Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center, June 16 - 22
GASA Camp June 2019: Der
By Eric Goldston (17) and Kai Levato
As of six
years, Orange, CA, has been the home of the GASA Sommer Camp, a camp where
children of various ages go to immerse themselves in the German language and
culture. The GASA Sommer Camp of 2019 brought in young German learners from
everywhere in the US and even Mexico. Kids left camp excited about the German
language and willing to share all of the amazing experiences they had.
The camp is
located in the Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center, with two bunkhouses for
all of the campers. This center offers children the opportunity to explore new
and engaging outdoor activities, which GASA rotates every year. This year,
campers were given the opportunity to go swimming, learn to use a bow and
arrow, and zipline. In addition, one of the highlights was a visit from
Dr. Barbara Hendricks, member of the German Parliament (Bundestag), and Kathrin
Steinbrenner, Vice Consul of the German Consulate. They were given a tour of
the camp and were allowed to watch students learn and having fun in the
classroom and out.
we had two different themes campers explored during the week: environmental
protection and the works of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, most notably, “Der
all the learning, making seed bombs and soap, baking and singing, the GASA Camp
hosted multiple events to give campers a space to let out their excitement and
energy. The first of these was a water fight and later during the week a dance;
with great tunes and greater memories, it remains a camp favorite.
‘Euros’ they were given during the week of class, campers were able to buy
candy and toys at the annual Jahrmarkt. After the Jahrmarkt, a pizza party was
held, leading into the final performance of the students’ themed plays and
skits. Highlights of this included an entirely student written and directed
play, a parody of “God’s Plan” by Drake with the words from Der Zauberlehrling,
and a song and dance combination performance. The finale was a camp fire
and s’mores, welcomed by young and old.
By the end of the week, the campers were worn out and ready to go home. However, they all agreed that they wouldn’t trade this experience for the world. Victor, one of the campers, had to say, “bruh [sic], because of the experiences I had at this camp, I feel more fluent in German and knowledgeable about a lot of the German culture.”
Multilingualism is the norm in most of the world and we believe that children who speak and write more than one language will be better prepared for life in the 21st century with its growing global economy. The best way to master another language is to start learning at an early age.