Discover How A YMCA Summer Volunteer Camp Will Change Your Life Forever!
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to volunteer at a summer camp abroad and put a smile on the faces of children from some of the poorest neighborhoods? You do not have to wonder any more as you can come to Jamaica and experience an unforgettable summer.
The YMCA summer volunteering camp is looking for volunteers who have a passion for working with children and teens from orphanages, kindergarten, childcare centers and poor communities. If you would like to give children the memory of learning a sport for the first time, or teaching them your favorite songs and have them sing along, then these are the unique and life changing moments that you will cherish forever.
Many of the children who come to the camp are from Government homes and other institutions. They are very excited about the summer camps as it provides a chance for them to spend time with their friends, meet new friends, learn new skills and allow them to explore their athletic/artistic talents.
Summer volunteering in Jamaica is not only life changing but also filled with unforgettable and thrilling adventures. You can discover the secret places that locals go, or find the fruits and foods that you would never see in your local store.
Come join our summer volunteer programs at the YMCA, and have the Experience of a Lifetime that could help you choose a new direction in life or develop a career path you may already be on.
Here are some of the volunteer projects available at the YMCA:
Kinder Camp 5 years age group:
The Kinder Camp is designed for children in the age group of 5 years and below. Activities include taking care of your pets, art & craft, sing-a-long and dancing. The goal is to provide a safe, informal and educational program for these children.
Youth Camps – 6-12 years age group:
This by far is the largest and most popular of the YMCA’s programs and includes outdoor games, football, swimming, scavenger’s hunt; indoor games – table tennis, other table games, art & craft, film shows, discussions, drama dance, quiz, special hobbies; and specially selected tours.
Teen Camp – 13-14 age group
The objective of this camp is to prepare teens for the challenges they will face as they mature. We give them problem solving skills and sometimes help them to prepare for the world of work.
Many of the children & teens attending the summer volunteer program lack exposure to many of the skills they will need to face the pressures of life. Because of this, each week representatives from various companies are invited to make presentations on topics, such as, Fire Safety, Drug Awareness, and others. Organizations are invited to display their products and give samples to campers.
Learn to Swim
The YMCA is known locally for offering swimming classes and during the hot summer, learning to swim offers the fun and excitement these children desire.
Since it is summer, we know you would like to enjoy Jamaica while you are volunteering. So for your enjoyment we have added many exciting activities for you to enjoy your stay in Jamaica.
Here are some activities that we offer to help you immerse in our culture and have incredible fun:
- You’ll have the opportunity to learn how to cook authentic Jamaican food, go further to Holywell, an eco-tourist lover’s delight , and see the sight of lush vegetation and towering trees.
- Are you a coffee enthusiast? You’ll have the chance to see how the famous blue mountain coffee is grown and harvested. Jamaican coffee is a premier product which is enjoyed worldwide.
- Do you like history and culture? Be a Maroon for a day: On the day tours you get the chance to see living history as you experience a day that will change your life forever as you immerse yourself in the life of a Maroon.
- And what would Jamaica be without its rivers and the sea? If you are interested in seeing the premier attraction in Jamaica, then a trip to the famous Dunn’s River Falls is a “Must Do.” There is much to see and do here. Feel the thrill of climbing the six hundred feet cascading waterfalls and find out why it was made famous by the Tom Cruise.
We offer accommodation in our volunteer house called Smokey Manor. When this is full, we offer Home Stay accommodation. Rates quoted are for Dorms but if you require double occupancy you may request this at an extra charge. Staying in volunteer facilities and Home Stays allow you to touch, feel and see up close the Jamaican culture.
Food & Drink
Daily breakfast and dinner are included in your package. You are responsible for buying lunch at your project placement.
Transportation: • We provide in-house transportation driven by family members and other trusted tour guide/drivers who not only knows all the safe places to take you, but also knows the customs of Jamaica.
Insurance: It is a requirement that all volunteers be covered by a travel insurance policy. We work with insurance providers or you can buy your own.
Pre Departure Assistance:
Once you complete your application and payment, our dedicated team of coordinators will start working with you. Our team is responsible for helping you to prepare for your trip. A welcome kit with travel tips and information is emailed to you.
Before you arrive in Jamaica you may have questions or need to make special arrangements. We are here to give you help and support
The Pre Departure Information Booklet provides the complete details of the country, project locations, things to bring, accommodations, contact information, etc.
Our first job is providing you with in- country support. We will meet you at the airport, welcome you and transfer you to your accommodation.
On your arrival and the following day before the start of your project you’ll be given your orientation. You’ll get a good insight into Jamaica, the culture, things to do, see, and what to do in case of an emergency. And there’s much… much … more.
When you are in Jamaica you will not be alone. Help is always available – 24/7 for emergencies and other support. Our team is there to support you. Go here to learn more about safety & security.
Start Date: June 28 – August 15
Duration: 6 Weeks
Minimum Age: 15
Working Hours: Monday – Thursday
Explore Jamaica: Friday – Sunday each week
$1,350 USD for the two week period
A program fee of $100 is charged in addition to accommodation costs
Here are all the items included in your package
- Airport pick up and transfer to accommodation
- Shared accommodation
- Daily breakfast and dinner
- Orientation on arrival
- Internet access
- Pre -Arrival Assistance
- In country support
Items NOT included in Package Costs
- Airfare & Airport taxes
- Any cost associated with visas
- Transportation to/from all volunteer scheduled activities
- Personal expenses
- Return transfer to airport (Transfer can be arranged for US$50.00)
- On your departure-house keeper Tip of US$10 minimum ( This is a one time payment)
- Optional tours to local attractions
P. S. You can ask for our all –inclusive package which covers airport return, local transfers and your requested tours.
Do I need a Passport to Travel to Jamaica?
Yes – You need a valid passport to enter Jamaica
What kind of shots or vaccines do I need before entering Jamaica?
Travelers to Jamaica do not require shots or vaccines before entering the island
Is it necessary to convert money to Jamaican Dollars?
It is a good idea to change some of your money to Jamaican dollars as soon as you arrive in the island. The exchange rates fluctuate from place to place and some shops would not be able to give change in your currency. It is also be cheaper to buy products/services in Jamaican dollars
How can we exchange money to Jamaica Dollars?
Cambios, banks and some shops are available for money exchange. We’ll assist you by either converting your currency or during your transfers, stop at any of the money exchange places
Is the water safe to drink?
Jamaica’s water is safe to drink. Many ships stop here just for refilling their water supplies. If you do not want to drink our water, there is an abundant supply of bottled water for purchase
Will my cell phone work in Jamaica?
Yes, if you have roaming service connected to our phone. You can also buy an inexpensive pre-paid phone or SIM card
Do I need to buy travel insurance?
Yes, we strongly urge you to buy Travel Insurance. It is a requirement that all travellers are covered by a travel insurance policy. We work with insurance providers who can cover travellers
We hear a lot about crime in Jamaica, is it safe to move around?
Yes, we have crime in Jamaica as you have in your country. Jamaica is a small island and often times the news is very sensational. As you would do in your country, you should be careful and use precaution and common sense. In your orientation we give tips to assist and help keep you safe
Is Ganja (marijuana) smoking legal in Jamaica?
No, smoking Ganja is liable to imprisonment or fines. We urge you to avoid the use of this drug
Is there phone and internet available on projects?
In all accommodations there will be phone and internet service available. We strongly recommend having your personal cell phone
Accommodation Specific Frequently Asked Questions
Where will I stay?
There are two types of accommodation offered. Home stays with shared rooms of double/triple occupancy. This is a chance for you to touch, feel and see up close the Jamaican culture.
Also available are shared dorms with sitting room. All the accommodations are in attractive Jamaican communities with elegant living. They are clean and offer the best of Jamaica life
Do you offer single occupancy and air-conditioned rooms?
On specific requests we can offer single occupancy and air-conditioned rooms if they are available
Is tipping customary and how much should we bring?
Yes, Jamaica is a tourist destination and workers are expecting to be tipped.
We recommend that you give a minimum of US$10.00 and the maximum is at your discretion
What kind of food can I expect?
We serve authentic Jamaican foods but can provide substitutes for volunteers who have special dietary considerations
Volunteer Programs Specifics
What should I expect when I first arrive in Jamaica?
You will be met at the airport by one of our representative and transferred to your accommodation. After your welcome and the following day before your project starts you’ll be given your orientation. Get a good insight into Jamaica, the culture, things to do and see what to do in case of an emergency and much more
Can couples or families join the volunteer program?
Yes, we welcome couples and families who want to volunteer and try to make special arrangements so they can be together
Are there additional payments to be made after arriving in Jamaica?
Program fees cover accommodation, daily breakfast & dinner, airport pick up and transfer to accommodation, orientation, pre-departure information and in-country support. You will need funds to cover personal expenses such as daily lunch, telephone, house-keeper tip at the end of your stay, local transportation which includes airport departure, tours or any other purchase. For personal expenses we recommend a minimum US$30 – $50. Per week
You have the option to volunteer in Orphanages and work with children ages 3 – 18 years. Do art & craft, teach computer skills, play games, or just talk to them and show them you care
What kind of gifts can I bring for schools and the orphanage?
bring things like, crayons or anything for art & craft. Why? Many of these schools are very poor so although they should provide tools, you might not have things to work with if you do not bring some.
Do you have any new or used toys?
Gadgets like iPod, cameras or anything first world that you can bring to show kids to use? They will be fascinated by these and you can use them to break the ice and win confidence
Do you have small sports equipment?
Do you have balls or any equipment to use with the sport of your choice? – In Jamaica, children love to play Sports. We are big on track & field; cricket, football, basketball, netball. There are many others, but these are most popular.
Can I bring Clothes?
If you are interested in bringing a piece of luggage with some personal items of clothing, then this would be welcomed. Many of the children both girls and boys ages 3- 14 need simple things like socks, underwear, sneakers, etc. They can be new and used.
Would the orphanage accept linen?:
Beds at the orphanages are urgently in need of sheets and blankets. Popular choices are twin & flat
Can I bring sweets?
Bring a gift no matter how small: If you do not have big items, you may buy or ask others to donate sweets, nuts or candies.
How many hours will I volunteer per day? -Your hours of volunteer work will be determined by a number of factors. Example: The volunteer activity you chose, number of days you requested to volunteer, and the flexibility of the program with which you are working with.
How should I dress?
Every country has its customs and traditions and this includes Jamaica.
Dress for schools: In the schools you are expected to wear clothes that cover your body and not reveal intimate parts. Do not wear shorts to volunteer in schools. At the orphanage you can wear shorts for sports and relaxing with the kids.
How do I dress for church?
Jamaicans dress more formal to church. Do not wear short pants and cover the intimate parts of your body.
Where will I volunteer? – You will volunteer in schools, orphanages and community based organizations.
What kind of things can I talk about when volunteering?
Tell about your country, the weather, clothes people wear for the different seasons; things they do, eat etc. Things you take for granted will interest them. Carry pictures, samples of clothes or anything that will help you demonstrate. These will make your work interesting
As a volunteer teacher what will I do?
You can work with a class teacher to help individual students. This means you would move around the class and help the students one by one with reading, spelling, math and other basic subjects.