language camp 

Learning through language Whistler kids are going to have an innovative opportunity this summer to take part in a cross cultural exchange that will pair local kids with visiting Japanese children for a summer language camp. Jody Wilson, owner of Club Jodyco, says for the first time kids from Whistler aged 7-14 will be exposed to Japanese culture and language when the language immersion program kicks off July 23 in Whistler. "The whole idea is to combine the language training with outdoor activities," says Wilson, who is fluent in Japanese and a number of other languages. The idea for the language camp came about over the past couple of years as Wilson tried to expand the cultural exchange between Canada and Japan. The Japanese children will be accompanied by their mothers, who will also be taking English as a Second Language courses and spending time socially with Canadian women. She says the camp is an excellent opportunity for local kids to get their feet wet learning Japanese and gain new friends from Japan. The children will study Japanese or English for three hours in a very "informal" setting in the mornings, says Wilson. Afternoons will be spent hiking, biking, horseback riding and a variety of outdoor activities. The three ESL instructors Wilson has hired have recreational backgrounds and she says just as much learning will take place at the beach in the afternoon as goes on in the morning sessions. "All of the instruction will be highly interactive," says Wilson. "If we get enough Whistler kids involved to have a buddy for each Japanese kid, the entire interactive experience becomes a learning time. In just trying to communicate and be kids, the learning is passive, but very focused." Wilson says the costs will be minimal for Whistler kids, because they will be staying at their own home and the entire camp will be "much like any other summer camp, except they get to start to learn Japanese." Camps will run until the end of August and up to 20 Whistler kids are needed as buddies for each of three sessions. For information call 938-9260.

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