Why have I been involved with Camp OFLA for 12 years?
Lori Winne, OFLA ELL (Early Language Learning) Committee Chair
The answer is threefold. First, I love languages and I love teaching kids. Camp OFLA allows us (teachers) to create fun activities, lessons, and arts and crafts projects that we often cannot set up in a traditional classroom. Sometimes lessons, projects and games are too time- consuming or messy for the classroom. But these campers WANT to be here! They WANT to learn! They LOVE to complete the puzzles in the back of their camp manuals, listen to bedtime stories in different languages and do HOMEWORK! Some have never cooked before. Some haven’t worked with paper mache or painted with squirt guns to create a “Picasso”. Campers can attend for the first time after completing third grade. We have had numerous campers come back every year until they graduate 8th grade and then return as 9th or 10th grade CITs (Counselor in Training) until they can qualify for a high school (H.S.) counselor position. It’s so rewarding to write recommendations for camp H.S. counselors who apply and are accepted into global internships, study-abroad semesters and military language programs. We can even boast that we’ve grown our own World Language teachers as a result of their camping experiences.
Second, it’s gratifying to see and hear H.S. Juniors and Seniors take an important leadership role where campers respect and admire their language ability. Sometimes it’s a shock to realize the difference between classroom language and real life conversational experiences, but Ohio world language teachers have encouraged and recommended some highly qualified teens to apply for this job. They always are listed as awesome on camper surveys.
And, third, I love working with the teachers. We have such fun designing lessons and helping each other with ideas and creating! Sharing techniques that can be used the following school year is probably the greatest benefit of Camp OFLA for teachers. They, too, return yearly whenever possible.
So what’s new for 2016? Here are some exciting highlights:
1.We are welcoming a delegation of campers, counselors and teachers from Illinois. They visited and observed last summer and decided to work to make the opportunity available to kids in their state.
2.There will be two levels of French, German and Spanish again this year: Novice and Novice Mid. That worked well last year and offers more challenges for campers who attend consecutive years.
3.Four languages will be offered again (French, German, Japanese and Spanish). In the words of one Japanese camper, he’d be (very, very, very X 24) mad if we don’t offer Japanese again!
4.We are returning to Templed Hills for 2016 with a fuller meal plan!
5.Plans are being completed for an elementary teacher institute during camp week. This is especially relevant to those pre-service teachers who have no elementary intern experience to complete their K-12 teaching certificate.
If you are an elementary world language teacher, advertise this incredible week-long residential camp experience with your students. Encourage them to take a language you don’t have in your school. They’ll come back enthusiastic for your class because they can share what they’ve learned of another culture as well.
If you are a high school teacher reading this article, consider encouraging one of your students (3rd or 4th year) to apply as a counselor.
If you are a middle school or high school teacher, share the Camp OFLA 2016 website or flier with an elementary colleague. They don’t have to teach a world language, just teach in a building with kids grades 3-8.
If you are a university methods teacher with a student who is having difficulty getting elementary experience, contact Lori Winne for details on the elementary institute through the Camp OFLA website, www.campofla.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Everybody! Help spread the word. Like us on Facebook! Encourage you or friends to like us as well so Camp OFLA gets more views! Talk to your own children’s PTO. Contact us and we’ll come talk to them!
We want to make Camp OFLA 2016 the biggest year yet!
Check us out on Facebook and www.campofla.org!
Lori Winne, Co-Director
Lucas Hoffman, Co-Director