pianistic (pianistic) wrote in clv,
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I'm Debating!

Hello. My name is Elizabeth, and I'm a 13 year old girl planning to go to either "Les Voyageurs" or "Sen Lin Hu." My sister went to "Lac Du Bois" in Hackensack for two weeks from winning a full scholarship, and my brother went to the Swedish camp (if any of you went there, he's "Vilgot" the TALL one) this past summer.

For either one, I'm planning to go for four weeks (for credit). I've taken about a year and a half of French but I have a private tutor so it would be equivalent to about my 6th semester in high school French. I've never studied Chinese before.

Can any of you who went to one of these previously tell me about what they're like? How many four weekers would accompany me? Are there more boys or girls? How are the living conditions? I do not mind living in camps or going to the bathroom outdoors or what they call a "rustic campsite." I visited the campsite of Sen Lin Hu, and although it might be rundown compared to the Swedish village, and I was unimpressed, it's the language and the friends and the fun time I'm concerned about. :)

Oh, and if any of you can reccommend a certain session that would be great!

Thank you very much! It is just about certain that I will go and I'm so excited! I'm more strongly opinionated on Les Voyageurs, as, I'm absolutely OBSESSED with French!
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I don't really know any specifics about either program, but just to comment on the post above -- People do go to the credit sessions (at least the German one) with absolutely no prior knowledge of the language. I kinda wish I'd known that when I was first thinking about going (I did the 2 week sessions for at least one or two summers after I could have done credit because I felt that all the 4-weekers knew so much German to start with).

The comment about the fact that Chinese is in a different script does make complete sense, but I think you'd still get a whole lot out of it -- you'd be placed in a class with other beginners, and the teacher would definitely be aware of the fact that you don't know the script at all. I would guess you'd spend a lot of time on conversational stuff and learning the basic characters.

As I said above though, I don't actually have any detailed knowledge of either program. Like pretty_fish, I always loved the idea of Voyageurs (they always seem like they get to bond with each other really well) and probably would have done it had I taken any French. So yeah, I'm not exactly recommending one or the other (helpful, I know) -- just wanted to add my two-cents on the credit program so you wouldn't (necessarily) be scared away just because you'd be a complete beginner.

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I was a counselor... not last summer, but the summer before (what... two summers ago?) for the first half at Waldsee Bemidji.
I've done credit at Voyageurs for the past two summers, and kids definitely did it without having any French. It was rough, but they learned SO much.

credit

Anonymous

December 14 2006, 12:08:07 UTC 10 years ago

I went to a Waldsee credit session as a German beginner. It was great. I learned a ton. There are LOTS of beginners that come to the villages every summer for the 4 week credit sessions.

also, it didn't sound like this from the post, but... I hope you realize that Les Voyagers is a wilderness camp, with lots of cooking over an open fire, sleeping in tents, and canoeing everyday.

If you want a house/cabin French camp, you'll have to go to any of the Lac du Bois camps. (Hackensack, Bemidji, Patmos?? - ok, this dates me, I don't think they do French there anymore, and that new one in Georgia)
also, it didn't sound like this from the post, but... I hope you realize that Les Voyagers is a wilderness camp, with lots of cooking over an open fire, sleeping in tents, and canoeing everyday.

---

Yeah, I realized that. :D I was actually interested in both Lac du Bois and Les Voyageurs (my sister had a great time at LdB), but I thought that Les Voyageurs would be a difference from what I'm used to in a camp (I've gone to Interlochen for the past five years, which means lots and lots of practicing piano, and not a lot of physical activity).

If I do go to Lac du Bois, it probably wouldn't be Georgia =P... I live around the Chicago area and that would be unbearably hot!
I went to Mori no ike as a credit knowing no Japanese besides "sushi" and "karate" and such and did just fine. (Heck, I work there now, after having taken a LOT more Japanese. And at LdB Hack.)

Extrapolating from those two villages, there are something like 40-60 credits, though I think the entire Voyageur camp is much smaller, so I really don't know what their numbers are. Girls tend to greatly outnumber boys (like Interlochen...I grew up there) though at Mori no ike they're roughly the same. If you go in June/early July it'll be colder (even down in the 40s at night, sometimes) and if you go later it'll probably be hotter (last year it got to over 100 degrees in mid-July, but it got cool again in mid-August.)

To me your decision looks like: study familiar language vs. study new language. Do you want a real challenge? Study Chinese. Do you feel like you know French but really want to speak it more fluidly? LdB/Voyageur could be a good move. On the other hand, are you very confident in your speaking of French? You might not be challenged as much as you hope. Villagers in my experience tend to mostly use English amongst themselves. Sometimes (certainly not always) villagers in the more obscure languages (Chinese, Finnish, etc.) are more devoted to learning the language, esp. in credit programs. If you really want to do the wilderness thing, Voyageur is the place to be. Their credit program is very individually-directed, project-based, etc--they all are, but the Voyageur one particularly so because they're traveling around in canoes so much and working hard to keep the village running. Very different from Interlochen, I can assure you. :o)
The Voyageur program is also just much smaller. In a brigade, there are 10-12 people total, 2-3 of which are counselors. You're together 24 hours a day, talking for hours in the canoes, doing those projects, having lessons, etc. It can't get much more individually oriented than that.
Just want to say "woot" to living in the chicago area and going to CLV. :)

I'm in college right now and I SHOULD tell you to take Chinese because of the booming nature of China right now and the future of its influence in the world.

On the other hand, it's also nice to solidify one language before you start another one. (For example I'm studying abroad in Spain right now but I'm getting confused with my russian and my german...oy.)

Oh, and you'll get PLENTY of activity in the regular camp. Plus, unless you go to one of the nice camps, you might as well be in the wilderness anyway. ;) I would recommend going to the french camp. I spent 4 years at Eldb and 1 year at LdB at 4 different sites and each one I was fully involved in about a billion activites everyday. Sometimes you need LESS activity just to get a siesta. Oh wait...not spanish, french, well...a nap.

Regardless, I congratulate you on your eagerness. :)

Alyson
oh, please go to Les Voyageurs! it's absolutely wonderful (i hope you got my email). boys and girls should be about equal. we sleep in separate tents, but in a cluster close by, which is really fun and community-oriented. <3

Anonymous

December 15 2006, 01:35:39 UTC 10 years ago

I was a credit villager at Les Voyageurs first half last summer and am planning on it again this summer. Voyageurs was probably one of the best experiences in my life. You get very close with the other campers and with the councilors their because of the small groups. To enjoy it you have to like canoeing, camping, and being outdoors in general, but if you enjoy those things it's definitely what I'd recommend. If you have any specific questions I'd be happy to answer them.
Having been a camper and staff at several different Villages and campsites, I would definitely recommend Les Voyageurs if you're interested in it and not too worried about adjusting to such inconveniences as the lack of four thick, permanent walls around you when you sleep, not necessarily having access to hot showers on an everyday basis, etc. I've never been part of the Voyageurs program, but every time that I've seen them at International Day over the past several years, they always seem to be the most energetic group and show a really great sense of humor in the skits and performances they put on. (I understand very little French, but some things cross over pretty well even without translation.) I wouldn't recommend it for everybody, since it's a very intense program in many ways, but from what I've seen of it, I'd definitely recommend it very highly for anyone who's looking for an adventure and thinks they're up to the challenge.

I have been involved with Sen Lin Hu, the Chinese program, and I'll say right off: Don't let Chinese characters faze you. First of all, learning how to speak a language and learning how to write a language are two different things, and complicated writing systems don't make learning how to speak a language particularly more difficult than it would otherwise be. As for learning how to write Chinese itself, it takes a long time and a lot of study to achieve adult literacy, but you can learn the basics pretty quickly, and it's very satisfying when you master new characters. Although it definitely makes things a little easier if you've studied some Chinese before coming to Sen Lin Hu, it's not necessary, and a lot of the Villagers come with little or no previous experience speaking Chinese and still seem to learn a lot and have a lot of fun. (I can type up some of the more useful everyday phrases for Sen Lin Hu if you're interested.) Oh, also, if you go to Sen Lin Hu, then as another benefit, you get to eat lots and lots of yummy Chinese food. ^_^
Wow! I really thank you for all this information! It's great in helping me decide. Of course... I'm still in the tentative stage. I'm 90% sure I'm going to go. My parents obviously support me, with silbings going and all that ("Vilgot" plans to go for four weeks next year).

Again, I'm more leaning towards Les Voyageurs. I want a new experience. Of course, I still have several more summers to go (as in: 3).

Now to find something else to take up my time during the summer! :-P
UPDATE: JANUARY 1ST

Bonne année, tout le monde!

Anyway.. my application for Les Voyageurs, the first four weeks, has been sent in. My second choice is Les Voyageurs for the second four weeks.

Yay!
i can honestly say that sen lin hu rox! the teachers are great, everyone is really nice, and generally, the food is very good. i had never studied chinese when i went there, but i came out learning a lot. however, if you're set on french, go for it. all of the villages seem hen ku!!!!!!!!
i can honestly say that sen lin hu rox! the teachers are great, everyone is really nice, and generally, the food is very good. i had never studied chinese when i went there, but i came out learning a lot. however, if you're set on french, go for it. all of the villages seem hen ku!!!!!!!!