Just a 15-year old boy who is about to spend two weeks in a summer camp far from home. That’s how one of the biggest adventures of my life began. My own TECS ADVENTURE.
I spent two weeks in Family Camp El Puerto and it was soooo good I decided to take one step further some years later, when I became Crew Member. My duty was helping the monitors with their tasks and make sure kids had the best summer of their lives as I had some years before. It was the best year by far.
All these years have been amazing, and I’m sure this one will be even better as the Welfare/Activity Coordinator of GO CAMP with the youngest campers. New kids to play and laugh with, meeting again all the staff I already know and the new ones as well.
But without a doubt, the best part of TECS experience is seeing a kid smiling. That’s the proof you’re giving the 100% of yourself and it’s the best reward you can get after a tiring day of work. I really hope to see a lot of these smiles this year too!!
– Juanvi Lopez
2008 – I had just finished a teaching stint in China and was off to see Europe – my time management was not so great and I knew I would need to support my travels a bit better financially. I found the TECS ad online: I had teaching experience, I had worked in outdoor recreation camp environments before – this would be perfect!
… No it wasn’t just perfect for my current situation back then, it was an exceptional personal and professional choice – I returned every year for 7 years working 1 year as a teacher, 3 years as a coordinator and 3 years as a director.
We focus so much on the kids that come through our gates and on the parents – not only are we providing a quality service to our clients (so much so, that in a way they have become our extended TECS families), but our immediate TECS family becomes the staff. We make a difference for the kids – we really do and we see the reactions almost immediately – improvement in English, improvement in social skills, improvements in independence and confidence… there’s nothing more rewarding, and to have it done in a 2-week program is ultra impressive. Seeing similar improvements within my teams… now that’s really something. It’s not without its challenges though, and it takes a bit of courage, but overcoming these is the ultimate reward. Thanks to TECS I’ve learnt so much about communication, leadership and just more about myself. And better still, I’ve been able to apply those principles to motivate, mentor and lead teams to success, with a true passion for what we do. That’s the type of support we give and receive to both our kids and our staff and is at the core of the belief in what we do.
Think about it – what’s holding you back from the summer of your life?
TECS stand for a Totally Empowering & Challenging Summer!
– Kylie Watson
When I was a camper, I liked it so much that I kept coming back even if I lived in Barcelona (which is 1000 km away). I vividly remember some of the friends that I made during that time – Izaskun, Carlos, Raúl…–, and some of the monitors and teachers that I shared my experience with. I fondly remember Phil, who was my English teacher, and Rachel, a monitor we used to laugh a lot with.
I decided that I wanted to be a part of that, and came back to work for TECS the year after. I was first a Crew Member, then a Monitor. I had the opportunity to be responsible for a group of children, to bond with them, to get to know them. I ran sport sessions and participated in Evening Entertainments (they love those!). Then I was a Coordinator, where I worked with monitors to give campers the best activities we could think of. I remember when Luis – one of my first campers– gave John (his monitor) and me a thank you card for having helped him when he was homesick. The last day of camp, he didn’t want to leave. I remember when Marco, who had been a camper with me for about three years, said he wanted to become a Crew Member. I have met many people in this time, and I have learnt so much…. If you decide to work at camp, I know that you will find people that inspire you, and that you will learn a lot about others, and about yourself.
One thing that I have learned is that we are capable of changing those children’s lives. I remember a camper who learned to be kind to others at camp. I remember a camper who learned that they were worth more than they thought. I remember many great things from camp, but, truth is, camp isn’t a bed of roses. Sometimes working at camp is tiring, and children are difficult, and the hours are long. Sometimes you will feel you can’t do more, and sometimes you will feel you don’t know how to deal with something. Summer Camp is challenging, no one doubts that. But believe me when I say that what you will feel at camp, mostly, is a sense of pride, and a sense of accomplishment. Children reward those who go the extra mile to make them happy.
– Lucas Castillo
Along with TECS Summer Camp I’ve been through an incredible journey. This great adventure took me from being a young little camper, to a confident camp director. What I’ve learnt on the way, how I’ve developed and what I’ve achieved is of inestimable value and a part of who I am today. I’ve met loads of wonderful staff members, I’ve been to many different camp venues and I’ve greeted heaps of excited campers into the summer of their lives. The number of stories therefore is endless, but they all share something: they were absolutely outstanding. Camp makes a difference in a kids life, it creates the perfect atmosphere for them to grow in maturity, to get out of their comfort zone and to use their full potential; being a staff member means taking part in all of this, facing great challenges and getting huge personal reward.
Summer camp is a lifetime experience. You will keep forever that days when you made a fool of yourself for the children, that other time when you were able to comfort a homesick kid, the super shy camper who you got out of his shell and ended up amazing everyone with his singing skills or the astonishing sunset at the beach. That is camp, and those meaningful experiences build up, I get back to them quite often as they always make me feel reassured and inspired.
There is no such thing more rewarding than working in a place like TECS and no words enough to describe the experience, so if you are thinking about working in a summer camp don´t hesitate, make your application and get ready for an unforgettable summer in Spain.
-David Navarro Bravo
In 2007, I found myself in Family Camp Puerto tired and disorientated among a swarm of blue and white T-shirts. I wasn’t even sure I was actually going to turn up that day until something which to this day I can’t explain jolted me out of my hammock on a sunny rooftop in Cadiz. A voice in my head said “you really need to go and do this” job. And so I made the short train journey across the bay to start my adventure.
Half way through staff training week, I was wondering why I listened to that stupid little voice inside my head. Oh how very tired and overwhelmed I was. This was my first real TEFL teaching job you see, I just kept thinking that these all singing, all dancing people around me were nuts. Guess what? They were and they still are. It’s just that now I’m one of them.
Summer camp is the craziest most intense experience that most people will go through in their entire life. For staff and campers. It’s a rollercoaster ride that takes you through the most emotional highs and lows imaginable. You simply can’t avoid learning so much about yourself. Who you are and what you are capable of. That goes for the kids too.
For me, summer camp taught me primarily about compassion. No matter how tired or busy I was, I would never hesitate in helping a camper or another staff member. Putting someone else’s needs above your own comes naturally on camp after a while. When you are surrounded by other staff members who do the same it turns into something magical. TECS taught me that I could do anything I put my mind to. The impossible, the ridiculous, the unthinkable. I did them all, and over the summers I excelled as a person in every possible way.
As I moved through the ranks on summer camp, each year I learned more about myself and other people. Each year I felt more grateful for my experiences and the trust that was given to me to do a good job in these positions. It felt good to impart experience and knowledge that I had gathered over the summers and watch more green members of staff grow and flourish as I had.
My final year as a camp director was the cherry on my TECS cake. On camp I made friends for life and found a confidence in myself that allows me to be the person I am today. If you get the chance to work on summer camp, open your mind and your heart and get ready for the ride.
– Danielle Hopkins