In 1985 our founder Ann Jenkins, a retired French teacher from Bradford Woods and her daughter Carrie, visited the Concordia Language Villages in Moorhead, Minnesota.

They then founded this International Camp of Languages, based on what was done in Minnesota. Ann felt a camp was needed nearer the east coast. So our camp was born. It began with only German being offered for study, since Ann thought she could get the support of Bayer Corporation and other German companies to help her get her camp on its feet. After five years of increased enrollment in German, she thought it was time to add French to the offerings. In no time the French numbers competed with the German numbers of campers. Often they were neck in neck, reaching as high as over 50 campers in each camp. Then in its twelfth year, Spanish was added, and the Language Camp was well on its way. Spanish enrollment increases each year, and has now taken the lead. We hope to add Mandarin this year.

The camp prides itself on its staff of experienced and dynamic teachers and counselors. Each camp has on staff native speakers of the language. The teacher/camper ratio is one to five. Helena Schaefers was a German teacher from the onset of camp, bringing her two daughters with her to camp each year, each enjoying a learning experience and fun-filled vacation. Her daughter Shawna would pack her bags for camp in June, saying she had to be ready for camp in August. Stephanie was only in first grade when she first attended. Now Shawna is the German teacher at Mars High School.

After ten years, Ann felt she could no longer direct because of the necessity to provide care for her elderly parents. Helena Schaefers took over directorship to keep alive the dream. She has been the director for the past eighteen years. Helena also had the opportunity to observe the Concordia Villages when she took a class about world language teaching in Minnesota.

Our twentieth year, we moved from the Spencer side of the YMCA camp to the KON-O-KWEE side. There we enjoyed five years of learning and fun. Now we have moved to a very convenient camp in Cranberry Township, the Family Retreat Center on Freeport Road.

Ann Jenkins now lives in Ohio and sent her best regards and congratulations with a beautiful bouquet of flowers as we celebrated our twenty-fifth anniversary. Now Helena feels she has to keep the camp going for the benefit of her grandchildren and all those campers who keep returning to camp, some now as counselors. Camp also inspires teachers who go back to their schools with a backpack of new ideas for fun ways to learn a language.

The camaraderie occurring naturally in a camp setting couples with the dedication of an enthusiastic, energetic, and devoted group of teachers and counselors to make each camp week a huge success. The first words out of most campers' mouths when parents pick them up are "I want to come back!"

This year will be the twenty-eighth year for camp. We hope you will let your children experience this wonderful week at the Family Retreat Center the first week in August. It definitely gives children an excitement for learning a language and a boost in their studies. It could also be a real benefit in their future career.



Last Updated 02/24/2015  ęCopyright 1985 - 2017