ACA Explorers – Blog

Recruiting Adolescents

We need adolescents and adults for ACA as well! At first we just wanted Adolescent Leaders and Adult Leaders but we decided that we want a group of adolescents that aren’t just leaders there to work with the kids but are also getting their own education on themes that might be relevant to them and not the Explorers. We are unsure if these adolescents will also be Explorers or if that is “lame” to them and we could just call it a youth group or English class or whatever.

One goal is for them to work with the kids but there are so many other goals we want to accomplish in the sense of the English and academic skills of these adolescents. For us, adolescents are a very special group in between kids and adults whose energy we should harness to help accomplish our goals in the community. We feel that if we are able to target adolescents for the program, everything will be easier and the connections within the community will only be greater!

What kind of Adolescents are we looking for?

  • those who are interested in the program
  • those who love learning and actively seek knowledge outside of ACA
  • those who behave well in class
  • those who work well with kids
  • those who can be good role models for the Explorers
  • those who can represent ACA impressively in the community
  • those that will help us recruit more people to ACA
  • those who embody the Explorer values
  • those who are willing to push their personal limits in the sense of dedication and putting themselves out there

How will we find them?

We want to start at the colegios (high schools) so we can get recommendations from teachers who know which of their students embody the characteristics we are looking for. It’s also important for us to go to the colegios to establish relationships with the teachers and administration to be able to offer extra credit in English class at the colegios for our adolescents and Explorers and to offer English classes to the English teachers (many of whom lack basic pronunciation skills and pass these onto their kids who we later have to reteach to pronounce differently [correctly]!)

We also will recruit by word of mouth, adolescents we know and friends/family of our Explorers. Obviously, the teachers in the colegios aren’t the ultimate judges of characters and while we do values their opinions, that won’t be our end-all for recruitment. Some kids are shy or unmotivated in traditional educational environments and our alternative methodology might be able to reach kids in a different way.

How will we attract them?

We plan to do a variety of activities with our adolescents as we do with the Explorers. “Class” or their learning/developing times with us will teach much more than just English. We hope many of them will be attracted to ACA because of the wide variety of learning opportunities. We will also offer:

  • Physical activities like sports and dancing.
  • Arts and crafts for the student’s enjoyment but also making things for the community like painting murals, organizing fund raisers (decorations and theme planning), or creating other things to contribute to the community.
  • Excursions- first probably to places in Jardin like the various waterfalls in the pueblo and hopefully eventually to other parts of Colombia and the world! We will tie themes we’re learning about in with the excursions.
  • Establish a cross-cultural pen pal program. We love the idea of the kids having pen pals. We think we will try to do something online to give the kids that exposure and to be able to communicate for free/more quickly but always monitor the communication.
  • Have rewards and incentives as we do with the Explorers. We’re not sure if they will have a passport system like the Explorers but we will incentivize their good work and progression with awards.

What will ACA offer them?

  • Lessons in English, Science, Math, Cultural Studies and more…
  • Academic Support (tutoring, extra help)
  • Fun Activities- dances, games, songs, excursions
  • Exposure to American (and other) culture(s)- Obviously sharing our own culture but also learning about cultures around the world- traditions, foods, religions, politics, etc.
  • Experience working with kids- This can be very beneficial to adolescents who want to teach or be coaches, mentors, or parents. Leadership roles empower our youth and when kids teach kids, both learn about their own abilities and potential.
  • Teacher Training- intensive programs for especially dedicated adolescents who we think have the qualities of a teacher. We will certify them under the ACA method and have them teach their own groups of Explorers and/or teach in other settings.
  • Hopefully financial support to allow them to continue their studies (that depends on you, our generous donors!)


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