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Alumni Spotlight: Melanie

Published: May 28, 2020

We’re excited to begin our 60th summer of German language education, even though Waldsee will look a little different this summer! In honor of our 60th anniversary, get to know some long time members of the Waldsee community. This week, meet Melanie! Melanie first came to Waldsee as a villager in 1995 and has played a number of roles over the course of 20 summers, from leading Gesang (song hour) to serving on our leadership staff and helping plan International Day!

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How did you find out about Waldsee?

My grandparents saw something about Concordia Language Villages in the newspaper and thought it would be a good opportunity for me. They were generous enough to send me every year as a villager.

What made you come back to Waldsee year after year?

After my first summer, I was immediately hooked. I loved the music, the counselors, and the general excitement. I made some great friends, many of whom I'm still in touch with 25 years later. I didn't speak any German my first summer as a villager, and I really wanted to know what people were saying. I wanted to understand the jokes. It was a great feeling each year after that when I could understand more and more of what was being said.

What did you look forward to the most each year?

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As a villager I looked forward to seeing my friends and seeing what counselors would be back. As a long time counselor I enjoyed seeing my friends, of course, but I also loved watching villagers grow up year after year and even become counselors sometimes. I also love being outside in nature all the time with the sound of the loons and the smell of the campfire.

What's something that's different now than your first year at Waldsee?

I speak German now! I didn't know a single word when I first came to Waldsee, but I was surprised how quickly I learned. I was also at the Cass Lake site my first few years and then at Vergas, so the physical camp was completely different too. There was also almost no technology back then. Even my first few years on staff, almost no one had cell phones, and if they did, they couldn’t get reception anyway.

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What's your favorite Waldsee Lied (song)?

Freunde! But I love so many Waldsee songs, it’s honestly hard to choose just one.

Best snack at Cafe Einbeck?

Ritter Sport (almost any flavor)

Registration is OPEN for Summer 2020! Waldsee is planning to offer both virtual and on-site programming. Check out the details of our Summer 2020 programming, both on-site in Bemidji or through our Virtual Village, here.

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Have you spent nearly a decade or more at Waldsee over the last 60 years? We would love to hear from you for a future blog post! Please fill out this form here if you are interested.

Additionally, we are collecting and digitizing photos from alumni in honor of our 60th anniversary this summer. If you have any photos you would like to share (particularly from the 80s and 90s), please send them to betreuerschaft@gmail.com.