IYF English Camps
We inspire hope through language learning.
IYF English Camp is a short-term Christian volunteering initiative that strives to teach English and plant hope in foreign countries. Through a diverse blend of language learning programs, short-term volunteers expose students of all ages to English and the basics of American culture. Through obstacles and limitations, they gain experiences and confidence that give them a newfound perspective on their futures. At the same time, IYF English Camp volunteers discover the joy and happiness that stems from serving others.
How English Camp Started
IYF’s first foray into language learning began in 2001 with the National English Speech Contest in Korea. This program was conceived as an opportunity for college students to overcome their burdens with speaking English in public and gave them the opportunity to put what they had learned for many years in school to the test. Students were given the chance to work face to face with a handful of IYF’s native English speakers to craft speeches, practice their English-speaking skills, and build confidence. Not every contestant could win the grand prize, but what every student did take away from the program was hope that speaking English was not impossible, but just an obstacle that was waiting to be overcome.
Given such a positive response by the public, IYF began operating English Camp in 2002 with students of all ages from South Korea. English Camp exposed Korea’s youth to English in the context of American history, culture, food, games, and trends; and was also for many the first opportunity they had ever had to speak with a native English speaker. The English Speech Contest was expanded to give anyone from elementary school students to senior citizens their chance at participating, and is now the most prestigious of its kind in South Korea. Over 19,500 students have entered the Contest to date.
Wherever IYF is established, its overseas volunteers have set up and run free English academies for the native populations there. In many of these countries these academies have grown in size to the extent that English Camps have developed with the support of the governments and education systems there. In just the past four years, English Camp has expanded to over a dozen different countries such as Brazil, Paraguay, Togo, Benin, Mexico, Haiti, and many others across Central and South America and Africa.
IYF USA held its first English Camp in January, 2012 in Monterrey, Mexico. With the invitation and support of the City of Monterrey and numerous schools including Universidad Tec Milenio and FIME UANL, a total of 392 American volunteers from all over the country taught over 1,300 Mexican participants in three different schools. Then, in June of that same year, 200 more volunteers travelled to Delmas, Haiti by invitation of the mayor of Delmas where 7,000 native students participated in a two-week program held in four schools. English Camp opened to a successful start and positive reception in both countries, but the momentum didn’t slow down there.
Here are some fast facts on IYFUSA English Camp’s reach from 2012 to 2015:
Volunteers dispatched from the U.S. to Haiti: 1,295
Student participants in Haiti: 33,200
Volunteers dispatched from the U.S. to Mexico: 1,675
Student participants in Mexico: 20,800
Africa (Benin, Cote d’ivoire, Tanzania, Togo)
Student participants: 22,280
South America (Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile, Uruguay)
Student participants: 2,910
English Camp TodayDuring our most recent English Camps in Mexico and Haiti, new opportunities arose, allowing IYFUSA to form new partnerships and host English Camps in new places beyond the primary, secondary, and postsecondary schools. At the 2016 English Camp in Mexico, IYF partnered with the State of Nuevo Leon Correctional Department to host English Camps at three prisons and two juvenile detention centers around Monterrey, all to overwhelming reception and positive feedback from our volunteers, prison staff, and attendees. English Camp was also hosted for the first time at the Imperio de Amor Orphanage, bringing joy and new opportunities to less fortunate children.
At the 2015 English Camp in Haiti, IYF was invited to host English Camp at one juvenile detention center, and then came back in February 2016 to run another Camp for the graduating class of cadets at the National Police Academy. That same month, IYF hosted the first English Camp in Benin at the newly constructed IYF Youth Center, which was built on land granted to IYF by the President of Benin Thomas Boni Yayi. Now in 2016, IYFUSA has high hopes and expectations for another year of blessed English Camps and hope being delivered to new participants all around the world.