Welcome to Les Voyageurs! Are you ready for adventure?
Les Voyageurs takes place at our own poste on Turtle River Lake near Bemidji, Minn. There, you will take time to develop skills needed to become a voyageur. You will find the life of a voyageur to be a busy and challenging one. Throughout the stay, you will concentrate on four main tasks of equal importance: speaking French, living in nature, building a community and studying the history of the voyageurs.
While at camp, you will practice canoeing skills and learn essential camping skills. You will swim in a lake and cook over a fire.
The daily schedule will also include arts and crafts, recreational swimming, working on projects, singing and campfires under the stars. We will do all these things in addition to gathering wood, cleaning the dishes or pumping potable water.
This summer, Les Voyageurs will recreate the immersive Concordia Language Villages experience in your home. Through our online High School Credit Program, villagers will earn a year’s worth of high school credit through experiential learning led by qualified language teachers and highly proficient French speakers, extending beyond the virtual classroom. Online classes and interactive cultural activities will be held Monday through Saturday, typically between 10:00AM and 4:00PM Central Time.
The Les Voyageurs online credit course is a four-week exploration of the language, history, and culture of the fur trade in Canada and northern Minnesota, specifically of the life and times of the Voyageurs, who were the hardy, jovial French-Canadian long-haul freight workers who carried furs and merchandise between Montréal, the Great Lakes region, and the depths of north central Canada primarily by canoe. Over the course of the session, villagers will discover the background, traditions, habits, and technologies of the Voyageurs; details about their social, economic, and historical context; the challenges they faced and overcame; and their impact on French-Canadian culture to this day. Throughout the session, lessons will be taught in French, the language of the Voyageurs, and villagers will engage with both live instructors and content (written and multimedia) in the target language. This will be a dynamic, engaging, action-packed course full of laughter, discovery, critical engagement with challenging topics, and camaraderie. Come join our brigade!
Les Voyageurs Virtual Village is more than a typical online class. To accomplish our mission of inspiring courageous global citizens, we’re doing online learning the CLVway:
Our staff is excited to welcome you to our Virtual Voyageurs Village.
See you this summer! A bientôt !
Un Jour dans la vie…
A day in the life of a Voyageurs online credit course villager
Règle No 1: “Il n’y a pas de journée typique chez les Voyageurs!”
Rule No. 1: “There is no typical day at Les Voyageurs!”
Even so, what might my villager do on a given day, you ask? Read on...
Participate in historical virtual worldbuilding
‘Les Voyageurs Virtuels’ worldbuilding role-playing game (RPG): Villagers will have the opportunity to be immersed in and contribute to a virtual world set in 1796 North America— the height of the North West Company in modern-day Minnesota and Canada. They will study and write about many different characters, technologies, and places of the time spanning various political and economic strata. They will also learn the driving forces of the fur trade and the governmental and cultural dynamics that made it such an important part of North-American history. Villagers will design a historically-accurate Voyageur character and work together to complete a three-week virtual trip from Montréal to Grand Portage and back, facing challenges, gaining skills, and learning language, history, and culture along the way.
Complete weekly missions focused on lived experience and getting outside!
Voyageur Missions are an essential part of daily life. This summer at Les Voyageurs we are Here, There, Anywhere, but we are all part of the same team. These missions will encourage outdoor, experiential learning and solidify team bonds. Each one is designed to spark villagers’ curiosity about the world around them at home, challenge them to learn new skills, encourage collaboration with peers, and increase their communicative proficiency in French on topics relevant to their own lives.
Take on leadership roles
Individual responsibility and communication skills cultivate group success. Each villager will have the opportunity to take ownership of an area which contributes positively to the online program. Even in a virtual setting, we continue in our belief that positive individual contributions support the group. Public speaking in a foreign language is a strong leadership skill which will be developed through video submissions, as well as live group presentations.
Participate in Club Castor sessions
You can think of this as the “book club” for Les Voyageurs, only it’s a choose-your-own-adventure. Introductory readings from Club Castor will provide a jumping off point in the form of a historical text, video, or artifact. Then each villager will select a topic that interests them most to research further. Over the next 2-3 days, they will do a deep dive into this topic through independent research and 1-on-1 guidance from their instructors. At the end of the week, our debrief Club Castor session will take place, in which each villager will have the chance to present their findings to the Club. This weaves together other aspects of the program: information from these sessions will help make the ‘Voyageur Virtuels’ sessions as vibrant and historically accurate as possible.
And so much more!
The rest of our day will be spent learning French in a more casual environment. Leisure activities offer a nice balance to the rigorous academic workload, while still offering a French immersion environment to solidify previous learning. Activities for this portion are based on villager interests, and we remain flexible. These could include crafting, yoga, playing group games such as loupgarou, a French Netflix watch party, and more!
See you this summer! A bientôt !
Questions? Contact clvFrench@cord.edu
You become a voyageur as you canoe with your tent partners into the morning fog, eat Scottish scones, learn to pitch a tent, split logs, cook over an open fire, play le chat et souris, paddle, tip and rescue a canoe, sing traditional and modern songs, tell and get jokes in French, prepare roubabou, swim and bathe in pristine waters, identify, name and describe boreal plants and carve a spoon or make moccasins. You may also build a fire, slap mosquitoes and flies, kneed bannock, dance la Bastringue, meet fur traders, metis and other fur trade characters, listen to the loons, play "le menteur," taste your own pemmican, watch the sunset with your friends, stare into the fire and fall asleep to the sound of "la Claire fontaine"on the shore of lakes carved in the Canadian shield.
After five days at base camp, you and your brigade team are ready for the "grand voyage" in the Voyageurs National Park. Along parts of the historical routes of the fur trade, you will traverse the southern lakes of Voyageurs.
As you engage in a five day adventure, you build and strengthen with French words new friendships while paddling with or against the wind, one day in the rain and the next in the sun. One afternoon you are on the edge of a granite cliff 1, 2, 3 "plouff" you are in the lake, on snack break you are on the edge of two countries looking at a U.S. - Canada border marker and the next morning, you are on the edge of history taking pictures of pictographs left by earlier native dwellers of the land.
On the layover day for a few hours, you are the sole guest of a parcel of forest. Later, around the fire, the brigade debriefs this peaceful moment in the wilderness. During the paddling days your progress is punctuated with pauses during which you partake with water into toasts once declaimed at the Beaver Club in Montreal. After twelve days chez les voyageurs, castor, sac étanche, sac de couchage, chamallow, aigle à tête blanche, gilets de sauvetage have become your new French friends. Back at base camp the last day is filled with stories, voyageurs style competitions and a closing ceremony around the camp fire.
The Les Voyageurs permanent base campsite is located on Turtle River Lake, just a short distance from the French Language Village, Lac du Bois. Check-in for French Voyageurs programs is at the Lac du Bois site.
Up to four villagers share a tent, and staff share tents nearby. Canoes are used for tripping and transportation of food and supplies, as well as mail. All meals are prepared by villagers and staff over an open campfire. Groups portage their tents and supplies on five- to nine-day camping excursions.
Minnesota is typical of a continental climate. The North Woods of Minnesota experiences the widest variety of weather in the United States. Each of the four seasons has its own distinct characteristics. Although summers are generally hot and humid, it is normal to experience rain showers, thunderstorms and cool nights. Summer temperatures average 85 F but can get down to 55 F. This program lives outdoors, regardless of the weather, so come packed and prepared to handle a wide variety of temperatures and dry or wet weather.
9950 Rue de Compiègne NE
Bemidji MN 56601
Phone: (218) 586-8600 (main Bemidji office number)
Fax: (218) 586-8788 (main Bemidji office fax)