“I can look after your bag, if you like?”
I’m sitting in a coffee shop in a mall, writing and drinking apple juice, when one of the younger kids at language camp slumps into the chair opposite.
“Sure,” I say. “I’m not going anywhere for a while.”
And off he skips, no doubt relieved.
Ten minutes later, he returns, with two other kids from camp. Just a glance and I can tell by the look on their faces what they want.
“Yes, I’ll look after those too.”
They skip off also, warm smiles obvious to all.
Camp is a joy to work at. It’s hard work; fifteen-hour days followed by broken sleep as kids keep you up late and have you up at the crack of dawn with their noise. There’s also very little downtime to yourself, although that’s more of a choice for me than not. There’s not the stress of the regular school year; no pressure to perform in exams nor ensure endless grammatical structures are memorised. It’s about giving the kids something they rarely get at school – fun in learning that second language.
Nor is it something you do for money. I could get more money for giving ten hours of private lessons. It’s something I do for the little things, like the thanks at the end of the two weeks, for seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces at the end of a session.
Something you can’t ever put a financial value on – satisfaction at having done some good in life, for others.