JumpStart Training Now Underway!

With each edition of JumpStart, the pre-camp training at the end of the school year kicks off the last stretch of project coordination. Today, Costa Rica Multilingüe (CRML) is excited to welcome to San José the Peace Corps Volunteers who will be leading most of our camps this coming January as part of JumpStart 2014! For all involved, this training is exciting on several levels. As the only event that brings together the vast majority of this project’s many collaborators, it’s the one opportunity to really see and grasp firsthand the true scale of JumpStart. Not only does it signify that many months of work are about to pay off; it also indicates to what extent. And it’s safe to say this training will be especially validating.

This week’s training will be twice the size of the one we did this time last year. Whereas JumpStart 2013 included 14 camps led by Peace Corps Volunteers, this January we’ll be doing camps in 26 communities through Peace Corps support. Tomorrow we’ll meet the second half of attendees: most of the 25 MEP (Ministry of Education) English Teachers who’ve signed on to serve as co-facilitators at our Peace Corps camps, as well as those teachers’ Regional Advisors, whose advocacy for this project has proven invaluable at several crucial phases of camp planning. Between Volunteers, Teachers and Advisors, we’ll be working with over 50 counterparts this week. Even those who’ve participated in JumpStart before are in for a treat, because a freshly revised curriculum is coming their way. We’ve added a few new English lessons, as well as entirely new extracurricular components. One, which we’re calling “High School Ready,” includes a series of five sessions to prepare students for their upcoming transition to secondary education more generally. From those five sessions, camp facilitators will chose one to organize and implement with students each week. Sessions include a Q&A with local high schoolers, another with high school teachers on habits for academic success, and a high school tour.

Esteli at Casa Presidencial with
friend Raquel, a Spanish teacher
from the UK who helped teach
the first week of JumpStart camp
in Katsi, Talamanca

This week’s JumpStart extravaganza comes not long after last month’s training with Esteli, a Peace Corps Volunteer who is now halfway through JumpStart 2014’s first and only camp to be held outside the standard January-February timeframe. Esteli is working with students from several schools in Costa Rica’s indigenous Talamanca region, with support from other Peace Corps Volunteers and friends from abroad. So far, her camp has been quite the success. The first day, more sixth graders (rising high schoolers) showed up than the number of students who generally enter the local high school each year. We’re excited to see pictures from Katsi, and will share them here as soon as we get them. Also, expect pictures from this week’s big event, which will be coming soon!