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Vacations with a Purpose

Vacations with a Purpose

If you are interested in coming down to El Camino Academy for a working vacation of maybe 1, 2 or 3 weeks, we are always looking for fresh talent to infuse in our student body and staff. Maybe you are retired or have time off from work. Or maybe you would just like to invest in our multi-cultural Training for Life campus. We have had many positive experiences of folks coming down to visit and leaving a fragrance of blessing as they’ve shared their gifts and talents with us. We would be happy to work out logistics to make your visit as pleasant as possible. Contact us at communication@eca.edu.co

Follow the link below to complete a volunteer application online.

Are You an Educator?

If you are/have been a teacher or administrator, you could consider helping in these areas:

  • Teacher observations
  • Teacher mentoring
  • Workshops
  • Subbing
  • Tutoring
  • Curriculum revision

Are You Skilled in Another Area?

If education isn’t your field, maybe you could consider helping in these areas:

  • Technology training
  • Library support (we’ll train you!)
  • Reading 1-on-1 with/to students
  • Being an extra teacher aide to help with small groups, tutoring, math cards, memory quizzing, read-alouds, phonics, vocabulary, spelling, etc.
  • Having English conversation or ELL lessons for office staff and aides
  • Proofreading English documents
  • Organizing closets
  • Decorating bulletin boards, etc.
  • Sports activities
  • Professional/career counseling
  • Elective activities for students: art, music, crafts, etc.
  • Spiritual emphasis activities
  • Chapel talks or retreat speakers (see Calendar under Quick Links on the left for Middle and High School retreats)
  • Handyman projects (painting, fix things, etc.)
  • Etc. – do you have a gift, talent or some training that could be invested in our school, students or staff?

Time Frames

Since it usually takes the better part of a day to fly down from North America, we recommend coming for at least a week, but it’s whatever works for you! Here are some suggestions:

9 days 1 week with 2 weekends

16 days 2 weeks with 3 weekends

23 days 3 weeks with 4 weekends

The school year calendar is here, so check out what’s happening during the time frame you are thinking about. Also on our Homepage, under Quick Links, is a calendar that is synched to 4 of our constantly updated calendars. You can view/hide them to focus on what you need to see.

Daily Schedule

Our campus starts humming around 7:00 a.m., but since this would be your vacation you would have the choice of sleeping in. The teacher vans leave at 6:15 and 6:27a but we would suggest you plan to be on campus from 8:00a to 4:00p. We could send one of the vans back for you after the students arrive at school. In the afternoon there are teacher vans at 4:20 and 5:20 which might serve you well. Classes are from 7:30a – 3:00p Mon-Thu. On Fridays the 7:00a Teacher Meeting pushes classes back to 8:15 – 3:00p.

Weekend Options

There are lots of interesting things to experience in Bogotá and Colombia, and here’s a list of some of the most popular ones among our visitors. You can do a Google search on most of them to find out more!

  • Bogotá City Tour: Take a cable car up to the Cerro de Monserrate, and walk through the famous mountain-top cathedral; plus have a super view of the city. Tour the gardens and home of “The Liberator,” Simon Bolivar, and see the wonders of the Gold Museum. Visit the famous neighborhood of Candelaria where history still lives. Enjoy a typical lunch, and shop for souvenirs.
  • Ministry Tour in Bogotá: Visit a variety of ministries with children and adults, and see and hear first-hand what God is doing in some of the worst neighborhoods of our city. A simple, typical lunch will be served, and time for souvenir shopping is optional.
  • Guatavita: Drive 2 hours north to an alpine crater-like lake full of Indian lore of gold-covered chiefs who long ago dove into the icy waters. The hike part-way around the rim gives you a fantastic view of the countryside. A typical lunch will be served at a restaurant near the mountain, and souvenir shops are available.
  • Salt Cathedral: Drive 1½ hours north to Zipaquirá to tour the famous Salt Cathedral, a converted salt mine carved inside a mountain.
  • Tourist Train: Take the restored steam or diesel tourist train to Zipaquirá for a musical (traveling band!) experience of seeing the countryside. A Salt Cathedral tour package is optional.
  • 2 days in Villa de Leyva: Drive 3 hours to a colonial town with cobbled streets, old historic buildings including a nearby Dominican monastery, a fossil museum, horseback riding, and hikes.
  • 2 days in hot country: Drive 2-3 hours down the mountain and relax around pools in a tropical climate of 90o weather.
  • Rafting and zip-lining in Tobia: Drive down the mountain for 2 hours to the west of Bogotá to the warm town of Tobia where you can raft (class II and III rapids, depending on the rain) for about an hour. Then take the zip-line between two mountaintops on one of the longest and fastest zip-lines in Latin America. A typical lunch will be served.
  • Fusagasugá Coffee Tour: Tour a coffee plantation 2 hours south of Bogotá in a warm climate, and learn about the process of producing the best coffee in the world. Testing flavors is obviously part of the process! A typical lunch will be served.
  • 3-4 days to a Caribbean beach: Fly 1½ hours north to either Cartagena or Santa Marta where there are gorgeous warm tropical white sand beaches.

Dress for Visitors

In general, Colombians dress up more than Americans, even in casual settings. That means that even if the weather may seem warm enough, shorts, capris, sandals, and flip flops are not usually worn in Bogotá. Those articles are fine for at home, during athletic activities, or even at certain times while on vacation in hot country, but worn in Bogotá they make you stand out – not your goal here. In the same vein, jeans need to be nice, not ripped, ragged, holey, or stained. So when at ECA and around town, plan to wear nicer but still comfortable clothing.

Costs

You’ll need to cover:

  • Airline ticket
  • International health/accident insurance
  • Housing
  • Food – Lunches at school are around $4/day, and supper usually runs $5-10, either cooking for yourself or dining out.
  • Recreation

School provides:

  • Crash Spanish classes
  • Cultural and country orientation
  • A ride to/from school on the teacher van, space permitting
  • Help in organizing/arranging:
    • Transportation to and from airport, usually with an ECA family
    • Housing arrangements (depending on budget and personal desire, could be in an ECA family’s home, a guest house, or a hotel – between $10-$120/night)
    • Ministry opportunities
    • Transportation within Colombia
    • Leisure/recreational activities

Visa

If you’re coming from the U.S. or Canada, you don't need a visa to come for 90 days or less. They will simply stamp your passport with a "Permiso" for 90 days. There are no fees.

Security: Liability Release Form

Every year we look for individuals or teams to come down to give our students English reinforcement experience during the summer break. The ideal times this year would be during the first few weeks after school lets out for the summer, June 6-17, and again during Teacher Orientation July 28 - Aug 5, 2016.

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