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.

 

 

 

 

 

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: Katrina “Flo” Bunn

I first came to TECS in 2013 as a TEFL teacher and have worked in the TEFL side ever since. I’d worked in a summer camp before but not in sunny Spain, which is a great added bonus of working at a TECS summer camp. I’ve always been lucky enough to work with a fantastic bunch of kids and a great team of staff who I’m still in contact with now – I really have had the best summers ever, which is what brings me back!

Most recently I worked in Magic Village as the TEFL Coordinator. It was a great experience – as well as doing what I enjoy (teach!), I got to train a team of TEFL teachers and help them develop professionally, ensuring that our campers had a great quality language programme learning English while having fun. In fact, I loved working as a TEFL Coordinator so much that I came back to work in the English Academy full-time as a director of studies!

Working at TECS to this level definitely gave me an insight into education management and the skills and experience to step into a career path I never dreamed that I would be able to pursue – I am 100% certain that I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t come to TECS back in my first summer. Who knows where you could be in a few years if you come to work in TECS this summer?

– Katrina “Flo” Bunn

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

Testimonial: Patrick Alvarez

I first started working for TECS Summer Camps in 2008 as an assistant monitor. I first came out just to have a bit of fun in the sunny south of Spain with a whole pile of other like-minded young staff.

Well, boy did I get more than I’d ever imagined! Not only did I have the best summer ever in a camp in the beautiful south of Spain with 200 other great young staff, but I had the experience of a lifetime. That summer TECS gave me a job, a whole new experience, and an amazing new group of friends.

After the summer I was hooked and have worked every summer since 2008 in a variety of different jobs and now I worked all year round for the most dynamic and passionate company I’ve had the pleasure to know. TECS Summer Camps has changed my profession, it has changed my life, and it has made me a better human. I owe everything to TECS Summer Camps and the magical experience they have given me every summer.

– Patrick Alvarez (2008 onwards)

Why I work on summer camp

Hey, for anyone who doesn’t know me my name is Patrick Alvarez and I’m the Assistant Director of TECS Summer Camps (Programme, Staffing, and Structure) – I know right? What a mouthful! I like to just say I’m the Assistant Director of Summer Camps Pss….. What that means is that I’m the one who works all year round planning our summer camps, the activity programmes, etc. I am also the one who is responsible for the recruitment of up 200 summer camp staff.

Obviously this blog isn’t about me, but I thought as a first blog post I’d introduce myself, what I do, and why I got into summer camp work!

When I was a kid I went to a few summer camps (Not TECS ones, other ones). I think I went to Camp Rockwell, some tennis camp, and a random camp in Riaza to “name” a few. I was always one of those kids who wanted to go away from home, and I think my parents must have been happy to ship me off to camps/family/exchanges/anything-that-would-get-me-out of the house.

However, I’d never really thought about working on a summer camp but when I was a student in my final year in school and looking for something to do in the summer one of the Spanish students there (thanks Peps Moreno!) told me about TECS. He’d actually been a camper, crew member, and camp monitor on the summer camps. He sold it to me by saying that I’d have an awesome summer in the sunny south of Spain, you’ll meet loads of great people and have a really fun job. So work in a shop in rainy Ireland or get a job on a summer camp in Spain? Easy decision.

That summer I worked as an assistant monitor for one month in July and I honestly had THE BEST SUMMER EVER!! Not only did I meet a whole pile of new people, great kids, had loads of craic (fun for you non-Irish people), some of the most randomly hiliarious moments, but I also got so much out of it personally and professionally. At the time I was an 17/18 year old teenage boy about to go to university to study engineering and whose sole focus was himself. Something magical happened that summer which I can’t quite explain….. Working on TECS Summer Camps that first summer in 2008 changed something inside me, and sparked some sort of desire within me to not be such a selfish self-centered teenager, but it drove me to want to be a better person. I know a bit weird sounding but you have to experience it!

Anyway long story short I was hooked! Working on summer camp has become some sort of drug! I returned to work on camp every summer while at university, each year moving up: monitor, assistant coordinator, activity coordinator and then camp director. TECS obviously saw something special in me and wanted to keep promoting me, and then eventually asked me to join their year round team when I finished my degree to do what I do now. I’m the luckiest person in the world to be able to work on summer camp all of the time.

If you’ve never worked on a summer camp you MUST do it at least once! Put on it on your bucket list! It’s the experience of a lifetime, it’s so much fun, and it might just make you a better person.

 

Testimonial: Tristina Oppliger

 

I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to work with tecs summer camps- I honestly felt like someone finally gave me a chance to excel and for that I was grateful. It is clear that you really care about tecs and I m so thankful to have had the opportunity to work there. I learned so much about who I am and what I am capable of and made so many wonderful friends. The experience was irreplaceable. I want you to know that it was tecs that really got me started thinking … that I was capable of so much more than being a “language assistant”. I thrive when I am challenged- and I was challenged, no doubt!!

– Tristina Oppliger