COACH. TEACH. PLAY.
"The experience I had in conjunction with the people I met—between the staff, volunteers, and the youth that we worked with—has made such a difference on my life. I learned so much about myself and others..."
—Review of SWB on GreatNonprofits.org
T.E.A.M. is Spanglish acronym that stands for, "Trabajando en Equipo Aprendemos Más," ("Working as a team, we learn more"). T.E.A.M. Camp joins student-athletes, coaches, and young professionals from the United States with coaches and participants of SWB Granada for a week-long camp during early January. The themes of teamwork and unity are universal throughout camp, kicking off the new year with high energy, new ideas, and tons of fun!
As a part of camp each year, female camp volunteers compete against the Nicaraguan Women's National Team in 1-2 friendly matches. These games are valuable match opportunity for the national team as well as a great opportunity for the girls in the program to see women athletes competing at a high level.
**This volunteer opportunity has been postponed. For information on current and upcoming opportunities with SWB International Camps & Exchanges, click here.
TEAM Camp is a week-long cultural immersion experience and soccer camp at SWB Nicaragua. The SWB program in Nicaragua—locally called Fútbol Sin Fronteras (FSF)—provides opportunities for girls on and off the field through soccer, tutoring, workshops, team-building activities, and access to school scholarships, supplies, and athletic clothing and equipment. Through our year-round program and annual camps, girls ages 6-20 develop key skills and a sense of belonging that supports their pursuit of growth, inclusion, and personal success. In a place where safety nets, support systems, and inclusivity are rare, FSF has become a safe and welcoming space for the girls. TEAM Camp is one of the major highlights of the year and an opportunity for the girls of Granada to meet and get to know female (and male!) athlete role models.
The Granada program is divided into teams by age, the Las Piratas (6-9 years old), Las Leonas (9-11 year olds), FC Fenix (12-14 year olds), Las Estrellas (13-18 year olds) and FC Sweetlake (15-20 year olds). Each team has a unique group of Nicaraguan and American coaches who lead them in on and off field activities year-round. T.E.A.M. Camp orientation will include a much more extensive description of the year-round program and themes, but please check out the program webpage for a deeper understanding of our year-round work.
Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America, and the second poorest in the Western hemisphere: 48% of the population lives below the poverty line. Granada is located an hour south of Nicaragua’s capital, Managua and its international airport (MGA). A former Spanish colony, Granada is a small city located on Lake Nicaragua, widely known for its colonial-era structure and architecture as well as a burgeoning tourist industry. Spanish is the primary language and proficient local English speakers are rare. Schools in Granada are generally half-day, with a majority of youth dropping out prior to graduation from secondary school. Only 48.9% of youth go on to secondary school. (UNICEF, 2013) As a result, there is a huge need for youth-centered programs to provide positive learning opportunities during out-of-school time, and create support networks to ensure that students graduate, stay healthy, and reach their full potential.
Read about the experiences of former T.E.A.M. Camp Volunteers, Grace Orr, Brooke Webster, and Andi Tostanoski on our blog!
Picture highlights from past T.E.A.M. Camps.
WHO SHOULD APPLY?
TEAM Camp is a volunteer opportunity primarily for current and former college student-athletes, however coaches, professors, and soccer fans ages 18 and older are welcome and encouraged to apply! Because of our annual game against the Nicaraguan Women's National Team, it is necessary for us to field a team's worth of female players, however the typical group is between 16-20 volunteers.
This is a sample schedule. Actual, detailed schedules are shared with T.E.A.M. Camp volunteers prior to the camp.
Saturday: Arrivals to MGA, pick-up game, meet host families
Sunday: Volunteer Orientation, Activity with FSF staff, Tour of Granada, community dinner
Monday: Camp staff meeting and preparation, opening camp fiesta, home match versus the Nicaraguan Women's National Team in Granada
Tuesday-Thursday: Morning soccer session, afternoon team-building activity, cultural activities in afternoon and/or evening including tour of the mercado, chocolate-making workshops, salsa dancing lesson, Merced tower visit, hammock factory tour, cooking lesson, homestay dinner
Friday: Morning soccer session and camp closing, away match versus the Nicaraguan Women's National Team in Managua
Saturday: Visit to local attraction, free time, souvenir shopping, closing dinner and reflection
CAMP EXPECTATIONS AND EXPENSES
Each volunteer is responsible for:
1. $100 Trip Deposit to confirm your spot (non-refundable)
2. $400 financial contribution to SWB Nicaragua
3. Collecting & bringing ~50lbs (or one checked bag) of gently used equipment to SWB Nicaragua
4. Purchasing your own plane tickets, tourist entry card ($10), and any travel medical insurance or immunizations you choose
Trip Deposit: $100 USD (non-refundable)
Once accepted to SWB's T.E.A.M. Camp, volunteers must send their $100 Trip Deposit to SWB in order to confirm their spot on the trip.
Financial Contribution: $400 USD (minimum)
In order to support a week of activities for the girls of Granada and provide a comprehensive immersion experience, we ask each volunteer to contribute $400 to SWB Nicaragua. In the past, many volunteers have reached their minimum $400 contribution through fundraising initiatives and events. By engaging your family and friends to raise or even go beyond your $400 contribution, volunteers are able to make a huge difference to the program's efforts to provide year-round programming to the community of Granada. An easy way to fundraise is to set up a personal fundraising page on Crowdrise, like this one, describing your trip, and then send it to your friends and family. Some schools also offer small grants for international volunteer work either through the NCAA opportunity fund or through the community service office. If you are a current NCAA student-athlete, we strongly recommend that you check with your school compliance officer before beginning any fundraising activities.
During your stay in Granada, your $400 contribution covers all costs associated with your volunteer experience including:
Housing: We organize homestays for all volunteers in the same “barrio” (neighborhood), with families who are a part of the SWB family. Our goal is for your homestay to give you a sense of life and community in Nicaragua, while providing a safe space for you to rest and recover from daily coaching.
Food: We provide three meals and snacks every day. Our goal is to introduce you to Nicaraguan food, investing in locally run restaurants and vendors.
Beverages: We provide purified water for your water bottles at activities and in your homestay, as well as morning coffee.
Transportation: We provide private transportation to and from the Managua airport, as well as to and from group entertainment activities.
Per Diem: You will receive a small per diem in local currency to purchase additional snacks, sports drinks, incidental items, internet time, etc.
T-shirt: You will receive an SWB Granada Camp t-shirt.
Equipment: ~50lbs (or one checked bag)
Your 50lbs of equipment can be collected in your local community. We usually have a large supply of donated equipment in Boston, MA and Bay Area, CA, and may have access to equipment in other locations, if you check with the Camp Coordinator. Colleges, high schools, and local clubs are also great resources for gently used equipment. Your Trip Coordinator will share an equipment "wish list" with items to focus on during your collection. Each volunteer is responsible for transporting their equipment donations to Granada.
Flight & Tourist Card: Purchase on your own
The cost of your flight is not included in your $400 contribution. Typical airfare costs to Managua, Nicaragua are between $450-$800. New York City, Boston, Miami, and Washington DC tend to have the cheapest flights. American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and United Airlines all fly to Managua regularly. We ask that participants do not use Spirit Airlines, due to their late-night arrivals and departures. Upon arrival, you will need to purchase a tourist card at passport control for $10, which grants you permission to stay in Nicaragua for up to 90 days without any prior application. If you have a passport from a country other than the U.S., visit this website to check on your requirements.
Vaccinations & Health Insurance: Purchase on your own
No vaccinations are required for Nicaragua but we recommend that you visit the CDC Travel website to see what is recommended and speak with your doctor before going to Nicaragua. If your personal medical insurance does not cover international travel, we recommend that you consider short-term travel medical insurance for your trip. Past volunteers have used Patriot Travel but there are many available options.
Other Expenses: Up to you!
The cost of gifts and additional travel on your own are not included in your contribution, and will depend on the volunteer. Some volunteers have spent as little as $20, and others as much as $100, depending on how many gifts they buy. Some typical gifts and prices: Personalized maracas ($5), awesome hammocks ($25), vases ($7), bracelets ($1-3), t-shirts ($8). Phone and internet to communicate with friends and family is cheap (5 cents/minute phone, 1 dollar/hour internet), however we also have internet in our program office that volunteers can access at specified times throughout the week.
Familiarity with Spanish is encouraged but not required. The group will reflect a range of Spanish levels, and there will be many opportunities to learn and improve your Spanish!
Granada is generally a safe city and SWB has become a mainstay member of the community. We will go over precautions and other safety recommendations at orientation, but you should feel assured that it is a wonderful and welcoming place!
Should the need arise, Soccer Without Borders is fortunate to have a partnership with an amazing company called Global Rescue for Medical Advisory Services. They also provide a range of additional services including security and evacuation, at a discount to SWB volunteers. Mention SWB if you choose to purchase a membership!
It’s hot and humid and we will be playing and walking a lot! Come prepared to be in the sun, dust, and heat (90 degrees) for prolonged periods. It cools off some at night but homes and the community center are not air conditioned. A water bottle, sunblock, and a hat are essential. January is the dry season so we do not expect much rain if any.
All volunteers must sign a waiver indicating that they understand the risks associated with international work and will not hold Soccer Without Borders accountable for any injuries, accidents or loss of property that occurs while working internationally.
FOLLOW SWB GRANADA
Check out a video perspective of the T.E.A.M. Camp experience!