Exciting News! We are partnering with Crooked Trails, our favorite nonprofit, to offer this trip. Keep reading to find out what that means for you…
Camp Summary: Teach Coding Oaxaca
Who: For kids entering 8th through 12th grades
When: August 5-11, 2018 + 1 day of curriculum prep work in June
Where: Oaxaca City, Mexico
Cost: $3,000 + suggested donation to Centro de Esperanza Infantil
Service learning: Up to 25 service learning hours (SPS graduation requirement)
Prerequisites: Understanding of basic coding, at least one full year of Spanish
Adult/Camper Ratio: No more than 1:4
Apply here: Fill out this application form. Please also review our Financial Policies.
This week-long volunteer service summer camp in Oaxaca, Mexico will have you teaching basic programming and building Spanish language skills, learning about the culture of Mexico, and connecting with local youth. Don’t feel like an expert-level programmer? Don’t feel like a fluent Spanish speaker? All you need are the basics in each to make an impact.
Accommodations will be in a beautiful apartment overlooking Oaxaca City and walking distance from the school, plazas, restaurants, coffee shops, and markets. We’ll try local culinary treats such as the seven types of mole (a chocolate-based pepper sauce), chapulines (fried grasshoppers), and what Oaxacans call Vitamina T (tamales, tortillas, tlayudas, tostadas, tortas). We’ll visit sites like Monte Albán, the El Zócalo, El Museo de Santo Domingo, and the botanical gardens.
Why Oaxaca, el Centro de Esperanza Infantil, and Coding?
After more than ten successful years in the technology industry, Jay quit to teach a high school computer science class. He was impressed with the students’ technology talents and generous hearts. That summer, we took a family trip to Oaxaca and fell in love with the environment and culture. Riveted Kids values include traveling with integrity so we looked for an opportunity to give back to the community that was hosting us. In this search we found el Centro de Esperanza Infantil.
Many Oaxacan families, especially in rural areas, live on just a few dollars a day with substandard living conditions, water, and sanitation. These social and economic conditions often force children and their families to move to the capital of Oaxaca City in hopes of building a better life. Unfortunately, sometimes life in the city isn’t much better than in the villages they left and families are forced to make a living any way they can. This often includes out-sized (in our cultural perspective) responsibility for children to bring income to the family. El Centro de Esperanza Infantil gives these kids access to education, food, and a support team that will help them to break the cycle of poverty.
After seeing the school and talking to the staff we felt that we could leverage the skills of Seattle teens to teach the basics of coding and computer science. We want to work together to help children at the school see more options for their future and give them a foundation of skills to take the next steps to a satisfying life outside the challenges of poverty. In addition to service work, Oaxaca has some of the most amazing folk art, delicious food, rich cultural heritage, and archaeological sites in North America. The Mexican state has an established tourist infrastructure while still being off-the-beaten-track. There are some incredible sights and experiences to be had after teaching hours.
High school students in computer class
What does the partnership with Crooked Trails mean for me?
Our partnership with the nonprofit Crooked Trails means that you get the backing and expertise of an organization that has 20 years of experience in sustainable, immersive travel. It also means that the cost of the trip is tax deductible and it makes it easier for you to claim your service hours for school.
What is the plan?
We are working with el Centro de Esperanza Infantil to develop a teaching schedule. Part of every day will be spent at the school and the remainder will be experiencing the city and surroundings. There are some incredible sights and experiences to be had after teaching hours.
- a read-ahead short list of books and movies
- Spanish instruction and practice
- eating world renowned Oaxacan cuisine
- meeting wonderful local people
- trips to food markets
- horticultural gardens and museums
- local art and archaeological sites
Sunday August 5: Travel from Seattle to Oaxaca
Saturday August 11: Travel from Oaxaca to Seattle
What is included in the camp price?
- In-Country Transportation
What is not included in the camp price?
- Trip insurance
- Pocket money for souvenirs
- Transportation to/from SeaTac airport in Seattle
What about technology and communication?
Our trips are device-free. Technology is an incredible distraction from the world around us. It can have an especially negative impact when we are trying to immerse ourselves in a new culture. It keeps us at arms length from our experience and from one another. We draw a hard line. None. Cameras? Yes, absolutely.
Want to discuss this further? Email me and we’ll talk.
What kind of resources do you provide?
When you’re all signed up we’ll help you with passports, vaccination processes, packing lists, reading lists, and will coordinate a short teaching training and technology vocabulary in Spanish ahead of time.
We have a system of group journaling to help us process our experiences, learn to teach better, experience Oaxaca more deeply, and craft our stories. At the end of the camp you’ll have access to photos and summaries from our journaling. You’ll need to write a reflection on the experience to complete your service learning documentation for SPS.
We will make all the travel arrangements including flights.
Campers: I am thinking about applying. What should I consider?
This is going to be a trip that changes the way you look at the world. The art, the people, the food, and the environment are among the best we’ve experienced. Immersive travel means leaving some of the comforts of home and knowing what to expect behind for a while. Before you decide that you want to join this amazing adventure, think carefully about these things:
- Do I have the patience to teach coding beginners?
- Am I willing to identify my biases and preconceived notions and try to let go of them?
- Can I work with heat, cold, bugs, spicy food, things not going as planned?
- Can I live with no personal technology for a week?
- Am I willing to try new foods and be flexible about what is offered to eat?
- Can I be away from my parents for a week?
- Am I ready to see myself and the world in a whole different way?
Campers: How do I apply?
Parents: What happens next?
Riveted Kids will review applications and will select campers based on camp capacity (≤ four kids), a mix of kids that will form a great teaching team, and enthusiasm/readiness for an immersive travel experience. When selected we’ll communicate by email and Crooked Trails will invoice you via PayPal.
Parents: Want references? We’ve got ’em.
Give us a shout and we’ll connect you to references. If you want to see some reflections from our daughter on family travel you can look here, here, here, and here. Want to get a better sense of how we travel? Peruse the rest of the blog. We have posts specific to Oaxaca here, here, and here.