|Happy camper: Jason poses for a photo with the first friend he made in HCM City, a 10 year old boy who would teach him Vietnamese while Jason helped him with English. — Photo coutersy of Jason Doyle
by Le Huong
At 28, Jason Doyle can say that he has seen the world, having been to 28 countries, but it is not travel that has been the dominant thread running through his life.
I have "grown up with summer camps," he said
"I participated in many types of summer camps as a child.
"When I was eight years old I got to go to my first sleep away camp, a residential camp. I lived in a cabin with nine other boys my age and fell in love with the idea of camping. During the day I played many different sports and went swimming and kayaking with new friends I made. It was a dream land for kids and I was so happy I discovered it.
"But one of the main reasons camp is fun are the counselors who take care of you. They are the ones who act as your parent, but also your big brother and so much fun to play with. When I was a child, my counselors were the coolest people I knew and I thought they were the best."
Doyle thought they were so cool that he wanted to become one himself. So he did.
When he was 12 he got to be an assistant counselor on a school trip for younger children and really enjoyed the experience.
Then in high school, he worked as a coach to help younger kids with football and basketball skills and knew that being a coach and teacher was something he loved.
When he went to university, he volunteered to work in classrooms with underprivileged children and took a class on Camp Management while majoring in Psychology and Family, Youth and Community Sciences.
"My time spent there made me realise I wanted to work with summer camps for as long as I could," he said.
His jobs and experience brought him to Viet Nam a few months ago as Camp Director for an international summer camp in central coastal city of Phan Thiet.
Children aged 8-16 can attend week-long sessions at the English-speaking camp that will remain open from June 22 – August 9.
They will live with 4-6 other children in the same age group and gender and have one or two counselors in the cabin with them.
The camp offers over 30 activities in arts, sports, water sports and rope courses. Whether a child wants a very active schedule or more of a relaxed one or a combination of both, the counselors help make it possible.
Jason said that an important rule at the camp is that children are not allowed to use mobile phones or other electrical devices to contact home.
"I have seen in Viet Nam that parents take great care of children and are willing to make children happy. An English camp is a fun way to learn and relax, which is still not popular here," he said, adding that he expects that to change.
As for himself, he is happy doing something that he has always wanted to do, he said. — VNS