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Am Strand: Learning German on the Waterfront

Published: January 12, 2020

Waldsee literally translates in German to “forest lake,” and that is exactly what our location in Northern Minnesota provides. As much as we love hiking, camping, and exploring the woods at Waldsee, we love being able to do all kinds of activities am Strand (on the beach) of Turtle River Lake. There’s a lot of German to be learned, both on land and by sea!


Villagers are by no means required to participate in water activities but are strongly encouraged. In the first two days of each session, our waterfront managers coordinate the Schwimmprobe (swim test) for each Haus (house). In order to pass the Schwimmprobe, villagers must be able to swim continuously in a circle for ten minutes without stopping or touching the bottom. The Schwimmprobe is conducted in a roped-off area in the shallower swim area of the lake (someone about 5’6” or taller would be able to touch the bottom) with several Rettungsschwimmer (lifeguards) on duty.

Grüne Welle

The first night of the session, we go over the Strandregeln (waterfront rules) with our waterfront managers. All villagers must bring their Namensschild (name tag), Handtuch (towel), Badeanzug (bathing suit), and Schuhe (shoes) with them to the waterfront. Everyone who goes in the water must hang up their Namensschild on our board so that the lifeguards know where in the water they will be swimming in or canoeing. Those who are swimming must have a partner, and no one is allowed on the waterfront without a Rettungsschwimmer present.


There are lots of water activities to participate in -- with their Haus (house), with their Familie/Gesprächsgruppe (small speaking groups), with Freunde (friends), and during Veranstaltungsstunde (activity hour). Almost every day, swimming is offered, and counselors offer other water activities, such as canoeing and fishing. Sometimes Familien/Gesprächsgruppen have their sessions on our beloved pontoon boat! 

Don’t forget to pack your Badeanzug and get ready to learn more German in Summer 2020! We can’t wait to see you, whether it’s your first time at Waldsee or coming back after decades for our Alumni Weekend, July 17-19.

Familienkinder gehen Libelle fangen!

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.