Bagaces is a small town, or canton, in the Guanacaste Province. The regional economy is based on tourism and agriculture, and the school dropout rate is extremely high. Students and parents overwhelmingly cite English as their and their children's most challenging subject. Most of the young people who drop out of school end up providing physical labor for local farms, which produce fruits and vegetables for export. These jobs are difficult and considered less desirable in the local community, with their low wages, the increased exposure to pesticides and the danger of unskilled workers working with heavy machinery.
Given the overall importance of the tourism industry in Costa Rica, and the preference for working in the tourism industry amongst young people in Bagaces, World Connect is launching a JumpStart camp for students in Bagaces. English language skills are valuable tools in helping Costa Ricans obtain optimal employment. In addition, enhanced English language skills taught to high school students in Costa Rica improves high school graduation rates and pursuit of higher education. This project will provide 20 students from Bagaces with the opportunity to participate in a month-long English language immersion camp using the proven JumpStart curriculum.
Throughout one month, twenty students participated in the English language immersion camp. Through interactive lessons, games, books, and group activities, each student made significant progress and are more confident in their writing and speaking abilities. The camp received great feedback and will be implemented again next year.
"The children who participated in this camp benefited more than any other community member. Rather than entering the high school scared, lonely, and unprepared, they started day one with a group of friends and new academic skills." - Lauren, Peace Corps Volunteer
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