World Teen Camp

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An international sleepaway camp promoting language learning and cross-cultural friendship

July 14-27, 2019

Boys & Girls, Ages 12-16

A truly international experience, the YMCA World Teen Camp offers a one-of-a-kind language learning and cultural exchange opportunity for children and teens. International and American campers live, learn and have fun together in a traditional sleepaway camp setting that includes four language villages:  German, French, Spanish, and Mandarin. Each village is designed to create a dual immersion experience, allowing campers to be fully immersed in the language they are learning alongside peers who are native speakers of that language.  Each village contains 20 campers, ten American campers (who are learning the language of that village) and ten native speakers of the language (who are learning English).  For example, in the German village, half of the campers will be American children studying German and half will be German children studying English.  Through a combination of academic and recreational activities, campers learn in tandem—building proficiency in their target language while developing friendships that will last long past the last day of camp. 

Blending the fun of a traditional sleepaway camp with the skills needed to navigate a diverse, multilingual world, World Teen Camp offers your child or teenager an opportunity to:

  • Meet same-age peers who are native speakers of their target language.
  • Develop close friendships and create shared memories that will inspire and promote language learning during and after camp.
  • Engage in tandem learning that enables campers of both languages to receive instruction and practice in their target language, while serving as an expert in their first language.
  • Increase their bilingual and bicultural understanding through authentic language use and instruction.

Language learning/immersion

In our dual immersion camp setting, campers live, learn and recreate alongside peers who are native speakers of the language they are studying. Thus, campers are both learners and teachers–receiving instruction and practice in their target language, while serving as an expert in their native language.

Under the instruction of certified, bilingual language teachers, and the guidance of bilingual counselors, campers will spend about 50% of each day immersed in their target language. Campers will be paired with a native speaker of their target language to create Tandem Partners. Tandem Partners will act as personal language experts and cultural guides to understanding the target culture. Tandem Partners will work together during classroom instruction and participate side by side in recreational activities. During shared free-time, campers will communicate in either or both languages.

Camp Life/Typical Day

A typical day at camp includes a wide range of academic and recreational activities. Language instruction will have a pragmatic focus, with emphasis on language skills that can be practiced in subsequent recreational activities. Recreational activities include traditional camp favorites such as swimming, archery, kayaking, hiking, crafts, high ropes and more. Tandem Learning Activities encourage campers to work together or in small groups to solve challenges and tasks while supporting use of the target language.  The following schedule depicts a typical day:

8:00 AMWake up3:00 PMAfternoon Activity
8:30 AMBreakfast4:00 PMTandem Learner Activity
9:15 AMCabin Clean-up5:00 PMFree Time
9:45 AMMorning Language Class6:00 PMDinner
10:45Morning Activity7:00 PMEvening Program
12:00Lunch9:00 PMCampfire
1:00 PMFree Time/Siesta10:00 PMCabin Council
2:00 PMAfternoon Language Class10:30 PMLights Out

Evening Activity/Global Games

Evening Program is a very special time of day at World Teen Camp, as all four villages come together for games and activities with a truly global flavor.  Over the course of the two week session each village takes responsibility for planning and hosting a cultural event that introduces their culture to the rest of camp through a special meal, game, or other tradition.  On the remaining evenings the WTC Olympics allow campers to represent their home village in a variety of contexts and games that encourage team work, friendly competition, and fun.

Building Friendships

It is our goal that campers start as tandem partners and leave as friends.  Structured and recreational activities are chosen not only to enhance language learning but to ensure that campers really get to know one another.  Whether they are supporting each other’s budding language skills, solving a problem together on the challenge course, or sharing their favorite cultural activities or games, campers develop strong bonds that last well beyond the end of camp. Our goal is that these friendships will inspire ongoing connection and communication between campers once they return to their home countries.

Faculty and Counseling Staff

Truly, one of the best parts of World Ten Camp is the dedicated faculty and counseling staff who help to ensure that camp is a fun, safe, enriching, and engaging environment.  Each of our four villages is over seen by two professional, bilingual educators.  Our teachers have extensive experience in classroom instruction and language curriculum development at the secondary school level.  Many have also traveled internationally with their own language students.

Our counseling staff consists of college-age counselors who are native speakers of either English or one of our four target languages, and who are highly proficient or fluent in the other.  Most are pursuing degrees in language education.  They are mature, caring, responsible, and fun. In addition to language instruction, staff receive training in areas such as positive behavior management, group dynamics, activity facilitation, first aid, and more.  There are a minimum of four counselors–two female and two males–in each village.

Meals and Accommodations

Each of our traditional dorms is designated as a different language village: German, French, Spanish, and Mandarin.  In each village, campers live together in rooms of 10, with 5 American and 5 International campers with 2 counselors in each room.  Other dorm amenities include a beautiful common room with stone fireplace and deck overlooking the lake.

Meals are prepared with fresh ingredients by our expert staff, with an emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole wheat pasta and breads, zero trans fats and lean meats.  Whenever possible, menus will incorporate traditional foods from each of the different countries represented in our camp community.  Our kitchens are nut free and we are happy to accommodate special dietary needs.

Dates & Rates