Five Summers at Lac du Bois (a college entrance essay)
Published: November 27, 2018
There have been many events, accomplishments, and realizations throughout my life that have sparked some sort of personal growth, however, the most transformative event in my life was attending Concordia Language Villages (CLV). Concordia Language Villages uses full immersion to help villagers have an experience in language and culture and to create courageous global citizens. I attended CLV for five years. Each of the five summers I was with CLV sparked a different period of personal growth within me.
I attended Lac du Bois, CLV’s French language village, for the first time the summer of 2014 for two weeks. My mom dropped me off, and I was terrified. None of the counselors would speak English to me, as it was a full immersion program. Thankfully, I met my favorite counselor, Margot, who helped me through my first few days at camp. This first year I learned a ton of French, but most importantly, I learned how to be courageous. Without courage, I would have never been able to step out of my comfort zone and make it through two weeks of full French immersion, and I would have never met my two lifelong best friends.
The second year I attended Lac du Bois, I went for the one month credit program, which meant I would take French classes twice a day to receive high school credit. I learned even more French in my classes, as well as learning how to be confident in myself, my choices, and my beliefs. Going into this second year, I was just a young girl who had absolutely no self confidence. I let people walk all over my beliefs and me and never tried to stop them. Lac du Bois’ safe environment and counselors gave me the stepping stones to transform into the confident high school senior I am today. Lac du Bois showed me how to grow in confidence by proving to me that I am needed, and, if I really try, I can change the world for the better.
Independence was the “theme” of personal growth for my third year. I had successfully finished my freshman year of high school, and I was ready to tackle another. At camp my third year, I struggled with understanding what it meant to be independent and how to stand out from the social norms. Through the four weeks at Lac du Bois, I learned how to use my strengths to make me stand out from others and be independent.
Year four at camp was when being a global citizen really stepped into my view. Lac du Bois showed me the path to becoming a good global citizen even though I was a teenager from a small town in South Dakota. Learning about being a global citizen inspired me to travel the world and help everyone I can during my time abroad.
Year five was my last year as a villager at Lac du Bois. This period of personal growth is about learning to let go and learning that all good things must come to an end. Year five was definitely bittersweet. I was almost in denial that it would be the last year The Three Musketeers, as my best friends and I had been named, would be at camp, and they would soon move onto bigger and better things using the tools Lac du Bois gave them. This camp had become my home and my safeplace, and I could not fathom that I would not be returning the following summer. I was looking at this ending as something so negative. In reality, this last year helped me grow by teaching me to look at the ending of something as positive because it means I received an experience so amazing it is hard to let go. Just as this quote says, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
Josephine is a senior in high school in Rapid City, South Dakota. She is currently in Honors French V at school, and her favorite classes are French and English. In college, she plans on majoring in Forensic Sciences and minoring in French, thanks to her experience at Lac du Bois. She attended Lac du Bois for the past 5 years as both a 2 weeker and a credit villager. She plans on returning to Lac du Bois as a counselor to give back to a place that showed her who she really was meant to be.