Leaving Camp

On the last Saturday of your villager’s session, they will check out of their cabin, have an exit health interview and receive back any non-perishable contraband that was held for them during the session.

Closing Ceremony/Parent Program

Villagers celebrate with each other at the Village the night before the last day of the session, as some villagers must depart before the Parent Program on Saturday due to travel arrangements. Villagers receive awards and celebrate with a feast.

Every Village presents a Parent Program for parents/guardians and friends at 10 a.m. on the last Saturday of each session. Villagers demonstrate their new language skills and perform skits, songs and dances they have learned throughout the session. Five- and 10-year villagers and staff members are recognized. The Village store is open following the program. Closing programs will last approximately one hour and all villagers and visitors should depart the Village by 12:00.

The Village dean and staff members are available to speak with parents on both opening and closing days.

Villagers Are Recognized for Their Participation in Summer Programs

  • Years 2-4 Village Pins
  • Year 5 World of Friendship Medallion
  • Years 6-9 Certificates of Achievement
  • Year 10 Circle of Peace Plaque

Villagers receive awards for the number of summers they have attended Concordia Language Villages, not the number of sessions. Therefore, a five-year award recipient may have attended more than five sessions. Only summer youth overnight camp attendance is counted toward villager awards.

Lost and Found

You should mark all belongings, including all towels and linens, with your full name. It is helpful to use the provided checklist before leaving the Village, as we cannot guarantee finding lost items after a session. If an item is left at the Village, call (800) 450-2214 or write to:

Lost and Found
Concordia Language Villages
8659 Thorsonveien NE
Bemidji, MN 56601

Give a detailed description of the item and include your name and Village session number. We will make every effort to find the lost item. Families are responsible for postage. After December 1, all lost and found items are donated to a local charity.

Welcoming Your Villager Back Home

The Language Villages is a grand simulation. We make every effort to give villagers as authentic an experience as possible simulating travel to and stay in another country or countries. For that reason, your villager’s re-entry into his or her home life and social structures might mirror, in some ways, what a student coming home from study abroad experiences. And, if that weren’t enough, foreign “travel” aside, your villager has also been in a camp environment where every minute of the day is intentionally planned and scheduled to create a warm, supportive, and playful community. The grand simulation coupled with the camp environment could make adjusting to home routines and friends who were not there to share the Language Villages routines a bit tricky at first.

Once your villager is back home with you, the Village experience doesn’t simply end. Your son or daughter will return with new songs to sing, interesting stories to tell, descriptions of new foods and customs, and names of many, many new friends. Often our villagers report a sort of reverse-homesickness where, for several days, they cannot get their experiences at the Village off their mind and would like to return.

It is our goal to send your child home from one of the most academically and culturally enriching, and personally transforming experiences of his or her young life. If we have achieved that, you as parents and guardians may want some tips for helping your villager adjust and re-enter:

Close friends at Waldsee.
  • Some villagers may be crabby and tired upon returning. They have had a major life experience and getting them settled into a home routine may take some patience and extra sleep;
  • Many villagers insist that they are bored at home at first. Remember that they are returning from highly structured days of fun and learning surrounded by groups of “fellow-travelers.” Encourage your villager to share his or her experiences with you;
  • Many villagers will come home with projects or artifacts they made at the Village. Be sure to ask your villager to describe and explain those projects and what she or he learned while working on it;
  • Engage your villager in conversations that allow them to talk about different elements and experiences at their Village, such as:
    • The daily schedule of the Village and favorite aspects of the day;
    • What he or she knows and understands about the country or countries experienced and what more she or he would like to know;
    • The food and dining customs. What is it like to eat in a Language Villages dining hall? Quiet? Boisterous? Formal?
    • Counselors and staff members. Which one would your villager most like to emulate?
    • Staff who came right from the country or countries where the language is spoken. Did your villager have the chance or make the chance to speak directly to one of these staff?;
    • Evening activities (hint: every Village has an elaborate evening program);
    • How she or he feels changed because of the Village experience; 
    • The process of adopting a new name and new identity in the Village. Did that give him or her courage to speak more 
  • Most villagers will not be aware of how much language they have actually learned; yet, you may notice foreign words creeping into conversations. Encourage your villager to keep using the language and to teach you words and phrases;
  • Encourage your villager to keep studying the language and culture and to try to stay connected with more learning opportunities;
  • Remember that we don’t allow villagers and staff to stay connected on a one-to-one basis after camp, but each Village has its own Village Pages or blogs that you can continue to check and many have official Facebook pages. Your dean will send you information;
  • And, finally, we know from more than 50 years of experience that villagers deeply miss their new Village friends. Consider ways that they might stay connected safely in social media so that they can continue to ‘share campfire stories’ long into the winter.

Here's what a few of our counselors have to say about returning home:

"When you've slept, go through your photos/souvenirs/the photos on the blog. Wherever you save them, make sure they're dated and labeled with people's names and the stories of what was happening. You'll forget faster than you think." -Arianne, Lac du Bois 

"If you're missing the feeling of being at camp, try to find music, movies, or TV shows in your Village's language. This can help you keep up with your language skills and feel connected to camp." -Alicia, El Lago del Bosco

"Let your child rest and regroup. At camp, they get to be the 'best version' of themselves. They are away from technology and are constantly stimulated by language, culture, activity, art, play, and friends. Readjusting to the 'real world' is difficult. (Same for us staff members!)  Give them patience while they readjust." -Coralie, Lac du Bois

 

We consider it a privilege to spend time with your child each summer and help him or her along their journey toward global citizenship. As your child returns to your home, we hope that his or her path of world- and word-discovery will continue because of the broadened perspective and new insights into other ideas, cultures and perspectives gained at Concordia Language Villages. We are eager to welcome your villager back next year to continue the journey.