The Quick Guide to Working as Camp Catering Staff

Colour War Victory Meal
There are many positions on our camps, and sometimes it can be confusing to know which to apply for. Catering staff is an often overlooked choice – but it shouldn’t be. It is a great position with room for flexibility and language learning.

The majority of staff on camp are not allowed speak in Spanish, as we are an English language summer camp! However, catering monitors must speak in Spanish, as they are working with natives in the kitchen every day. This is a great opportunity to improve your language skills, as you will have contact each day with Spanish speakers who speak very little English.

Another great advantage of this position is the chance to spend time exploring the town around the camp. Although your timetable requires that you are on camp for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you have plenty of time off in between to explore your surroundings – be that walking to the beach to work on your tan, or exploring the centre of town with its large bull ring and many restaurants and cafes, the choice is yours! Read more about the location of the camp here.

Finally, catering staff get to experience what it is like to work in a fast paced, multi-lingual environment. Providing food for over 200 campers at 3 different but overlapping meal times can be a big challenge, but it gives valuable and worthwhile experience in a catering environment.

Interested after reading all of the above? Why wouldn’t you be! Read more about the position and apply here.

Why Summer Camp Work is Good for You!

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There are some aspects of summer camp which are extremely tough – long hours, hot weather, looking after crying children – but there are some things about summer camp which are good for both your mind and body.

You rarely sit down!

Summer camp work is not sedentary… in fact you’ll find that you spend 95% of the time on your feet, dancing and singing and playing like a lunatic. If you’re a fan of getting your 10,000 FitBit steps, you’ll be delighted to hear that you’ll smash your target day in day out. Summer camp is good for you because it’s a workout – without feeling like one 😉

TECS Summer Camp staff (monitors and teachers) chilling out in the water park.
TECS Summer Camp staff (monitors and teachers) chilling out in the water park.

You get a tan

Working in the South of Spain, the weather is almost guaranteed to be sunny, all day every day. Many staff manage to build up a great tan between working outdoors, and sunbathing at the pool on their breaks. As most Irish and English people are deficient in Vitamin D, working on camp could be your opportunity to build up some vitamin and tan reserves.

You let out your inner child

Summer camp work involves a lot of singing, dancing, messing and playing around with the campers. There are not many working environments where it is completely acceptable to have face paint on every single day, or to run around chanting at the top of your voice – but summer camp is one of them!

You disconnect

Working on summer camp lets you have a complete disconnect from the outside world. Many of our camps are located in the countryside, near small towns or villages and beside beautiful scenery and mountains. Often you’ll find you’ve forgotten to check your Instagram or Facebook feed in a few days, and struggle remember why you ever felt the need to check it every 10 minutes.

santi-petri excursion at summer camp

All aforementioned reasons sound good to you? Experience them for yourself and apply to work with us this summer!

 

 

Inside our TECS Development Weekend 2017

The weekend of the 18th and 19th of November, a group of year round and summer camp staff got together, to plan for how we are going to make Summer 2018 the best summer ever! We spent the weekend in Huerta Dorotea, the location where during the summer we run MV/LV. After arriving at 10.30, and having a second breakfast in the morning sun on the terrace :), we got down to work.

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After an introduction of the success areas of 2017, and looking forward to the changes of 2018 (blog post on these coming soon 😉 ), we had a development session with Doug. After lots of discussion about the 5 most important management skills and how they related to our professional experiences, we headed off for lunch.

After some tasty food, we began the competition of the weekend. In two teams, we were given various challenges, all with the aim of making summer camp better in some way or another. Our first challenge was to come up with a new evening entertainment… definitely a challenge, it was quite the difficult one. The winning idea was for The Crystal Maze, which involved campers winning ‘crystal’ balls, which represent the time they have in a room filled with colour war points – the more balls they win, the more time they have to collect points for their team!

Our second challenge saw us coming up with ideas for something new in either Staff or Management Training Week. The idea was not to come up with a new session, but to come up with something that would add to the feel of training week. Our ideas involved creating camper case studies that we introduce to staff, to help them understand the information they are being told and how it relates to campers, and the other centered on coming up with vision statements for each camp, and introducing these to both staff and management. Stay tuned and see if you can see them pop up in the training weeks of 2018 😉

Our final session was the most challenging – we had to envision what the English camp of the future looks like. The concepts we came up with ranged from classes ran in English but about different subjects -drama, music, perhaps even featuring other language classes!, to 21st century classes – teaching students through English about 21st century problems they are not taught about in school.

After a long day of work, we were happy to relax at dinner time, once again enjoying a delightful meal, before doing a quiz which mixed both traditional and non traditional rounds. From general knowledge and music, to singing handstands upside down and charades, we had a great evening.

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The next day saw us walk the Via Verde from an old train station in Coripe. The kids from MV/LV come here to do a midweek cycle, and it really is a gorgeous spot in the middle of the Andalusian countryside. With some picnics and a glass of beer to finish off the walk, we left feeling like we had just had a weekend well spent!

Thanks to all who came, and the work they did! (and to Stephen McCartney for these great photos 🙂 )

Everything you need to know about TECS Summer Camp venues

Little Village

 

Our camps are located in different places, all of them distinct. But what do you need to know about each venue… and which venue is the best?! This is really a matter of opinion, and staff tend to finish the summer claiming that their site is far superior to the others, regardless of where they worked…

Having worked (or at least visited!) nearly all of our venues, I can safely argue why each camp site is great, in its own way.

Family Camp Puertotakes place in a private school, called El Centro Ingles. During the year, its numbers include 800 students and nearly 200 staff, and so it is very well equipped. Computer rooms, sports facilities, classrooms – it has it all, and on top of that it is in a town, so bars, restaurants and supermarkets are always only a short walk away. Not to mention the fact that a new building is currently being built. Being close to lots of amenities is not to be underestimated, but this is not the thing I enjoy most about working in FCP… My favourite thing about this camp’s location is how close it is to the beach! Working on summer camp is a treat when you get to go to the beach and have fun with the campers there.

Family Camp Staff
Family Camp Staff

Not far away from El Puerto and Family Camp is the site where we have Magic Village and Little Village. This location is absolutely stunning – a rural hotel, with cabins, green areas and a terrace with stunning views of the mountains. This location gives a very special feel to the camp. There is nothing like coming down to breakfast or dinner from the cabins and looking out on the Andalusian countryside. A perfect example of how beautiful is that it is a popular venue for weddings! Another great advantage of this site, aside from how stunning it is, is that it has the perfect mix between being secluded and yet being close to amenities. The town is a 15 minute walk away, so the camp has the feeling of being separate, yet civilization is still within reach.

Little Village
Little Village

Working in Family Camp Gredos has definitely been one of my favourite camp experiences, and part of this is due to the camp venue. Perhaps the most rural of all our sites, in the mountains near Madrid, it has a similar set-up to Magic and Little Village – wooden cabins, a swimming pool and grass areas. A big advantage of Family Camp Gredos is the wonderful sports facilities – tennis courts, basketball courts and a horse riding paddock! There is so much space to run a wide range of sports, meaning that working as a monitor you have lots of options for running activities. Not only that, but if you are interested in a different teaching experience, nearly all the classrooms in Gredos are outdoors. This is great for teacher and students alike, as it really helps it to not feel like a school classroom situation, and means there are endless opportunities and space for games and dynamic teaching.

Family Camp Gredos Summer Camp

Anglo Camp is the newest and most northern of our sites, located in Palencia. The site is purpose built for camps, which naturally makes it a great location! It is also enormous – it has two residences, one for boys and one for girls, two canteens, a giant grassy field, swimming pool, basketball courts – I could go on and on! There is even a hotel on site, although we don’t use this during camp J Aside from having so many facilities, the site also benefits from being close to a river – great for a walk and a refreshing swim on your time off. Like Little Village, it has a town about a 20 minute walk away.

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Two of our camps take place in houses – TECS Land Wales (held, unsurprisingly in… Wales!) and TECS College (in El Puerto de Santa Maria). The advantages of being in a house speak for themselves – amenities of the kitchen and sitting room give a very homely feel, and the possibilities for activities and evening entertainments are plentiful! Of course, being in a house also means working with a much smaller group of campers, which really gives these camps a unique and intimate feel.

TECS Land Wales Summer Camp

It’s hard to summarise all the ins and outs of all the camp venues in one article – but if one thing is clear is that all of them are great, in their own and different ways. If you’re interested about seeing more pictures and information about our different camps, you can read their venue page – and if you want to work on summer camp after reading about our fabulous venues, apply here.

#11 Reasons to work on a TECS Camp!

We here at TECS are incredibly proud and passionate about our summer camps, and how amazing it is to work on one of them! We all started off as monitors and teachers before moving up through the ranks so we have felt this first had. In an attempt to try and describe the many, many reasons why you should make the best decision of your life and work on a TECS Summer Camp I have come up with the following list:

#1 It’s Fun!

I’m not actually sure it’s possible to find a job that is more fun than a job working on StaffThurssummer camp. Honestly, your job description is basically to provide fun! Our summer camps are designed to provide fun for the kids all day long, but as a staff member you get to enjoy it too! The hours may be long and you may not make millions but you will be doing one of the most fun jobs imaginable.

Picture a lot of young people together in a camp setting where they are suppose to be the craziest, wackiest, and most entertaining versions of themselves. All of this in the beautiful Spanish sunshine. What more could you ask?? How about sports, excursions to cool places, cross-dressing guys for evening entertainments, costumes, and staff nights out to name but a few?

 

#2 Incredibly Fulfilling Work

If you work on a summer camp you aren’t going to be an accountant or a sales person, you aren’t going to do any old job, you really are going to a truly good job that will help the lives of so many young people.

Day28_LVYou are going to take the role of being a surrogate parent/older brother or sister/confidante/friend to a group of kids. You will care for them, make sure they are happy, care for them when they are sick or sad, teach them good manners and values. You will be their role model, the person that they look up to and want to emulate. That doesn’t just mean that they want to copy the way you wear your cap backwards or the way you dress – it means that they will want to be like you for good or for bad.

You can and will make a difference! We’ve seen countless cases of kids who’ve come to summer camp and thanks to a great staff member have had the summer of their lives and have decided to come back year after year and push themselves to be better people. Some of them have even come back as coordinators or even camp directors! Check out some of their stories here.

There is literally no better feeling in the world than that feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment that you get at the end of summer camp.

 

#3 TECS believes in it’s Staff

For TECS, our staff have always been, and will continue to be, our number one prioity– as it is very true “happy and productive staff” make possible the happy experience for our campers to grow in. For this reason we have always sought hard to provide our staff with what they need to do a great job.

Nurturing a work environment of support is also a top priority for TECS. Nearly all our camp managers were once TECS camp staff, meaning we have firsthand experience of how tough a staff member’s job can be. For this reason we strive to work with our staff; supporting them when they have problems, guiding them and advising them whenever they need help, and do whatever it takes to make our staff be the best they can be.

 

#4 Personal and Professional Development

Working on a summer camp will definitely take you out of your comfort zone and make you try and do new things! Ever stood up on a song and sung songs about Moose in front of loads of people? Ever cross-dressed on stage? Ever painted yourself from head to toe? All of these things and more will help you go home a more confident person!

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Staff Feedback form summary 2016

Training has also always been a top priority for us and over the years we have dedicated considerable time and resources to developing the best training programmes we can. Whilst we know no training can ever prepare someone perfectly for the start of camp, we also know that extensive skills training, “mentalization” (as we call getting prepared for the challenges of camp) and plain important information giving will give most of our staff the starting point they need to approach the challenges of camp life with confidence.

We are incredibly passionate about the personal and professional development of our staff. Not only do we see it as the greatest investment we can make to improve the quality of our summer camps but all of us at the top have it has one of our top life passions to help make people better, be it in their jobs or in their lives.

We put a lot of time and effort to ensure that our staff are constantly given feedback, given every chance to develop within their jobs, and assisted and pushed to do so by our management teams.

#5 The Friendships!

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Staff Feedback Form Summary 2016

On TECS Summer Camps you can truly make lifetime friendships. You will be thrown into this unique (and weird) summer camp environment with anywhere between 25-60 other like-minded people from all over the world. You’ll spend an intense amount of time together in the “camp bubble” where you will forget about the outside world and where time goes different (I swear knowing a person on camp for a week is like knowing them for a month!).

With just one summer you can make some of the closest friendships, or even relationships.

 

#6 Team Work

Like working with other people? Well then summer camp is for you! Summer Camp work is all about working together with people all the time. Whether it’s running sports sessions with other monitors or it’s all of the staff together for the big evening entertainments or it’s all of the camps coming together to run the famous Intercamp Competition, you will be working with people all summer!

 

#7 Sunny South of Spain

To top it off, not only will you be having loads of fun but you will be doing it in a place famous for it’s 300+ days of sunshine each year. You could be on one of the many beautiful beaches or in the most breathtaking mountain camps. Whichever camp you want to work in you will be guaranteed to have great weather and get a great tan!

 

#8 No Costs!

Summer Camp jobs may not pay as much as a lot of other jobs but they also cost almost nothing. Unlike some of the American summer camps there are no upfront costs, no need to pay for a visa or to pay €1000 on flights.

Your accommodation and all of your meals will be covered by us, we will organize your uniform and laundry, all of your transport and anything else needed so the only thing is if you want to by yourself some €1 beers on your nights out!

 

#9 Staff Events

StaffThursIf having one of the most fun jobs wasn’t enough we do also like to invest in our staff so that they, as well as the campers, have the best summers of their lives. We organize weekend trips, and put on sports and game competitions during camp to liven things up (as if camp ever got dull…). At the end of the summer we organize a special night called which we call the “final meal” where we all get dressed up and have a beautiful dinner and a few (many!) drinks. We give out special awards and make sure to appreciate all of the hard work and contribution that our staff have made to camp that summer.

 

#10 Returnee Rate

Numbers like don’t lie. Depending on the summer about 60% of our campers and at least

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Staff Feedback Form Summary 2016

50% of our staff come back to our summer camps as returnees. We’ve had loads of campers who’ve come back so long that they’ve ended up working on camp. All of our managers have once been staff and moved up through our structure and we’ve had staff who have worked up to 20 summers!!! Check out here what some people who have worked with us before have said!

 

#11 These Celebrities say so!

And if all of these aren’t enough reasons then check out what all of these celebrities have to say about working on camp:

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