On a cold February morning, it warms the heart to look back on our wildly successful summer camp last year – a bilingual, musical theater summer camp in Monteverde, Costa Rica, no less…  Local and international kids ages 5-11 enjoyed exploring cultures while playing, visiting coffee/chocolate farms, helping on a pig farm, and even riding a traditional oxcart.  Older youth spent up to 7 weeks preparing then performing Costa Rica’s premier rendition of Les Miserables, in Spanish!

A quick promo – this summer we’ll be doing Fiddler on the Roof, and applications are being accepted now – http://mfschool.org/summer-camp-in-costa-rica/.

Camp4And now, the top ten reasons our summer camp in Monteverde is amazing, different, and un poco loco:

1. Chocolate and Pig Farms – What other summer camp has day-trips to a chocolate/coffee farm (with free samples), and lets you help put baby piglets into sacks to carry to a new home?

2. Bilingual – Spanish, English, Spanglish, we had it all.  “Spanish for Theater” classes for an hour each morning for international visitors, plus the fact that most of the local kids are bilingual and switch back-and-forth between sentences, creates a fun babbling mix that everyone enjoys and learns from.

3. Music – When they weren’t singing the entire Les Miserables soundtrack (in Spanish!), the teens spent their breaks pulling out guitars, flutes, and drums and singing everything under the Costa Rican sun.  And of course the younger children were constantly singing and dancing no matter what the activity.

Summer Camp in Monteverde - music even during breaks

4. Multi-cultural – The mix of local and international campers was a joy to witness; youth sharing perspectives and cultures, learning from each other, forming new friendships.

5. Rainforest – Whether it’s hiking through virgin cloud forest trails, watching a Tucanet in the trees, or playing frisbee inside a cloud, a camp in a rainforest has its own unique flavor.

Summer Camp in Monteverde - music6. Theater – The actual 3-day production of Les Miserables – the first ever in Costa Rica – drew national attention and sold-out shows.  Creative set construction, a 12-person orchestra, and high quality direction from the Far Corners Community Musical Theater Society made this not just a fun kids’ show, but a truly excellent production.  Next summer, the younger kids camp will also have daily theater games (led by the teens) and produce their own show at the end of the 2 weeks.

7. Food – Younger children eagerly participated daily in making their own snacks, learning Costa Rican and international delights.  Empanadas, quesadillas, fresh pineapple juice – not your standard camp gruel!

Summer Camp in Monteverde - friends8. Multi-age – As always in our school and community, children and youth of various ages mixed freely.  The younger camp sometimes divided into 5-8 and 9-11 year old groups, and sometimes enjoyed all-age activities.  In the theater camp, 12 year olds hung out with 18 year old performers and 23 year old interns and even this 49 year old dad.

Waterfall9. The Beach – The teen camp enjoyed body surfing, tide pools, and late late night singing during an overnight at Playa Grande.  Day trips to waterfalls, hot springs and cloud forest paths weren’t too shabby either.

10. Coming Back for More – This was the 10th year of the musical theater camp, and the strength of the tradition shows in the number of kids who come back year after year.  Some started in the chorus and now have lead roles, some have graduated and come back as interns and producers.  It’s like an annual family reunion, with new friends each time.

This summer’s camp will run June 22-Aug 1 for teens, and July 10-21 for children 5-11.  More information is at: http://mfschool.org/summer-camp-in-costa-rica/