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