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Summer breaks can be a challenging time for parents and students alike. According to a study by the Rand Corporation, students experience significant learning loss during the summer months, particularly in math and reading. Additionally, a report by the Afterschool Alliance found that only 25% of families have access to affordable summer programs.

This lack of structured activities and educational opportunities can hinder a child’s academic and personal growth. However, summer camps offer a solution by providing enriching experiences that foster learning, personal development, and community engagement.

In this episode of School of Talk Season 2, our host Ryan dives into the world of summer camps with Tom and Joel, the founders of International Education Camp.

They discuss the immense value these immersive language camps bring to students and communities worldwide. Learn about the challenges and rewards of scaling their programs globally, the joy brought to underprivileged towns, and the life-changing experiences of both campers and counselors.

Tom and Joel share how their camps foster a love for learning and promote cultural exchange, while also providing an unforgettable, fun-filled experience.

Tune in to discover why these camps have been transformative for everyone involved, and get insights on what makes a great camp counselor.

Episode Highlights:

  1. Introduction and Exam Season
  2. Meet the Founders: Tom and Joel
  3. Memorable Summer Camp Experiences
  4. The Role and Impact of Camp Counselors
  5. The Growth and Success of International Education Camp
  6. Recruitment and Future Vision

The Power of Passion and Energy!

At the heart of International Education Camp (IEC) lies a philosophy that summer camps should be more than just educational experiences – they should be transformative journeys filled with laughter, energy, and lifelong memories. Tom and Joel, the founders of IEC, understand that the key to achieving this lies in recruiting the right camp counselors – individuals who can embody the camp’s spirit and ignite a contagious enthusiasm in every camper.

“If we don’t have amazing people representing IEC, International Education Camp, that’s going to be feeding into the experience of everybody involved,” Tom notes on recruiting the right summer camp counselors, “in the students, in the parents, in the communities, in the schools.”

The Unconventional Interview Process

To ensure they find the right candidates, IEC employs an unconventional interview technique – asking applicants to sing a song. This seemingly bizarre request serves a crucial purpose: gauging an individual’s ability to step out of their comfort zone and embrace the camp’s lively atmosphere.

“One of the things that we do in an interview, which I would say is not a very comfortable thing for either us or the person, is we ask them to sing a song. And the reason we do that is it’s a very telling moment whether someone is the right person who can just jump in and throw themselves in a very uncomfortable situation.” – Joel

Seeking More Than Just Teaching Experience

While teaching experience is valuable, IEC recognizes that the summer camp environment requires a unique set of skills that go beyond traditional classroom instruction. They actively seek individuals from diverse backgrounds, such as drama or acting, who possess the energy, creativity, and ability to engage students in a dynamic and interactive setting.

Extensive Training and Support

To ensure a seamless transition into the camp environment, IEC provides comprehensive training and support for their counselors. This includes an intensive two-day training session where counselors are immersed in the camp’s culture, learning the songs, games, and activities they will be leading.

“Before we send all the teachers out, we do an intensive two-day training,” explains Joel. “And if you’re joining people who are ready to throw themselves in, and you’ve got 39 of the camp counselors standing in a circle who were singing their hearts out, and it’s your turn to lead the song… You’re gonna wish you did not come.”

The Lasting Impact

“It can be life changing.” – Joel

For Tom and Joel, the ultimate goal is to create a transformative experience for both students and counselors alike. They believe that the right counselors can not only enhance a child’s language skills and personal growth but also inspire them to view learning as a fun and engaging journey.

By prioritizing the recruitment of passionate, energetic, and dedicated individuals, IEC aims to foster an environment where summer camp becomes more than just a temporary experience – it becomes a catalyst for personal growth, cultural exchange, and lifelong memories.

Where to listen to this episode of School of Talk

Whether you are a teacher, a school administrator, or a parent, this episode shed light on the IB’s mission to create a better and more peaceful world through education.

 Spotify | Apple | YouTube

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