A little bit about Tarcoles!

Tarcoles is a small fishing town of roughly 2,000 young community members with an even smaller neighboring town of Playa Azul. Located on the coast of Puntarenas, Tarcoles is a potential tourist stop on the way to more well-known beaches such as Playa Jaco and Playa Hermosa. Because of this influx of tourists, there is a high demand for bilingual employees who can connect well with the English speaking foreigners. At this point, the students have essentially two options for jobs when they grow older; take up the nets and depend on the rugged life of a fishermen, or work in businesses or as tour guides in the surrounding area (which requires competency in English). In order to capitalize on this opportunity, it is crucial for the students to not only learn to read English, but to feel comfortable speaking as well. 

In Tarcoles and the neighboring town of Playa Azul, the English instruction in the escuelas is less than ideal. For the past seven years the students in Tarcoles and Playa Azul have had inconsistent English teachers and many students struggle when adjusting to the rigorous English requirements of the colegio. Many of the students have been passing the majority of their final exams, but there is a severe drop-off in the scores for English. In many cases, the final English exam is the only thing that stands between the students and graduation.

Jumpstart has a built in method of involving the community through its dependency on collaboration. The Directoras of the schools are involved in approving the program and offering donations. The English teacher in the colegio is the PCV's partner in planning for and implementing the camp. The parents of the potential participants are involved in the application process and potentially the fundraising. Finally, the students are clearly involved by simply participating and putting their best effort into the program.

By the end of the camp, the students will not only be ready for the demands of their future English classes, but will also feel more comfortable with each other and their new school environment. They will also be more confident speaking English to each other and to native speakers. The Jumpstart camp will also impact the participating English teacher by improving her English fluency, through training her to implement new activities, and improving her teaching methods overall. In a broader sense, a positive activity for youth such as Jumpstart will help to grow pride in the community and the opportunities available for personal growth.
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