Discover Amigos de las Americas (AMIGOS) Summer Programs Abroad

Houston Moms is proud to partner with Amigos International Summer Camps.

Children missed out on a lot of social and emotional development in the last couple of years due to the pandemic. Teens especially had a hard time. Many middle and high school students did not get to build on their independence, confidence, and relational skills through what should have been typical milestones. As a result, what they might have gained through coaches, mentors, jobs, and internships were suspended for the time being.

Amigos de las Americas {AMIGOS} helps bridge that gap for teens through safe and authentic volunteer and immersion programs. Their summer programs in Latin America and the United States are now accepting applications for middle schoolers, high schoolers, and gap year students ages 13 to 22.

 

AMIGOS Middle School Program 2022 – Panama

Discover AMIGOS is a two-week group trip for middle schoolers led by experienced facilitators. Students will make friends, try new foods, practice Spanish, and work on a dedicated community service project with local volunteers.

This coming summer, Discover AMIGOS is headed to Panama! Students will enjoy Panama’s unspoiled Pacific beaches, tropical forests and nature reserves in the Azuero Peninsula. In addition, they’ll learn about environmental issues like conservation and preservation of endangered wildlife.

Middle school AMIGOS participants will explore beaches for turtle eggs and learn about marine conservation from local experts. They’ll also volunteer with a sea turtle protection organization, a sustainable development organization, and Panama’s Ministry of the Environment.

Not only will they earn 20 hours of community service hours, they’ll get a chance to visit exciting places as well. As part of their trip, students will travel to the crater of an extinct volcano while surrounded by scenic mountains and cloud forests.

teens on an AMIGOS trip walk down a road laughing

AMIGOS High School Program 2022 – Costa Rica, Ecuador, or Colorado

The High School Program gives students the opportunity to choose an issue they are passionate about exploring. They can dive deep into coffee production, climate change adaptation, and conservation issues in Costa Rica. Or perhaps they want to explore ecosystem restoration and indigenous rights in Ecuador instead. Whatever they choose, they’ll spend a valuable summer working towards a worthy goal in a team setting. Watch this home video made by one of the staff members in Costa Rica showing high school students on last summer’s AMIGOS trip.

In Colorado, students will act as volunteers as they travel around the state to learn about conservation and engage in projects to help the environment.

teens wearing masks pass a potted plant to another

AMIGOS Gap Programs – Ecuador

For high school graduates, the Gap Program gives them a chance to immerse themselves in local culture. Participants get to study Spanish and live with a host family in Cuenca, Ecuador where they become part of the community. They will also complete an internship with a local organization and develop important leadership skills.

Gap year students work alongside colleagues to develop, support, and implement a sustainable service project. With fellow volunteers, they will enjoy excursions to scenic spots and explore a country steeped in history and culture. View the Gap Program video to see what a gap year or semester with AMIGOS can look like!

3 teens on AMIGOS trip sit on a mountain eating a snack

What About COVID-19 Safety Protocols?

For the past 56 years, nearly 30,000 students have participated with AMIGOS in 17 countries throughout the Americas. AMIGOS’ vast experience planning camps abroad helped them to successfully redesign their programs with COVID safety in mind, running them safely all last summer. Learn more about their enhanced protocols here on the AMIGOS website.

What Values Can I Expect My Kids to Take Away from AMIGOS Summer Programs?

AMIGOS focuses on three pillars:

  • Ethical Service – Students learn how to create ethical service initiatives by working with, and not just for, a community. AMIGOS makes it a point to engage with local groups to work on community service projects.
  • Cultural Humility – Cultural humility is a process of self-reflection about one’s own culture as well as learning about other cultures. Students will have the chance to examine their own beliefs and cultural identity on their trip. They will also see how communities can create systemic change to combat structural racism in their society.
  • Leadership – Students will learn, grow, and discover their leadership potential. In addition, they will get to explore their sense of purpose and establish personal goals and values.

teens hiking stand by a waterfall

What Do Other Parents Think about AMIGOS Summer Programs?

Jennifer, parent of a Discover AMIGOS alum, has high praise for the middle school program her daughter took part in. “My daughter had never done anything like this before but I was surprised by how much she had changed. It was palpable. It was such a leap for her to pull on her own internal resources and now she keeps saying spontaneously, ‘I feel so confident’.”

How Do I Explore and Apply for AMIGOS 2022 Programs?

Connect with AMIGOS

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Vicky grew up in Miami, graduated from Boston University, and moved to New York City to work in advertising. She and her husband then had a marvelous adventure abroad, which included the birth of their older son. After almost four years in Beijing, they headed to her husband's hometown of Houston. Their daughter made her debut a few months later and their younger son joined the ranks several years after that. Vicky loves family life and all the adventures, laughs, and lessons that come with it. Though busy raising three kids, she tries to sneak time to tend to her tiny urban garden and come up with ideas to continually make her home a haven. Vicky has been slightly obsessed with raising monarch butterflies in recent years. She’s a writer and communications consultant who dreams of days where she can simply sit by the pool reading a book and drinking lemonade.

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