village in the beautiful Huerta Dorotea site. However, for the past few years we haven’t managed to always the fill the camps with kids which is obviously not sustainable for us so we have decided to run both Magic Village and Little Village in Huerta Dorotea (LV’s site) but at different times. As MV historically does better in camp 1 it will be on in the first fortnight and LV does better in the second fortnight and so will be in camp 2.
We are also planning on using both the wooden cabins and the hotel meaning that, in theory, we should be able to fill the camp for the entire month of July with like 90 campers in each fortnight. The only slight challenge of this will be that staff working in this camp will have to work younger kids in camp 1 and then older teenagers in camp 2.
You can see more details about each programme here.
TECS College goes to Puerto
As TECS College used to be based in the same venue as Magic Village in Los Chozos, which we are nolonger using, we have decided to move TECS College to El Puerto de Santa Maria (in the same venue as Family Camp Puerto). This makes the most sense as we’ve got so much space in this venue, it’s the venue with the best facilities, it means that TC will close to the development-obsessed central office team, and the kids will actually have internet to do their portfolios!!
Goodbye Go Camp
Due to the size of our camp and the fact that we have kids from 6-17 in El Puerto de Santa Maria we’ve always had to split the kids into age groups. For the last while we’ve done this by having two camp programmes in the same venue: We had Go Camp which had the 6-9 year olds and Family Camp Puerto which had the 10-17 years olds which was further split into two separate age groups of Juniors (10-12/13 year olds) and Seniors (12/13-17 year olds).
The reason the tiniest ones where in a “separate camp” was because we wanted this camp to be a bit different so we marketed Go camp as the welfare camp where we had Spanish/bilingual monitors and the whole programme was made so that a little 6-year-old could leave home for the first time and do a two-week residential camp.
What we realized with time was that the type of family that sends their kid to our summer campssummer camps is looking for English as the top feature, and so we ended up not getting very many Go campers. So for 2017 we will be saying goodbye to the Go camp name and instead we will just have Family Camp Puerto which will now have 3 age groups:
Funnily enough this is actually what we used to have pre-2013!
Family Camp Puerto is becoming AWESOME!!!!
I think in recent years with the addition of so many camps, especially the villages, and extra features in FCP like Trinity, Day Camp, etc. Family Camp Puerto has become something other than what it is supposed to be. Family Camp Puerto should be the biggest, most action-packed, fun camp. It should be the camp where the kids who want to have loads of fun, rather than personally develop or do Total English (nothing wrong with that!), should go for an AWESOME SUMMER. It should be the MASSIVE camp with over 200 kids in it.
So we’re going to do it! How?
Having activity options instead of extra activities. Up till now on signing up kids could choose multiactivity as part of the programme or they could pay extra to do an extra activity offsite with another company (Watersports, Arsenal Football, Sailing, etc.). However, this year when they sign up they will have the choice of one of the following as part of the programme:
Super Sports (A cool name for a mulitactivity)
Top Musical Star (A Drama and Dance programme run by us)
Robotics (Ya. That’s Right. We’re going to be building freakin’ ROBOTS)
Developing the Activity programme. During the year one of the things we are going to be looking at improving is the FC activity programme in order to see how to best cater it to the theme of exciting and fun. Family Camp Puerto has got the best facilities so we want to make the most of this and have the best programme, activities and evening ents!
And most of all we will be putting a big focus from a management sense on supporting the activity coordinators in this camp to run the best programme possible.
Departures Show. For the past few years the villages have what we call a departures show. This is basically where the parents come to camp on the last day of camp to see the departures show where their kids present what they did in projects, sing some songs, we give some awards, and generally show off the camp spirit. It’s awesome. Well, this year we are finally going to be doing a departures show in Family Camp Puerto. It’s going to be more focused on kids presenting what they’ve learnt in class but the whole show will be even bigger and better than in the villages with it being done with 2-3 times the kids and staff. Think kids rushing into the gym screaming intercamp chants and performances onstage.
No more Trinity. Gone are the days where we will prepare kids to do Trinity exams in Family Camp Puerto. Although it is great to get kids into a good habit of pushing themselves with their English with the end goal of doing exams we don’t believe it was the best for the kids in the kind of environment we want to create on camp, and is probably best kept to an academy. With the hope of focusing on fun and excitement we’ve decided to remove the pressure of Trinity exams so we can make Family Camp more fun than Disneyland.
We’re going to be doing Progressive Total English like they’ve done in Family Camp Gredos and Anglo Camp. Basically this is the normal English methodology but with the addition of Total English moments each day where the kids are only allowed speak English. The amount of these will gradually increase until the final English Day. This will hopefully increase the amount of English at Family Camp Puerto while also help us to build towards an English Day that goes towards colour war.
Fancy New Building. Maybe. Ya so the building works began in August and so some parts of the outside have been demolished already (No I didn’t not get to blow anything up!). However, it seems that there have been more and more bits of red tape put in place by the powers at be so not sure how finished it will be by next summer but we’ll keep you posted! For the moment you can see photos and a video of the shmancy new building here.
Family Camp Puerto is going to be amazing!!!!!
Family Camp Gredos
Don’t worry….. We’re keeping Family Camp Gredos! Honestly, we love this site. It’s just such a beautiful and chilled out place. The owners are lovely. We just had to stay there.
Anglo Camp **Insert Location**
This one is still to be determined. The idea will either to have Family Camp Gredos and another site up Picos de Europa in Cantabria, to have Family Camp Gredos and Anglo Camp Salamanca like last year, or just have Family Camp Gredos.
As soon as I know anything I’ll let you know!
We will Magic Village and Little Village coming together in the same site but in seperate fortnights it means that the intercamp competition is going to need to change a bit! The idea is that in the first fortnight there will be an intercamp competition for the younger kids (Family Camp Juniors versus Magic Village) while in the second fortnight there will be an intercamp competition for the older kids (Family Camp Seniors+TECS College versus Little Village). May the odds be ever in your favor!
FIPs (Mini Bespoke Camps During the Year for Schools)
A lot of people don’t know what these are but basically they are mini-camps that run throughout the year for a couple of days. A school will come to us and say that they want a mini camp of just 3 or 5 days for an entire school year/class where they do a typical summer camp type day with class in the morning, activities, the whole shebang! We started doing these for the first time last year and we managed to get 4 programmes but this year we think we should have somewhere between 10-15.
As these can either be during the week or on weekends and are generally between February to June it can be difficult to find staff that are available to work on them for the few days. If you are based in Spain and would be interested in finding out more, you can check out here and you can sign up to be on our FIP mailing list where we will send you out an email when we are looking for staff. All you’d have to do is email us back if you are interested in doing a mini camp with us.
Again we are developing our recruitment website www.tecsemployment.com so that it not only looks better but more importantly is practically better and more useful for you the applicant. We are always open to ideas so if you think of something then please let me know and email email@example.com.
Summer 2015 was my first time working at TECS Summer Camps as an assistant monitor. It was all one big adventure at Family Camp Gredos in the beautiful mountains outside of Madrid, Spain.
After meeting the staff and campers I knew it would be an amazing few weeks ahead. We got along like one big family, always looking out for each other and this made it very special. It was like no other camp I have been to or worked on. I loved the fun loving, energetic and friendly atmosphere at TECS. Everyone working there was there to have fun and to ensure that the campers have a brilliant summer.
Our jobs were quite challenging at times, but it was all worthwhile. As a monitor I got to coach sports and activities such as arts and crafts and evening games with the children. Seeing the happiness and smiles among the campers and staff is the greatest reward and feeling to experience. As a staff member we see the campers grow much more confident and outgoing throughout their time at camp. It was incredible to see how enthusiastic and energetic they were for the camp games as we had body paint, chants and banners to add to the excitement.
Without a doubt it’s the people that made my time at TECS so special. If I hadn’t gone to camp I would have never met these wonderful people. We are still in contact and we hope to meet in the near future. Both the staff and campers all shared such great memories and laughter during our time together and that, I will never forget.
Before coming to TECS in 2015, I had never worked in a summer camp and I was a little scared about the prospect of working with a group of people who I had never met before. However it was one of the best experiences of my life. The people that you work with come from all over and bring lots of different qualities which help to make the experience even better. I can honestly say I have made some extremely good friends from my experience last year and I have some great memories with them.
I worked as a TEFL teacher last summer and it was a great opportunity to test my skills as a teacher because it is a totally different experience from that of a normal teacher working in an EFL academy or a school. In my case, my classroom was outdoors to start with so you have to adapt to that situation but along with the other teachers you work as part of a team and create the best lessons possible. This experience has helped me in my normal teaching job as I have become more creative with the material I am teaching and a lot more adaptable.
You may think that working all the time with kids company will get boring and annoying but you will not stop laughing with them and the other teachers and monitors. Although the days are long, they are thoroughly enjoyable because you can allow your childish side to come out and have a laugh with the kids. You think that you are just there to teach them but actually by the end you don’t want them to leave because they have made you enjoy your experience just as much as you help them to enjoy theirs.
Applying to work at TECS last summer was an excellent decision because I have made some excellent friends, some amazing memories and developed as a person and professionally. I would 100% recommend it!
When I first hopped out of the van on Staff arrivals day in TECS Summer Camps I knew this was going to be a summer to remember. I came from working in the South of Spain as an assistant teacher. I had some previous skills with kids but I didn’t know TECS was going to bring me in to a family filled environment. These kids were full of energy and excitement. I have never had so many kids wanting to know about my life. I felt like a celebrity at times! It was such a rewarding experience to see these kids grow in just a matter of weeks. When it ended we were all in tears because we built such a bond with these kids. Throughout the day we eat with them, go on off site excursions, play sports, make arts and crafts, go horse riding (in Family Camp Gredos) and surround them in an English immersion environment. We motivate and provide positive reinforcement to them when they need some extra encouragement and seek and provide welfare in every given situation. This is why I chose to continue my direction at TECS Summer Camp. We were there for support and guidance but also to make sure those were the best 2 weeks of their lives! I had such a great summer that I wanted to return again the following summer as a Summer Camp Teacher.
My second summer at TECS is when I took the next step in my life and found my passion in Teaching. I would spend hours planning my lessons just to make sure those 4 hours a day were a balance of learning and enjoyment for these kids. Young learners up to teenagers required physical interest in lesson plans and precise routines. I developed myself as a teacher during my second summer at TECS. I worked at GREDOS in the mountains outside of Madrid in an outside classroom setting and then switched to Magic Village as a teacher for another 2 weeks and my last 4 weeks of summer in August at Family Camp Puerto. Each of these camps provides a different atmosphere but whichever camp a camper chooses we have the most qualified and hard working staff waiting for you to make your summer an inspirational memory!
This was my mission statement at TECS last summer : I will seek and motivate my students so that they will achieve what I put in as a teacher. I lived for this every day at TECS Summer Camps.
Where do I even begin?! I spent three of possibly the best summers of my life working in TECS summer camps! What makes camp amazing is the camaraderie you build with the other staff and thanks to my three summers in TECS I can genuinely say that I’ve made friends for life and will always have a couch to crash on in Spain!
But it’s not really about you – it’s about the campers! TECS provided me with my first proper work experience as a teacher. After an intense training week, I went into class feeling sufficiently nervous yet confident and the weekly observations act as a support to help towards making your classes even better. I can honestly say that I learned how to teach in TECS!
Returning to TECS year after year also enabled me to climb the ladder there. In my second summer I was involved with the online blog and in my third year I took a step into management and worked as a TEFL coordinator as well as a TECS College tutor. This involved training new teachers by observing their classes and giving them feedback as well as overseeing the running of the English programme on-site. Therefore TECS allowed and encouraged me to grow both personally and professionally. What more could you ask for from an employer?!
Camp life can be a rollercoaster of emotions – but rollercoasters are FUN so what are you waiting for? Apply to work in sunny Spain for a summer now! I promise…you’ll NEVER regret it!
Having finished University in May of 2012 I decided that I wanted to take a year out and go on an adventure. That adventure started with my application to work as a TEFL teacher in TECS summer camps. As it happened the adventure turned into my career and I returned to TECS the following summer to work in the same position. In 2014 I was the TEFL coordinator in Magic Village and in summer of 2015 took on the role of Director there too. So why have I come back to TECS every summer?
Every position has offered something completely different. As a teacher, your main focus is on the campers and the English programme. You have the opportunity to be very involved with camp life from the camper’s perspective and that is a fantastic way to spend the summer. As a coordinator, you become more involved with the staff and ensuring your side of the programme is running as it should be, the great thing about this position is that you still have one foot on the ground with the campers and one foot behind the scenes. Finally, as a Director you are very much involved with the smooth running of everything on camp. This can be a daunting task. Every day is different and you can be sure that no matter what you´ll have some sort of challenge come your way on a daily basis. In saying that, it is also an incredibly rewarding job to know that, at the end of the summer, you played such a vital role in making it the best summer ever for a few hundred campers.
I still remember everything about my first summer at TECS as a TEFL teacher in Family camp Puerto. Initially, there was the application and before I knew it I was arriving at the train station in El Puerto de Santa María, in beach town in the sunny south of Spain. The first few days can be full on and as a first time staff member you will invariably see all the returnee staff who seem to know exactly what to do and where to go, but then you´ll be back at the train station at the end of camp, probably crying, as you say goodbye to everyone and know that you have become a full-fledged member of a very special club.
Professionally, I have grown so much at TECS and have been given amazing opportunities in terms of career progression. Coming back to camp year after year has made me want to grow and develop and a job in TECS is the perfect place to do that if you have the motivation and the passion for it.
On a more personal note, TECS has changed me for the better. It has allowed me to be more open and understanding as well as given me the chance to meet and work with people from all over the world. Thanks to TECS I have become a more confident, focused and driven person.