I believe Shakespeare once said that: “people and places will enter your life without you even notice and will mark your life forever”. Precisely ten years ago a Sunday newspaper’s ad led me to English Camp. It happened during one of my primary school summer vacations, where my dad, tired of seeing me watch TV all day, signed me up for a ten day summer camp at EC. After refuting the idea in the beginning, I was rapidly “persuaded” by my father, and next thing I know I was packing my bags. Honestly, I have to admit that on my way to the departing place I couldn’t wait to see that endeavor over and get back to my cartoons and video game at home.
As most of the deep reflections an eleventh year-old kid can have, turns out that I was completely wrong. I became fascinated with the camping site, the instructor, the friends I made, but mostly the cooperative environment between everybody; it was a big family. A family where I had my first contact with teamwork, respect for others, discipline and leadership, not to mention that on top all this I got to improve my English. I ended up going to the departure place at least three more times over junior high.
During my high school period at Bandeirantes and my college at ITA (Instituto Tecnológico da Aeronautica), because of time constraints, I took a little break form going to camp, but didn’t take break from the learning I had there, which actually where key to overcome those two competitive environments.
I’ve got back in touch with EC after having worked one and half year at Johnson & Johnson headquarters in New Jersey. As I looked for opportunities to keep my English level I decided to add the fun factor and became a tutor or so called leader for English Camp. Becoming a leader after being a camper gave me more than I expected, I learned that being a leader in English Camp is more than organizing gymkhanas and making fun of yourself to entertain young kids, it’s about being a role model to those same kids, it’s about being responsable to what their parents value most, it’s about understanding how transparent and honest a child can be, it’s about teaching them a language through errands, it’s about getting out of your daily routine as a banker, consultant or executive and to enjoy the simple things in life, like the sunset, nature, etc. As a leader at English Camp I could do everything I mentioned and looking back that gave me skills I could have never imagined before; being an engineer major and having worked in strategic management consulting and investment banking, I can garantee without too much room for questioning that that experience gave me room to develop creativity, ability to make public speeches, develop my interpersonal skills, practice management principles, all of this the funniest and most pleasant environment possible.
Currently I’m pursuing an MBA at Wharton Business School, where we often times receive visits from CEOs and managing director of multinationals around the world and when it comes to topics as Leadership its incredible and rewarding to see that a lot of what they say I can relate to my time as “EC leader and EC camper”.
I’ve had the best time ever at English Camp, whether I was a camper running around the site, helping my teams accomplish the gymkhanas, whether I was a leader trying to make kids in my room to work as a team and help each other, or whether I was coordinating entire camps and had to make sure everything was executed well, while all expectations were being exceeded.
I would like to dedicate this memo to English Camp staff that I worked with over the years and luckily I’ve became friends with. Those were definitely one of the best experiences I’ve had in my entire life.
Tudo isso pertinho de São Paulo! Apenas a 150 km da capital