There are some aspects of summer camp which are extremely tough – long hours, hot weather, looking after crying children – but there are some things about summer camp which are good for both your mind and body.
You rarely sit down!
Summer camp work is not sedentary… in fact you’ll find that you spend 95% of the time on your feet, dancing and singing and playing like a lunatic. If you’re a fan of getting your 10,000 FitBit steps, you’ll be delighted to hear that you’ll smash your target day in day out. Summer camp is good for you because it’s a workout – without feeling like one 😉
You get a tan
Working in the South of Spain, the weather is almost guaranteed to be sunny, all day every day. Many staff manage to build up a great tan between working outdoors, and sunbathing at the pool on their breaks. As most Irish and English people are deficient in Vitamin D, working on camp could be your opportunity to build up some vitamin and tan reserves.
You let out your inner child
Summer camp work involves a lot of singing, dancing, messing and playing around with the campers. There are not many working environments where it is completely acceptable to have face paint on every single day, or to run around chanting at the top of your voice – but summer camp is one of them!
Working on summer camp lets you have a complete disconnect from the outside world. Many of our camps are located in the countryside, near small towns or villages and beside beautiful scenery and mountains. Often you’ll find you’ve forgotten to check your Instagram or Facebook feed in a few days, and struggle remember why you ever felt the need to check it every 10 minutes.
All aforementioned reasons sound good to you? Experience them for yourself and apply to work with us this summer!
Our newest (and possibly coolest) camp is in Wales. A small staff, with only one monitor (!) and two tutors, it provides a wealth of different opportunities, and maybe particularly interesting for people who are returning to camp work but looking for a different camp experience.
But what exactly is a tutor and what is so great about this position?
#1 – You get to teach in an English speaking country!
Many TEFL teachers are used to teaching in their student’s native country, and so are forced to try to create an English environment in the class. At our camp in Wales, you have a native English environment just outside the door! Even better, the students are free to explore it at will, and you can use it so that students can really practice what they are learning in class. Which leads on to…
#2 – A tutor can really unleash their creativity
One of the main parts of English classes in TECS Land Wales is Task Based Learning. Every second day, the classes are based on the campers leaving the classroom and engaging with the native English environment around them. Whilst the basis of these classes are pre-planned for the tutor, their creativity is free to take these plans where they want and really help give the campers an authentic learning experience. The tutor position is perfect for somebody who wants a new teaching challenge that allows them to connect with their creativity.
#3 – You get to work in an awesome environment
Our TECS Land Wales camp takes place in an absolutely amazing house. It has an enormous living room with a giant comfy sofa, completely kitted out kitchen, and a great project room – as well as all the latest technologies, like USB plugs. It is a great place for a camp, and it’s an awesome place for you to work. The photos speak for themselves!
#4 – You work in a tight knit team, with a small group of campers
Our TECS Land Wales Team is a lot smaller than our other camps. The size of the team means that you will get to know the people you work with so well, and you will also get an amazing bond with the campers. This is really helped by the aforementioned amazing house – you are all living together in a great house, so you really begin to feel like a little family.
#5 – You work in a unique summer camp environment
Most summer camps run on a strict timetable – that’s what makes them work. However, TECS Land Wales is a hybrid, between a summer camp programme and a language travel programme. The timetable changes a lot, the campers are outside the house a lot, and they also have time scheduled for them just to chill out and soak up the great atmosophere. This makes it a truly different and unique environment to work in – it of course requires just as much hard work as our other camps, but it gives it it’s own special feel and identity.
Interested in applying as a TECS Land Wales tutor now? Apply here and read more about the location of the camp here.
Nothing stays the same, and every year summer camp changes and gets better and better. So what has changed for summer 2018?
Camper Phone Calls
As those of you who have worked on camp before may know, we used to have phone calls to parents almost every day in most camps. In summer 2018, campers will not phone home everyday. Over the course of the fortnight, they will phone home 5 times, and during these times they will have a full 30 minutes to talk to their parents. The one exception is the Seniors in Family Camp Puerto… they will have more phone call time, due to being teenagers and needing their phones that little bit more.
It is time to say goodbye to the Intercamp competition… Although always a day filled with great competitive energy and excitement, all good things must come to an end. In 2018, we will not be running Intercamp during July. We will however be running…
Clash of the Colours in Family Camp
To replace Intercamp, Family Camp will have Clash of the Colours as their Sunday excursion. This is an intense Colour War competition, which is already run in Family Camp Gredos. The campers compete all day long in lots of different activities to win points for the blue or white team, and at the end of the day, one of the teams is crowned the winner and wins extra points for their Colour War team. Have a look at what it looks like here.
New building in Family Camp Puerto
The new building in our Family Camp Puerto site is currently being built, having started last August. Whilst we may not have the whole building ready to use in summer 2018, we are hoping that we will be able to use some of the new fancy installations! It looks very swanky.
Picadilly – connecting the new and old building
Even more school camps!
Our school camps department is growing each year, and this year we have school camps running from the end of February until the end of June. We are running them in Gredos and Huerta Dorotea, where we run our school camps, and also in a different site here in Puerto called Coto de la Isleta. We also will have four school camp monitors coming out to work with us from February. However, we sometimes need extra people to come and work on our school camps – if you are interested, you can signup to hear about opportunities here.
Working on summer camp is a great learning experience, both professionally and personally. Professionally, you learn so much about working with children, and about how to work in an intense, tiring environment. When it comes to learning things about yourself, there are hundreds of different experiences and lessons that people learn during their time on camp – but often when the four or eight weeks come to an end, many staff have the same comments about what they have learnt about themselves.
You learn confidence
Working on summer camp gives you a great confidence boost, and shows you that you have always had self belief within you. On summer camp, it is part of your job to sing songs in front of 100 children, dance and make fun of yourself, all of which boosts your confidence. Even more so, being able to run sports sessions or teach classes, day in day out, and see the difference it makes to the campers really releases your inner confidence.
You learn to work in a team
On summer camp, you will be part of a big team, all working towards the same goal. Summer camp is only successful if the whole team bonds together and work to give the campers the best summer ever. We place a big importance on teamwork, right from the beginning of our training week, and this continues throughout camp. You will learn how to work with your managers, plan classes or sports with other people, use your strengths to help others, or run a big event for 100 campers as a team. There are opportunities for teamwork at every corner on camp.
You learn how to work with children
Spending all day, every day with the campers means that after working on summer camp, you will have learnt a thing or two about children and what it’s like to work with them. From how to comfort them when they’re sad, to how to grab their attention and keep them occupied, summer camp teaches you all about the many different ways we can work with children. Spending all day with children also puts you back in contact with your inner child, and you find yourself playing and singing as if you were one of them.
You learn to really challenge yourself
On camp, you find challenges pop up on a daily basis, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Every day, you face something new. For some people, it is being away from home for the first time, for others, it is pushing shyness to one side and being outgoing. Every challenge that you face on camp, teaches you something about yourself, but more importantly, you see that you are able to be overcome whatever challenges are thrown at you.
You learn how to have a lot of fun!
Summer camp is a hell of a lotta fun. Working on camp reminds you how easy it is to have a great time! Seeing the campers day in day out, having the time of their lives, reminds you of how much fun you can have. Summer camp can reignite your inner child and change your attitude, so that you leave expecting (and finding!), fun at every corner.
Imagine you are a camper – you have spent the entire academic year in school, and now you’re on your summer holidays… and your parents send you to English summer camp, and you find yourself once again in a classroom, with a teacher and a book.
For this reason, we try to make English class on camp as fun and as dynamic as possible. We ask our teachers to make sure they include lots of games and communicative activities, in order to keep the campers motivated and to make sure they learn as much as possible. To help them with this, we provide comprehensive lesson plans to complement the student’s book. However, some teachers want to come up with their own activities, and it can be daunting to come to camp as a teacher and try to come up with new and exciting games for every class, especially if you do not have much teaching experience. Here are some tried and tested games that are sure to enliven any class, regardless of level!
The simplest of games, perfect for practicing vocabulary. You need some fly swats, and flashcards, and then you are ready to go! Stick the flashcards on the board, split students into teams and each team receives a fly swat. The students then take it in turn to hit the flashcard the teacher or another student calls out. Some control is needed to make sure the students don’t try to hit each other with the swat!
Running Chinese Whispers
Another game that can be played to practice vocabulary – and best played outside. Students line up, relay race style, in teams. They must run to the teacher, who shows them a flashcard. Then, running to the back of their team, they must Chinese whisper the word to the front of the line – and the student there must run forward and tell the teacher the word. It may take a few tries for the students to get the hang of it, but the combination of running and whispering makes them work really hard to remember their vocabulary!
Noughts and Crosses
Students are bound to know this game, and it can very easily be adapted to help them to practice their vocabulary. Drawing the traditional 3 by 3 grid on the board, in each square you stick a flashcard. You can leave it face up, or to make it more challenging, face down. Students, in two teams, pick a card, and if they get the piece of vocabulary correct ( you can ask them to spell it as well), they can draw an x or an o for their team. The first team to have three in a row wins!
These are just three of a plethora of games teachers use on camp – during their planning time each evening, our staff also have an opportunity to share and develop ideas, resources and activities with one another, building a great environment of teamwork and professional development. If this sounds like the kind of environment you’d like to work in, apply now for Summer 2018!
And it’s not just teachers who use games – every monitor needs a game or two (or ten!) up their sleeve. Look out for our next blog about the best games for monitors to use on summer camp.
A key part of summer camp, and something that you are sure never to forget after working here, is the songs. We sing at every opportunity we have – meal times, sports, evening entertainments, excursions, even just walking from one place to another. We also sing a great variety of songs – so many that being only a week into camp you’ll find yourself impressed by your ability to remember so many lyrics, and having learnt them all so quickly! But why do we use camp songs, and why are they so important for monitors, teachers, and of course the campers?
Songs distract homesick or sad campers
It is part and parcel of summer camp that there will be some campers who are homesick, and also those who just have moments of feeling a bit sad – maybe they’ve fallen and hurt themselves, or lost a football match, and are feeling a bit down. But, when a staff member gets up and starts singing and dancing like a crazy person, all of a sudden the camper is distracted! Their focus completely changes, and by the end of the song they are struggling to remember that they were even sad beforehand.
They take the focus away from the food
One of the main times that we sing songs is during meal times. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacktime are all filled to the brim with staff members standing up and yelling ‘This is a repeat after me song!’. Mealtimes can be difficult for a lot of campers – not only does this time remind them of their family, but they may not like some of the food, as it may be different to what they are used to at home. However, when you introduce songs, the campers get caught up in the singing and dancing, and these issues become less important.
They control the campers
Managing a group of campers – be it your class, leader group or sports group – can be challenging at times. Each group will have a wide range of personalities and characters, and you’ve got to keep them all together, and listening to what you say, at all times. A great way to do this is singing songs with them. You wouldn’t believe how much easier it is to get the campers walking in a line, without messing, when they are all singing a song together.
They let us be silly
Perhaps the most important reason – songs let us have a lot of fun, and show the campers how silly we can be! Summer camp is all about making a fool of yourself, and songs allow us to do just that. Not many jobs allow you to have fun, be as silly as you can be and help give campers the best summer of their lives, but working with TECS allows you to do just that 🙂
Working on summer camp, you have the luxury of having three meals a day (plus a snack!), made for you. There’s no need to worry about where your next meal is coming from – the kitchen will provide. Of course, our kitchens are normally catering for upwards of 100 campers and staff and also for a Spanish diet. This may mean that there will be dishes that you haven’t tried before, but camp is a time to try new things – food can be one of them! Here is the lowdown on the best Spanish dishes that you’ll have on camp – if you’re not hungry now, you sure will be soon.
Perhaps the most well-known of all Spanish dishes, it is a staple of camp food. Made with seafood, or meat such as chicken, and rice, it is sure to give you a great feed before running your afternoon sports sessions as a monitor. Filling, tasty and a part of Spanish culture – what more could you want from lunch?
It is no secret that the Spanish are fond of frying food, and perhaps the most delicious thing they have come up with are croquettas. The traditional flavor is ham and cheese, which is mixed with a béchamel sauce and flour, covered in breadcrumbs and then fried. Delish!!!
If you’re lucky enough, you may get churros served up for breakfast – but they definitely won’t be around for long as every camper will surely want at least one! Simply put, a churro is a long, thin piece of fried dough, covered in sugar, perfect to dip in coffee or hot chocolate. Have them once and you’ll be craving them again – if you find a café nearby to camp that serves them, they can be a great treat for your weekend morning off!
This option might not be even remotely Spanish… but when there is pizza for dinner, nobody can complain. Loved by Spaniards, Italians, Irish, English – whatever your nationality you are bound to have a big smile on your face when it is revealed that it is pizza time. Campers and staff alike have been known to cheer and chant when they enter the canteen and smell the glorious waft of pizza! A perfect way to end a day of teaching class and before an evening of planning classes for the next day!
These are only some of the dishes you may have the pleasure of tasting during your time on camp – other favorites include barbecue night, Spanish omelette (also known as tortilla) and salmorejo – a chilled tomato soup made with breadcrumbs – alongside staples that you know and love, like pasta salad, chicken, meatballs, and even baked potatoes!
The weekend of the 18th and 19th of November, a group of year round and summer camp staff got together, to plan for how we are going to make Summer 2018 the best summer ever! We spent the weekend in Huerta Dorotea, the location where during the summer we run MV/LV. After arriving at 10.30, and having a second breakfast in the morning sun on the terrace :), we got down to work.
After an introduction of the success areas of 2017, and looking forward to the changes of 2018 (blog post on these coming soon 😉 ), we had a development session with Doug. After lots of discussion about the 5 most important management skills and how they related to our professional experiences, we headed off for lunch.
After some tasty food, we began the competition of the weekend. In two teams, we were given various challenges, all with the aim of making summer camp better in some way or another. Our first challenge was to come up with a new evening entertainment… definitely a challenge, it was quite the difficult one. The winning idea was for The Crystal Maze, which involved campers winning ‘crystal’ balls, which represent the time they have in a room filled with colour war points – the more balls they win, the more time they have to collect points for their team!
Our second challenge saw us coming up with ideas for something new in either Staff or Management Training Week. The idea was not to come up with a new session, but to come up with something that would add to the feel of training week. Our ideas involved creating camper case studies that we introduce to staff, to help them understand the information they are being told and how it relates to campers, and the other centered on coming up with vision statements for each camp, and introducing these to both staff and management. Stay tuned and see if you can see them pop up in the training weeks of 2018 😉
Our final session was the most challenging – we had to envision what the English camp of the future looks like. The concepts we came up with ranged from classes ran in English but about different subjects -drama, music, perhaps even featuring other language classes!, to 21st century classes – teaching students through English about 21st century problems they are not taught about in school.
After a long day of work, we were happy to relax at dinner time, once again enjoying a delightful meal, before doing a quiz which mixed both traditional and non traditional rounds. From general knowledge and music, to singing handstands upside down and charades, we had a great evening.
The next day saw us walk the Via Verde from an old train station in Coripe. The kids from MV/LV come here to do a midweek cycle, and it really is a gorgeous spot in the middle of the Andalusian countryside. With some picnics and a glass of beer to finish off the walk, we left feeling like we had just had a weekend well spent!
Thanks to all who came, and the work they did! (and to Stephen McCartney for these great photos 🙂 )
The highlight of camp for many campers, and staff too, are the evening entertainments. It doesn’t take long to get into the spirit of evening entertainment, where almost anything goes, and everybody gets to run around and exhaust themselves before heading to bed.
What can you expect as a staff member participating in an evening entertainment? To get dressed up, have sponges thrown at you, to arm wrestle 100 campers in one sitting – basically, anything that is fun (and probably messy!) happens. But with so many evening entertainments run in all of our different camps, which are the ones to look forward to?
Campers and staff absolutely love Cluedo. A variation of the board game, this evening sees some staff members dress up and re-enact a murder scene (PG of course), before
hiding around camp. The campers must then go and get clues from them, in order to see who the murderer is. It deserves its place on this list because of how entertaining it is to see monitors dressed up as hula girls, old men, Cristiano Ronaldo…Not only that but it is fiercely competitive, and that only can make an evening entertainment better.
2. Capture the Flag
Speaking of competitiveness… Capture the Flag is the evening entertainment that will see the campers reaching new levels in order to do what they can to win for their Colour War Team. It needs careful refereeing, as even the sweetest and most angelic camper can be tempted to cheat. But, it is unbelievable fun, with campers sprinting to bring their flag back to home base whilst also trying to protect their sash and remove others from the game. Staff get a good induction to this game, as it is often played in Training Week, meaning they get a taste of how good it is before camp has even begun.
3. TECS Factor
TECS Factor is an evening entertainment that requires a lot of preparation by the staff and campers beforehand, but it is most definitely worth it. Campers practice and perfect a performance in groups before the scheduled evening, and then perform it in front of all the others, and a panel of judges. Rated out of ten by each judge, there is usually a case of somebody taking on the Simon Cowell role. The best TECS Factor events are when not only the campers perform, but the staff do too – be that by playing their guitar, ukulele, or even singing In The Jungle.
4. Natural Disasters
Exactly what it sounds like (or not!), in Natural Disasters campers are competing not only with each other, but against floods, tornados and snow storms. As they try to build a tower of cardboard boxes and other recyclable items as high as possible, by using sellotape and duct tape and also winning more materials, their structures are attacked by monitors brandishing foam, water guns and tennis balls, all of which have the potential to damage their structure. Fast paced, exciting and guaranteed to result in at least one camper in each leader group wet and covered in shaving foam, Natural Disasters is an evening entertainment campers won’t forget.
5. Casino Night
A list of the best evening entertainments would not be complete without Casino Night. A true classic, returnee campers are looking forward to it from the beginning of camp, and are eagerly explaining how it works to those who have not been to camp before. Campers compete by doing lots of different small competitions to win tokens, which allow them to nominate a staff member to be covered in gunk, a goeeey messy liquid.
Other honorable mentions must go to Family Fortunes, often run as part of English Day and based on the TV show, as well as Gala Night, a fancy meal for older campers, and of course It’s a Knockout, which includes some mad relay races!
Worked on camp before and got a different favourite evening entertainment? Or want to work on camp this year and have a great idea for a new event we could run? Comment and let us know!
Our camps are located in different places, all of them distinct. But what do you need to know about each venue… and which venue is the best?! This is really a matter of opinion, and staff tend to finish the summer claiming that their site is far superior to the others, regardless of where they worked…
Having worked (or at least visited!) nearly all of our venues, I can safely argue why each camp site is great, in its own way.
Family Camp Puertotakes place in a private school, called El Centro Ingles. During the year, its numbers include 800 students and nearly 200 staff, and so it is very well equipped. Computer rooms, sports facilities, classrooms – it has it all, and on top of that it is in a town, so bars, restaurants and supermarkets are always only a short walk away. Not to mention the fact that a new building is currently being built. Being close to lots of amenities is not to be underestimated, but this is not the thing I enjoy most about working in FCP… My favourite thing about this camp’s location is how close it is to the beach! Working on summer camp is a treat when you get to go to the beach and have fun with the campers there.
Not far away from El Puerto and Family Camp is the site where we have Magic Village and Little Village. This location is absolutely stunning – a rural hotel, with cabins, green areas and a terrace with stunning views of the mountains. This location gives a very special feel to the camp. There is nothing like coming down to breakfast or dinner from the cabins and looking out on the Andalusian countryside. A perfect example of how beautiful is that it is a popular venue for weddings! Another great advantage of this site, aside from how stunning it is, is that it has the perfect mix between being secluded and yet being close to amenities. The town is a 15 minute walk away, so the camp has the feeling of being separate, yet civilization is still within reach.
Working in Family Camp Gredos has definitely been one of my favourite camp experiences, and part of this is due to the camp venue. Perhaps the most rural of all our sites, in the mountains near Madrid, it has a similar set-up to Magic and Little Village – wooden cabins, a swimming pool and grass areas. A big advantage of Family Camp Gredos is the wonderful sports facilities – tennis courts, basketball courts and a horse riding paddock! There is so much space to run a wide range of sports, meaning that working as a monitor you have lots of options for running activities. Not only that, but if you are interested in a different teaching experience, nearly all the classrooms in Gredos are outdoors. This is great for teacher and students alike, as it really helps it to not feel like a school classroom situation, and means there are endless opportunities and space for games and dynamic teaching.
Anglo Camp is the newest and most northern of our sites, located in Palencia. The site is purpose built for camps, which naturally makes it a great location! It is also enormous – it has two residences, one for boys and one for girls, two canteens, a giant grassy field, swimming pool, basketball courts – I could go on and on! There is even a hotel on site, although we don’t use this during camp J Aside from having so many facilities, the site also benefits from being close to a river – great for a walk and a refreshing swim on your time off. Like Little Village, it has a town about a 20 minute walk away.
Two of our camps take place in houses – TECS Land Wales (held, unsurprisingly in… Wales!) and TECS College (in El Puerto de Santa Maria). The advantages of being in a house speak for themselves – amenities of the kitchen and sitting room give a very homely feel, and the possibilities for activities and evening entertainments are plentiful! Of course, being in a house also means working with a much smaller group of campers, which really gives these camps a unique and intimate feel.
It’s hard to summarise all the ins and outs of all the camp venues in one article – but if one thing is clear is that all of them are great, in their own and different ways. If you’re interested about seeing more pictures and information about our different camps, you can read their venue page – and if you want to work on summer camp after reading about our fabulous venues, apply here.