From Rochester, Minn., Muriel is a first-year counselor atLac du Bois. This fall, Muriel heads to Georgetown intending to focus on international economics and Arabic. Below is her story of how she found Lac du Bois, why she became a counselor and how she spent this first summer teaching and working with the villagers.
Oh, and before you dig in to her story, Muriel notes “My English semantics are rather bizarre at the moment due to having spent nearly seven weeks here at LdB!”
Why Lac du Bois?
“At the end of seventh grade, my friend Diana invited me to join her at Lac du Bois, a camp she’d attended for the past several years. My mom thought it was a better idea than I did at the time, but after approximately one day on site, even though I knew only two French words before coming, I fell in love with the program. I enjoyed the energy of the camp, especially the energy in the songs and dances. During my first two-week session, I managed to survive three days without speaking English. It was such an atmosphere of growth, and my brain thrived on it. I realized that the only thing that was lacking (for me) was direct intensive language instruction. Somewhere near the end of that session, amono (counselor) mentioned how chouette it was to be a credit-villager, and I decided that it would be absolutely necessary to come back the next summer. It was the highlight of my summer.”
Why did you decide to become a mono?
“Lac du Bois is an addicting environment. Besides that, from my very first two-week session, it had been a life-goal of mine to become a mono at Lac du Bois. I wanted to help create the magic that I experienced.”
Muriel’s days as a mono at Lac du Bois
“I live with villagers, teach theater/mime/dance, sing songs with big gestes, occasionally act in the daily soap opera, do everything else a counselor at French camp does. I also act as the Reine de Régime(kitchen liaison). I verify all the dishes before they leave the kitchen, make all the announcements for special diets, and hunt down the kids for face-to-face allergy announcements. As a cause to me, the entire camp knows that there is wheat in vinegar and chicken in chicken. For International Day, I even co-coached our Model UN Summit team for the two weeks preceding the festival.
I think I specifically offer some experience in teaching mime and an understanding of how complicated allergies can be. I don’t think as many people understand the diligence it requires to really be sure that some allergens are avoided.
En plus, it’s helpful that I was a villager for so long before becoming a counselor; I really admired my counselors (and probably even idolized them a bit) and the way the program was run… I think seeing that and participating on the other side gives me a greater goal to which I can aspire. I’ll never feel like I’m perfect, and I’ll never give up re-explaining what I’m trying to say in French. Je ne veux pas casser la magie!”