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: Lucas Castillo

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

TESTIMONIAL: David Navarro Bravo

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

Testimonial: Claire Wenman

Before coming to TECS in 2015, I had never worked in a summer camp and I was a little scared about the prospect of working with a group of people who I had never met before. However it was one of the best experiences of my life. The people that you work with come from all over and bring lots of different qualities which help to make the experience even better. I can honestly say I have made some extremely good friends from my experience last year and I have some great memories with them.

I worked as a TEFL teacher last summer and it was a great opportunity to test my skills as a teacher because it is a totally different experience from that of a normal teacher working in an EFL academy or a school. In my case, my classroom was outdoors to start with so you have to adapt to that situation but along with the other teachers you work as part of a team and create the best lessons possible. This experience has helped me in my normal teaching job as I have become more creative with the material I am teaching and a lot more adaptable.

You may think that working all the time with kids company will get boring and annoying but you will not stop laughing with them and the other teachers and monitors. Although the days are long, they are thoroughly enjoyable because you can allow your childish side to come out and have a laugh with the kids. You think that you are just there to teach them but actually by the end you don’t want them to leave because they have made you enjoy your experience just as much as you help them to enjoy theirs.

Applying to work at TECS last summer was an excellent decision because I have made some excellent friends, some amazing memories and developed as a person and professionally. I would 100% recommend it!

– Claire Wenman

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

We’re all working together towards the same thing

One of the things that can be difficult in any working environment is that it seems like everyone is out for something different. Take your typical office for example:

  • You’ve got a receptionist who aims to give off a good company image to clients so that they are more likely to buy whatever the company is selling
  • You’ve got the intern just trying to work hard and keep their bosses happy so they can get a good reference and go onto bigger and better things.
  • You’ve got the salesmen who are just out to sell the product
  • You’ve got the manager who wants his staff to work harder and more efficiently to get result (usually meaning sell more)
  • and finally you’ve got the boss/owner who might really believe in the product and wants to get out to the world so that it can enrich the lives of others (or maybe he just wants to make money, depends on the person i guess)

In summer camp it’s so much easier!! On summer camp each and every person has the same objective: to give each and every child the best possible experience (learn English, make friends, have lots of fun, develop new skills, be happy and healthy, etc.).

It doesn’t matter if you are a monitor, a TEFL teacher, a welfare coordinator, a driver, or a camp director. Everyone on camp works towards the same goal all of the time. We all want the same thing, we all want to give the kids the best experience possible, we all want them to be happy, we all want them to learn English, we all want them to have fun. And we all play a role in achieving it.

Obviously some people have a more direct affect on it like the monitors and teachers, but we believe that everyone on summer camp not only has an effect on those how great the experience is for those kids, but that everyone has the same goal in mind. No wonder it’s such a great place to work!

Summer camp creates a really unique environment where people are actually less selfish. All of the staff who work on camp always put the needs of the kids over their own. All of our managers put the needs of the kids above their own, and they put the needs of their staff above their own too. All of us work long hours, in the Spanish heat, not exactly getting mega bucks, but we all do it together. We all do it together to do something so morally and ethically great; to ensure that a kid has the best experience possible with the hope that not only did they have fun, but that we taught them something that will allow them develop into better people.

So is it worth it? You bet it is.