I figured I'd better finish this before I changed my mind....
We've chosen Concordia Language Villages for the children this summer. It's located in Bemidji, MN, which for those who don't know, is about as far north as you can get in Minnesota before you hit Canada. What the heck, just go to Canada, turn around, drive south for a few minutes, and there you are.
Yes, Paul and Babe really do grace downtown Bemidji
Concordia has been around now for about 50 years, and they are the preeminent foreign language summer camp for children and adults in the US. They specialize in immersion programs that teach language at the same time as all the typical summer camp activities like swimming, canoeing, arts and crafts, bathing in the lake, getting bit by mosquitoes, etc. You get the picture.
How cute is this? The buildings are designed to mimic France.
For the past several years the kids have attended the local YMCA summer day camp, but as they've aged, the program has waned in appeal to them. There are only a limited number of summer day camp options near us as I've blogged before (besides the YMCA, there's the Bible Baptist camp we tried once, and the Jewish summer camp we don't qualify for). My husband had gone to away camp as a child and has been asking me recently why we don't try to send the kids to one so they can experience it. I don't think he was as excited when I mentioned it is a ten hour drive to Bemidji. Each way.
The cabins look like little houses in Bretagne
DD has been taking French in school for two years now, and DS can say all of Bonjour. I was a French major in college, and lived in France, so naturally it would be easier for the children to learn a language that mommy also speaks. Concordia offers 16 languages, but I figured French would be fine to start with. When the children return, I hope their French will pass muster as we leave less than a week later for Paris for a family vacation. That's reason #2. We've rented an apartment for 9 days in Paris and plan to travel with DH's parents (his mother speaks French and knows Paris very well). The entire trip was rather spontaneously planned, motivated by the desire to take a nice family vacation while DH's parents were still able to travel.
So French camp it is, for two weeks in Lac du Bois (lake in the woods). I think it will be fun. I hope it will be fun. I've gotten rave reviews of the place from people who've sent their children there and who continue to send them there this summer. It's just a little weird and a little scary to ship your kids off someplace for two weeks, but I hope it will be so much fun and so interesting that the kids won't be scared or sad (too much).
I never went to a real summer camp as a kid. I spent most of my summers home alone while mom and dad were at work (when I was over 12, before that it was daycare) so this entire experience is new to me. I am not sure what to really expect. All I do know it that I think it would be very cool to go to camp in the summer. And Corcordia offers family camp as well. Maybe next year!