Testimonial: Fiona McCormack

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.

– Fiona McCormack

Testimonial: Joe Martin (a.k.a Big Joe)

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.

TECS for Life!

– Joeseph Martin

Testimonial: Ross O’Brien

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!

– Ross O’Brien

Testimonial: Brendan Costello

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.

– Brendan Costello

TESTIMONIAL: Danielle Hopkins

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

Testimonial: Maria Lazaro Rodriguez

I don’t even know how to start, since 2006 Tecs Summer Camps have been taking up part of my life, my summers and every single year has been better and better!! My first year on a Tecs Summer Camp was when I was 10 years old, I was a happy sophomore in Family Camp Puerto!! Then Junior, senior, Little Village… And finally Crew Member!! That was my favourite summer without a doubt…

And that was when a new experience in Tecs started, from a different point of view. At that moment I wasn’t there for just having fun, I was there to work for the kids, to make those two weeks the best part of their summers, like my monitors did for me.

The following year I worked as an Assistant monitor, a new amazing experience, more independent. Working hard, the only reason for that, was to see the kids smiling, enjoying, happy, that moment was when I saw reflected myself on them  few years before.

And last year I worked as Day Camp and Logistics Coordinator, everything was different, because I didn’t work with kids directly, I was “behind the scene” organizing my area.

My favourite moment? When a camper comes to you, gives you a huge hug, and tells you: I’m going to miss you, thank you for everything. That moment is when I know that one more summer at Tecs has been successful, and when I know that I want to come one more summer.

Tecs Summer Camps has made me an independent, mature, hard-working and happy girl. And now I can say that I’m proud, not just of the gratification, also of my friends, the members of the team that I can say that they are like my siblings.

Thank you Tecs  for every single fantastic summer.

– Maria Lazaro Rodriguez

Summer Camp Staff: The weird and the wonderful!

There are so many things I like so many things about working on summer camp (believe me you’re going to hear about them on this blog!)….. The kids, the activities, the smell (yes camp smells different!), the great weather, but one of the things I really love about summer camp is the people! The staff that work on camp just weirdly wonderful and wonderfully weird!

A lot of you might have noticed that I’ve been asking a lot of returnee staff to put up testimonials about their time working on camp, or if they’ve been campers then what being a camper and a staff member is like. Reading some of these amazing words about people like Ben, Flo or Marta had to say about their years on camp and what TECS meant to them was my inspiration for this post. Not because TECS is awesome (It is!)  but because it got me thinking about how many amazing people I’ve met over the past 9 years!

The kind of people who work on a residential summer camp are pretty amazing. They are the kind of people who decide” hey, instead of going on a beach holiday or working in a restaurant this summer I’m going to work 24/7 to care and educate some kids, so that hopefully they have the summer of their lifetimes and it enriches the rest of their life”, they’re the kind of people who think that cross-dressing is a fun way to make kids laugh, they’re the kind of people that put the needs others (the kids) above themselves, they’re the kind of people who don’t shut up about camp, they’re the kind of people who make a music video in their spare time……. They’re just a bit mad (my kind of people)!

I’ve had the privilege of meeting people like Ben, Flo, Marta, Javi, Jenny and so many more thanks to summer camp. Each one of these people are so different, so unique, so interesting, and all a bit nuts (in a good way!), and the thing is that in “real life” I probably would have never gotten the good fortune o meet people like them (Except for Ben maybe, who is apparently my estranged brother).

So to all of the staff over the years that I’ve gotten to know better in a few weeks during the summer and who I probably got to know better than a lot of my friends and family, I thank you for making each summer awesome!

Oh, I didn’t explain why they’re wonderfully weird? Check it out….

Testimonial: Marta Hernandez

I can not remember my first day at TECS Summer Camps because it was in 2004, it has been 12 years since then! I started as a 7 years-old girl who was going to an English summer camp. That was just the beginning of a great adventure. I spent 8 unforgettable years as a camper.

I didn’t want my experience at TECS to finish there, I wanted to work as a member of the Staff. First as a crew member, then as an assistant monitor and last year as a monitor. These three years working at TECS have taught me that team work is essential to run a summer camp. Every summer I feel as a member of a big family. Not only that, I am still in contact with people who I have worked with over the years, even with the ones who were campers with me!

Campers are the main reason why we work so hard. But I can assure all of you that it is worth it working with them 24/7. I can’t explain you how it feels to make campers happy. I always want to make sure that they have an awesome experience as I did.

TECS has always been a part of my summer, TECS has always been a part of my life.

12 years at TECS and people keep wondering why I go back every summer. It’s not that difficult to understand: Thanks to TECS I’ve had the best summers of my life.

Testimonial: Jennifer Galligan

Although I have only worked two summers on camp with TECS, it is so difficult to summarise what summer camp means to me; a wonderful mixture of new friendships, challenging situations, constant laughter and personal development. To work with TECS is to have your potential recognised and nourished, to have  camp chants and claps forever ingrained in your memory, to realise that all your work is worth it because you made a difference to a child’s summer.

I have never encountered the same levels of excitement and energy that exist on camp anywhere else, and as an Activity Coordinator, the kids enthusiasm motivates you to ensure that all aspects of the activity programme are as fun and entertaining as possible. To both manage camp staff, and organise and plan the daily activities calls for determination, balance and reflection, but it is extremely fulfilling and allows you to unleash and develop new skills.

Before I worked for TECS, I had no idea how passionate I would become about summer camp- now I cannot imagine what my summers would be like without the excitement of the kids arriving, the songs about moose and crocodiles, the jubilance of Intercamp, and finally, the pride twinged with sadness when it is time for the kids to leave.

– Jennifer Galligan

Testimonial: Benjamin Crompton

I still remember applying to work on TECS summer camps for the first time. I’d already worked a couple of British Summer schools, and had literally no idea what a summer camp would be like. Turned out I loved it, although it was probably only when the email for returnee staff came around in January or March the year after that I finally realised it.

That was 2009, and TECS remains a very special company to work for. This year I’ll be returning for my third year to work as a Camp Director (my seventh in total at TECS). The Camp Director job is at once challenging and rewarding at the same time. Over my six summers I’ve grown passionate about the experience we offer children and young people; I wish there had been a summer camp like ours for me when I was a kid. As Director you have so many ideas to juggle. I’m often asked in the summer: ‘what do you actually do?’ It’s difficult to summarise it in few words, but perhaps the best way would be to say that I take a scrambled up jigsaw and organise it neatly on the table ready for the coordinators and monitors and TEFL teachers and crew members to put it together. When it comes together, you get a unique summer camp programme that gives kids of all ages a very special summer experience that they do remember for years to come. That’s worth the hours and dedication.

Over my six years, TECS has taught me numerous things: how to be a good EFL teacher, a strong manager, an innovator. But more than that, it’s taught me that the quiet reserved guy who hid in the corner six years ago has something to offer. Thanks to TECS, I am a driven, outgoing man with a passion for education and personal development. That’s something.

– Benjamin Crompton