Things Leaders Ought To Know about LIfe at Jaguar Creek
There is a streamlined version of this called a Participant Packet. Every person going needs to read this and fill out the forms at the end of that web page (and also at the end of this web page too). They have access to the Health and Liability Forms needed via this Jaguar Creek Web Site. So you could print out the forms and hand them out - or you could ask your participants to do so off their own computers and hand in the filled out forms.
We constantly strive to improve our program. Below is a collection of old and new policies and procedures designed to serve you and we think most of your questions will be answered by reading through this, but feel free to email questions!
Field Trips and Service Projects
The schedule for your stay at Jaguar Creek, which includes Field Trips and Service Projects, is finalized after you turn in the Group Information Form (GIF) and after we have information from every group attending in that week. This form is at the end of this web page. Once completed must be emailed as an attached file to firstname.lastname@example.org at least 30 days before you are due to arrive here. It can also be mailed, but mail takes about two weeks to get to us. Because it greatly inconveniences other groups who are prompt and the different locales and organizations we work with, a US$ 50.00 Late Fee will be added to the bills of groups that deliver the GIF at any point after the one month deadline. After this form has been received any changes or additions may be emailed or phoned in without penalty.
There are 10 possible cabins available for group use - availability depends on the season. The most common arrangement is two bunks (a queen is at the bottom of one of these bunks) and three more single beds comfortably sleeping a maximum total of 7 singles or just one couple. Jaguar Creek assigns housing to groups and we will most often sleep 4 persons to a cabin, but may need to use the extra beds to accommodate all who wish to come that week.
This list is for your use. Ask and we will give you a list of available rooms and floor plans of each building soon after all groups present during the week have returned their Group Information Form with exact numbers - due at least one month in advance. Assign participants to rooms using these floor plan sheets. Please give careful thought when assigning participants together. Place adults with any participants that may need special attention. Bring one extra copy of this list for our use. Make sure your list is up to date upon arrival. You are the one who knows who will do well and who needs a chaperone in their room! Print the full names of all participants on the floor plan sheet. Tell everyone their room assignments before arrival. Many times cabin assignments can be made upon arrival - depends on how organized you are or need to be.
If you will be bringing high school students we ask that you have at least one adult in or near the cabins where the high school students sleep.
Very neatly print the full names of all participants and leaders on this form that found at the bottom of this web page.
Meals and Kitchen Use
Unless arranged differently and ahead of time, your lodging fees include all meals at Jaguar Creek: dinner upon arrival and breakfast on the day of departure, and all lunches in between. Sack lunches the day of your departure are extra, but we will be happy to make them for you; see the Food Service Summary at the back of this manual.
Our cooks are great and will be ready with great meals when you come. Based on your plans, we order our food and make menus a week at a time to save money and eliminate unnecessary trips to Belmopan. We understand that the best laid plans may come to naught, so we will do our best to flex with any change in schedule in regards to meals, but that may mean more food waste, possibly an extra trip into town and more cost for us. Meal times are 8:00, 12:30 and 6:00 and we will flex some on those times if you are the only group here.
In order to best serve you please let us know about any food allergies or dietary preferences ahead of time by returning the Food Service Summary Form. If you would like a particular type of meal or lots of Belizean food, then let us know on the form and we'll vary our standard menu that is a combination of North American and Belizean food. There will always be an ovo-lacto vegetarian main dish available when you let us know you need that on the Food Service Summary below.
Your group will be given instructions on how to bus their own tables. Coffee is served at breakfast and should be available by 7:30 am.
As a matter of principle, we eat low on the food chain emphasizing healthy eating and plant-based proteins. Because of this we use meat sparingly and do not serve beef or pork at all. Please tell your group we will not be serving the standard American diet of meat and potatoes and will have lots of fruit, vegetables, pastas, rice and beans.
The kitchen facilities are for JC staff use only and we ask that you keep all members of your group out of the kitchen area.
In general, valuables should be left at home. Jaguar Creek rooms are left unlocked and security in a homestay situation would be minimal. Jaguar Creek does have a fire safe and individuals can, through their leader, deposit materials in it for safekeeping.
Computer and Library Use
The Global Stewardship Studies Program of TEI has computers here at Jaguar Creek and they can be used for a fee that varies depending on the use and time of year. None are connected to email services, but there is a printer available. Ask us and we'll look into it for you.
The library is available for your use. We ask that you be especially careful to treat the books well, since books are a precious resource here. It would be great if you could bring down a few books to donate to the library.
These areas are available as meeting areas provided they are not already in use by another group. If they are available you may reserve any of them for your use and let us know what sort of set-up you would like: # of chairs, whiteboard, tables etc., by indicating your interests on the Group Information Form at the back of this manual. We do not have audio-visual equipment or overhead projectors for your use.
The Classroom has a variable number of desks and chairs and is the best place for group meetings.
The Dining Room is also another possible meeting area, and it has two wings that can be used for smaller groups. Meetings in the main part of the Dining Room must begin no earlier than one hour after the meal is served to give kitchen staff a chance to clean tables, put away food etc.
Because water use and solar energy conservation issues are linked at Jaguar Creek, we do not provide laundry service and discourage handwashing of clothes by groups at Jaguar Creek. We will let you know how to get clothes washed in Belmopan. One possibility is below.
No Frills Laundry
Across the ring road from Brodies and on the second floor of Lopez Pharmacy along with Pepper's Pizza! It is open 8 am to 9 pm weekdays and 8 am to 10 pm on weekends, this has a do it yourself option for BZ$ 4.00 a load wash and BZ$ 4.00 a load dry. They will do it for you for BZ$ 6.00 a load wash and BZ$ 6.00 a load dry. Detergent is not included in the self serve option, but you can buy "soap" for BZ $ 0.75 or go to Brodies across the street.
Unlike many other Central American countries, the postal service here is really pretty good. Our P.O. Box is checked almost every day and we are happy to mail postcards and letters for you; just put your mail in the box outside the office. Belizean postage stamps (some quite colorful) can be bought at the Belmopan Post Office or from us in the Office. We will often ask leaders of groups to take JC staff and business mail to the US and post it there.
Mail to the US and Canada is as follows Letter Bz$ 0.60, Postcard Bz$ 0.30.
Mail from the US is as follows: Letter US$ 0.80, Postcard US$ 0.40.
The Directors and many other JC staff attend church on Sunday morning. You are welcome to go with them or go to another church. Please let us know what your plans are since we would like you to have a good experience and also not numerically overwhelm a small congregation.
Emergency Phone, Fax and Email While At Jaguar Creek
(The following policy is under review since we may have two phone lines soon) With exceptions for emergencies, because Jaguar Creek only has one phone line, because it is normally quite busy, and because we have no good method of calculating the cost of calls: the phone, fax and email are not available for use by groups. If a group member has an emergency they should inform you and you should contact JC staff. Please discourage people from contacting your group while you are here at Jaguar Creek. Emergency phone messages, faxes or emails cost BZ$ 5.00 per page to receive, will be billed to the group, and will be posted on the kitchen door bulletin board as soon as possible after being received or the person will be found. Phone service is most easily accessed in Belmopan at the Belize Telephone Limited (BTL) office on the other side of the street from the Belmopan Market. Email and faxing is best done at the Techno-Hub in Novello's Bus Station on the Market Square. You can also email from the airport upon your arrival from the BTL office which is near the car rental agencies.
Belize Public Phones, Credit Card Calls and Cell Phone Rental or Use
The easiest way to make a phone call within the country to the US or Canada is to get an international operator at any phone booth by dialing 114 or 115. They can connect you to an ATT, MCI or Sprint/USWest operator who will then take a credit card number and place your call.
Another way to make phone calls within the country is via a pre-paid phone card or by visiting a BTL office. Phone cards of various denominations can be bought at any BTL office or in other stores and are a necessity since pay phones do not accept coins here.
Another way to make phone calls AND receive them is to rent a cell phone from BTL. Cell phone towers have not been built down the Hummingbird Highway, which Jaguar Creek is near, so cell phones do not work at Jaguar Creek, but work well in Belmopan and much of the rest of the country including San Pedro/Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker. BTL's Airport Office, phone 501 225-2199, which is near the car rental agencies at the airport, rents cell phones for BZ$ 10.08 a day plus 8% sales tax. Receiving calls is free. Making calls is not free. There is a credit card deposit of BZ$ 275.00 which is refundable should you return the phone as you ought to do. Then you buy a pre-paid phone card. The office is to the left of the car rental agencies just across the parking lot once you get out of customs at the airport.
It is possible to reprogram your existing cell phone to work in this country. Contact BTL for further information.
How Do I Dial Those Phone Numbers?
If you are calling from Belize to a US or Canada number (and not using a JC phone) dial 001 (area code) (number).
Any call from Belize to the US or Canada must start with 001.
Any call to Belize from the US or Canada must start with 011.
Example: to call Jaguar Creek from the US or Canada dial 011 501 820-2034.
Example: to call the USA from Belize dial 001 (XXX) XXX-XXXX
Example: to call Jaguar Creek from Belize dial 820-2034.
Lost and Found
Hopefully you will have labeled all your clothes and belongings. If we find materials left behind without names, they will be donated to Belizeans after a month. We are unable to send materials back to the US without postage sent down here first.
Jaguar Creek T-Shirts
These shirts are 100% Belizean made. The shirt is made here in Belize and the silk-screening is done here in Belize so it makes a great souvenir of Belize and Jaguar Creek. Shirts are white, cotton, polo style, and come with a big logo on the front and a small logo on the top back. Shirts are US$ 13.00 or BZ$ 26.00. Please do not make your own shirts using our logo.
Health and Safety
Jaguar Creek is a safe place and our staff are very interested in your health and safety. If a serious illness or injury occurs the group leader will call their emergency contact person and if a minor is involved the minor's parents ASAP. There is a hospital 20 minutes away and its possible to airlift people to larger more advanced hospitals in Merida, Mexico, Guatemala City, Miami and Houston. Diarrhea, minor scrapes and tummy aches will be treated here at Jaguar Creek by the group leader. Ask your doctor about any physical restrictions you may have and what vaccinations or malarial prophylaxis, if any, they suggest. All participants who are under 18 will administer their own prescription medications, unless parents have filled out forms designed to instruct group leaders in how to assist with medications or unless a parent will be here to assist. You must have health insurance and you are strongly advised to find out what is covered in the event of medical problems while here. Please take time to completely read the health forms found later in this packet.
A few safety rules: no food in cabins, use footwear while in the creek, no walking barefoot, no running on the boardwalk and no leaning back in chairs, no hitch-hiking or traveling in the back of pick up trucks. Food in cabins means critters, the creek has a very sharp bottom surface, walking barefoot can get you a healthy case of fungus or worse, the boardwalks are often slippery, the chairs will break if leaned back on too far, hitch-hiking and traveling in the back of a pick up truck is unsafe here as in North America. If you would like a rule "bent" for a good reason, please ask a Director. For your safety, we will not budge on what we consider safety or health issues.
Leaders: Long Before You Go!
Have a meeting with all participants before you come. Make a list of questions not answered during this meeting and send them on to JC by email. When talking to participants about your stay here, please speak of it as a ministry and educational experience. Jaguar Creek is not a resort and not a vacation destination.
Reserve your group's airline tickets early for best rates. Your team will probably make their reservations to travel together. Inform your team about your travel arrangements. We highly recommend Susan Hall, below, since she has provided us with excellent service and is familiar with Target Earth programs, but you are free to use any travel agent.
Susan Hall Adventures in Travel 403 K Street Petaluma, CA 94952
Phone: 800-783-4400 Email: SueHall1@aol.com
Let Susan know you are participating with Target Earth.
You could also try Orbitz or Travelocity. Both web sites offer rock bottom rates, but are not well equipped to do large groups. You could also call 1 800 525-1700 to check out Continental's group rates. Perhaps this will be cheaper than another way? It looks like you can bid for a price online at their web site.
The opinion of the JC Directors is that American Airlines is often the most expensive and the most comfortable. Continental and Taca are often priced equivalently, but Taca has newer planes and better service.
Get all members of the group to apply for a passport and allow 6-8 weeks to get it. Check the expiration dates of those who already have passports to see that it does not expire before the end of the trip. To do this ask everyone who has a valid passport, or gets one later, to supply you with a good copy of the picture page of the passport. Bring these copies with you as a back up.
Check with a physician or travel clinic about vaccinations for the trip and other appropriate health precautions. Make sure everyone fills out their health forms completely and turns them into you. Review all health forms looking to answer two questions: Can they physically make the trip and participate in the activities you have planned? Do they have health insurance that will cover them during this trip?
Send us a schedule of your activities - even if it includes localities other than Jaguar Creek. This helps us serve you better by letting us know where you have been and where you will be going.
One Month Before Arrival
At least one month before your arrival at Jaguar Creek completely fill out all the forms at the back of this manual and email or call in the information to us. We can not make housing assignments, procure field trip reservations or plan service projects until we have these forms. Every effort will be made to facilitate your wishes; however, some program choices must coincide with other groups' desires.
Arrange all transportation to and from Jaguar Creek and for the field trip/service project(s).
Get copies of all passports and bring them for your emergency use.
Daily Leader Responsibilities
Tell everyone their room assignments before arrival.
- Phone or email your contact person(s) back home so they know you have arrived safely. Call or email from the Belize Telephone Limited (BTL) airport office OR call or email in Belmopan shortly before you arrive at Jaguar Creek. If you have been on the road for awhile, you could even stop in Belmopan and email at the Techno Hub, an Internet Café in the bus terminal, or you could phone from the BTL office near the Market and even visit the No Frills Laundry to satisfy your group's most basic needs. Don't know where these places are? Ask - people are friendly and most speak English!
- Make sure your group arrives on time. Please call if you will be late - we'd like your food to be hot! Please arrive for Dinner at 6:00 pm on the first day.
- Give us an up to date schedule for your stay here.
- Give accurate, up to date, and fully completed copies of the following to JC staff. Group Information Form, Participant List, Housing List, Food Service Summary, your Itinerary, Health and Liability Forms for all participants.
- Participate in a pre-Orientation group leaders meeting as soon as possible upon arriving.
While at JC
- Administer first aid to participants as needed. (Remember to bring your first aid kit!)
- Help supervise or organize supervision of participants.
- Enforce the health and safety rules of Jaguar Creek.
- Attend the daily group leader meeting. Any problems, concerns or questions about JC, your plans or other groups, can easily be addressed at these meetings. Of course, you are free to find the Directors or their substitutes and discuss anything you wish at anytime.
- Participate as fully as possible. Participants catch your enthusiasm for the week! They take their cues from you. Whether you think and say "This is such an awesome place!" or "if only I had a Big Mac and fries!" others will imitate you.
- Don't forget to pay at the JC office.
- Acceptable payment forms for JC include:
- Cash (either BZ or US)
- Traveler's Cheques (signed, but with the written to spot left blank)
- Personal or organizational check. One check per group (not lots of small checks) and payable to TEI Jaguar Creek.
- Help us clean up.
The last opportunity to leave a good impression on our staff and to show appreciation to them lies in having your room picked up with all your trash in the cans provided and all your linens in one pile on the floor. Costs to repair items wrecked due to vandalism will be charged to the group.
How Do You Get There From Here?
Directions from the International Airport:
Go out the airport entrance road and turn right toward Belize City. The road meanders along the Belize River and crosses it via a narrow bridge (watch out for big trucks). Now you are into the city. Continue on until you get to a big traffic circle with lots of flagpoles in the middle. Get into the circle and make the first right onto Central America Boulevard, a major street (there is no sign). Continue on this until you get to another large traffic circle and again get into the circle and make the first right on to the Western Highway, following the signs toward Belmopan and San Ignacio. Almost immediately after making this right you will be going through a cemetery - a sign you have done it right! After around 50 miles, as you approach the Belmopan area, you will encounter a major paved intersection with signs indicating Belmopan and Dangriga. This is the start of the Hummingbird Highway. Turn left here (to the right is Guanacaste National Park) and continue to a traffic circle with a modern art centerpiece. Do not make a left here (goes to Belmopan) just go straight through it. You are now about 20 minutes away from Jaguar Creek.
Traveling south on the Hummingbird Highway from Belmopan: we are at Mile 42. The turn off is to the left just before the Blue Hole National Park's Blue Hole parking area. Signs for Jaguar Creek and Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Adventure Co. and Jungle River Camp, and a bus stop kiosk, mark the small dirt entrance road. Take this road and when it forks keep right. Park in front of the thatched entrance hut and walk in along the boardwalk until you come to the office - the first building you will find.
Directions from parts South:
Traveling North along the Hummingbird Highway, after the crest of the mountains and the Sibun River bridge, you will see a sign for Blue Hole National Park. The dirt road to turn off onto will be to your right shortly after you pass another sign that says Blue Hole. Signs for Jaguar Creek and Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Adventure Co. and Jungle River Camp, and a bus stop kiosk, mark the small dirt entrance road. Take this road and when it forks keep right. Park in front of the thatched entrance hut and walk in along the boardwalk until you come to the office - the first building you will find. Keep right when it forks. Park in front of the thatched entrance hut and walk in along the boardwalk until you come to the office - the first building you will find.
FORMS FORMS FORMS
Please use these forms and even if you have your own forms. They are meant to allow us to serve your group better. Forms are all in Microsoft Word 2000 for Windows (v.9.0).
- Group Information Form Once completed must be emailed as an attached file to email@example.com at least 30 days before you are due to arrive here. It can also be mailed, but mail takes about two weeks to get to us. Because it greatly inconveniences other groups who are prompt and the different locales and organizations we work with, a US$ 50.00 Late Fee will be added to the bills of groups that deliver the GIF at any point after the one month deadline. After this form has been received any changes or additions may be emailed or phoned in without penalty.
- Participant List Form Give to Jaguar Creek upon arrival. Keep a copy for your own use.
- Food Service Summary Form Give a final copy to Jaguar Creek upon arrival. Please let us know a week in advance of any special diets or food allergies. Keep a copy for your own use.
Adult Participant Forms
These three forms should be copied and given to all Adult participants. Jaguar Creek will keep the first two forms in its records. Keep a copy for your own use.
- Adult Health Form Leader's Note: Review these after they have been turned in to you to know the general health of your participants and to fill out the Food Service Summary Form. Give to Jaguar Creek upon arrival. Keep a copy for your own use.
- Liability Release Form Leader's Note: Give to Jaguar Creek upon arrival. Keep a copy for your own use.
- Packing List Form
Under 18 Participant Forms
The first four forms should be copied and given to all participants under the age of 18. CHECK FOR SIGNATURES! The Physician's Medication Form below is only necessary if the parent/guardian believes that the person under 18 is not capable of taking and administering their own medication without help. Jaguar Creek will keep all of these forms in its records.