Language camp begins eighth season

Global Language Camp

When: Through Saturday.

Where: Riverland Community College

What: Volunteers from around the country are teaching English to students who are limited-English speakers. The classes are free and open to students in grades three to eight.

By Karen Colbenson


Volunteers from all over the country arrived in Austin on Saturday with hopes of helping boost the language skills of area students who speak limited English.

Global Language Camp, which offers English classes to students in grades three to eight with limited English-speaking skills, began Saturday and will run through this Saturday. Classes are taught by members of Global Volunteers, the non-profit organization that offers free community services to several countries in the world.

It’s the eighth year the service has been offered in Austin.

Students will enhance their English skills through activities such as reading and writing, computer and keyboarding time, games and theater acting. More than 50 students have signed up for the program this year to work with 16 global volunteers and many local volunteers.

Former Austin Mayor and program organizer Bonnie Rietz said the program also focuses on career preparation. Students will meet with local business professionals and tour Riverland Community College.

"We like to have them thinking ahead to careers," said Rietz.

Classes are free.


Rietz said the program has been successful each year in helping students maintain and strengthen their English skills during the summer when they are not in school.

"It helps to get the students back into using the language," said Rietz. "It helps them keep English and get it back into their vocabulary in preparation for school in the fall. The teachers also could see an added assurance (when the students go back to school in the fall.) There’s a little bit more interest or readiness in learning the language."

Rietz said volunteers also will spend the week learning.

During their stay in Austin, volunteers will visit their students’ homes; tour the community; visit local sites, including the Spam Museum and the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center; and meet with city representatives, such as Rietz, Mayor Tom Stiehm and Joshua Liao of the Hormel Institute. On their last day, volunteers will have a group dinner at the Hormel Historic Home.

The camp is hosted by many local organizations including the Hormel Foundation, Riverland, Apex Austin, Austin Public Schools and the Parenting Resource Center.

Call 219-0098 or 434-9003 for more information.

For more information, go to

Global volunteers


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