TESTIMONIAL: Juanvi Lopez

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

TESTIMONIAL: Kylie Watson

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

TESTIMONIAL: Maria Jimenez

The first time I went to TECS I was a 10 year-old junior camper. As far as I can remember, TECS has since then been part of my summers: 3 years in Family Camp, 2 years abroad, and 1 year in Little Village. Not only have I learnt English there, but I have also made lots of friends and I have the greatest memories of those summers.

When I was 17, I felt as I had been a camper for enough time, but, at the same time, I didn’t want to leave TECS camps, since they were an essential part of my summers. That’s when I decided to become a crew member.

Although in this position you don’t get paid (with money), there are plenty of things you get out of it. The most motivating thing about being a crew member is seeing yourself reflected in your campers. You will do whatever is needed to make sure they have as much fan as you did when you used to be a camper.

I’m not going to lie, working for kids is exhausting; it requires a bunch of energy and enthusiasm, but it gives you the biggest satisfaction you can get. When a kid comes and says ‘I love you teacher’ (yes, they will constantly call you teacher, although you’re closer to be a camper than a teacher!) and hugs you, gives you a drawing of you they’ve done themselves, or you see them smiling and having fun as you used to do, you’ll feel it was worth it.

Another thing that I loved about being a crew member is the way you connect with kids. You are not a camper anymore, and far from having fun, you have lots of responsibilities now, but neither are you a monitor. This position of ‘something in between’ lets you both work and be like a big brother or sister for the kids; someone they can trust, have fun with, and respect at the same time. That is something you can take great advantage of; during those two weeks, they will sometimes by angry, upset, sad or homesick, and you will be the most similar thing they have to their parents. Unconsciously, a bond between you and the kid starts to grow, and finally, the entire camp feels like a huge family!

Working on a summer camp is a great experience which I would definitely recommend to almost anyone. You make friends from all over the world, become more mature and responsible, you develop your English and, of course, you become a crucial part of a child’s summer. You will always get more out of it than you ever expected.

– Maria Jimenez

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