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Concordia Language Villages celebrates 50th summer

Concordia Language Villages celebrates its 50th year of programming in 2011 with special guests, events, and programming. Concordia College started the language immersion program in 1961 by renting Luther Crest Bible Camp north of Alexandria, Minnesota, for the first two-week German session. “Camp Waldsee,” which was limited to 72 campers, aged 9-12, was a success and the program grew.

Now in its 50th year, Concordia Language Villages offers 15 languages and year-round programming to more than 10,000 participants each year. Plans are in place for events throughout the summer, according to Patricia M. Thornton, director of Summer Programs at the Villages.

Villagers and guests enjoy a variety of cultural activities at the first 2011 International Day celebrating Concordia Language Villages’ 50th anniversary. Photo provided by Concordia College

“Fifty years of creating language and culture immersion adventures for tens of thousands of youth and staff from across the globe in the Northwoods of Minnesota is truly something to celebrate,” Thornton says.

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary, an International Day event was held at Waldsee, the German Language Village, on July 8. Special events for that day included ceremonies to honor Lac du Bois, the French Language Village.

“Five Decades of French at Lac du Bois,” a major celebration of Lac du Bois past, present, and future, included language and cultural activities and family fun that same weekend at Lac du Bois. Many former villagers, staff, and parents participated.

A ceremony honoring Al Traaseth for his service as associate director of the Villages in the 1970s and ’80s was held at Lesnoe Ozero, the Russian language village, on July 7.

The second International Day this summer is scheduled for August 12 at the Bemidji site. (See “August language camp activities, below.)

Concordia Language Villages, as part of Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota, is a recognized leader in global education, offering 15 world language programs. The Concordia Language Villages attract more than 10,000 participants annually from all 50 states and more than 40 countries. Youth ages 7-18 and adults of all language experience levels are eligible for on-site learning options ranging from a weekend to four weeks.

August language camp activities

Activities on August 12, 2011, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Condordia Language Villages (Bemidji) include:

10:30 a.m.
“Five Decades of French”
at Lac du Bois, the French Language Village

1:15 p.m.
Peace Site Rededication Ceremony
at the entrance to Skogfjorden

2:15 p.m.
International Day, a celebration of language, culture, and global understanding
at Waldsee

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