It can be hard to imagine what a language revitalization summer looks like, but working to keep a language alive is a full-time endeavor. Here’s an updated look at what to expect from the WAYK Summer Intensive schedule in 2018.

As with any program centered around language learning, it’s essential that we have daily contact with the language and that we practice building our “immersion muscles.” However, it’s also important to have time to relax, have fun, and take care of ourselves so that we can process what we’ve learned and be ready for the next day’s work. We know that language immersion, teaching practice, and working as a large team are all things that can make people Full, and so we try to provide opportunities for everyone on our team to recharge. That being said, our summer schedule will be packed! If you are someone who needs a lot of alone time, unscheduled time, or time for working on solo projects, our Summer Intensive might not be the right match for you.

Here’s an example of our weekly schedules during our 2016 Atka Summer Intensive and our 2017 St. Paul Summer Intensive to give you a sense of how our time has been organized in the past. What isn’t pictured here is that, in addition to our daily schedules, we had rotating schedules for cooking, cleaning, and even showering in the morning (five people sharing one bathroom made a schedule necessary!). As you can see, the summer is highly scheduled to make sure that we get the most out of the time we have! Take a look:

[pdf-embedder url=”https://whereareyourkeys.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/2016-17-WAYK-Summer-Schedules.pdf” title=”2016-17 WAYK Summer Schedules”]

Although every summer is a little bit different, the WAYK team typically works with local and regional language team members from 8:30 am-4:30 pm, five days a week, for 11-12 weeks. Some evenings and at least one day on the weekend are usually reserved for unwinding but often are filled with impromptu conversations about language revitalization and immersive language hunts. It will take some time at the beginning of the summer to fine-tune the schedule to meet our exact needs. We will need to take into account details as important as when our fluent speakers are available and as minor as how long it takes us to commute to work.

Our daily schedule for 2018’s Summer Intensive in Anchorage will differ from the St. Paul and Atka schedules above. We’ve updated our weekly schedule based on the needs of the Anchorage team as well as the suggestions from past Summer Intensive participants. Here’s a tentative idea of what our 2018 daily schedule will look like:

[pdf-embedder url=”https://whereareyourkeys.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Sample-WAYK-Summer-Schedule-Tentative-2018.pdf” title=”Sample WAYK Summer Schedule Tentative 2018″]

As you can see, there are many meetings built into our daily and weekly schedule. We’ll check in with the WAYK team at breakfast in the morning before we head to language HQ at APIA, where we’ll do a morning meeting with the whole team. At the end of the workday at APIA, we’ll do a feedback session with the whole team (plus/deltas) and then debrief as a small team back at the WAYK house during dinner. At the end of the week, we’ll also do a somewhat longer feedback session (a retrospective) both with the whole team at APIA and then at the WAYK house. Attendance at all of these meetings is not optional, it is required. While these meetings might take longer in the beginning of the summer when everyone is getting used to them, we have found that over the course of the summer our meetings will get shorter, more efficient, and more effective.

In our experience, these meetings (even when they’re short) serve three main purposes: building team and leadership skills, creating the habit of consistently asking for feedback, and providing an important structure for the summer.

  • We want everyone who participates in the Summer Intensive (local and regional team members as well as WAYK interns) to have experience leading efficient meetings by the end of the summer. For this reason, we will rotate leaders daily and each participant will get a chance to practice leading meetings and activities.
  • We have found that consistency in collecting feedback has an impact both on the momentum of a project and on the team dynamic. We want to make sure that everyone has a voice and that we don’t assume everything is going great for everyone or that the project is going well, even if things seem OK on the surface. Also, collecting feedback is one of the most important tools we’ve used to build and improve WAYK over the years.
  • Finally, there will always be unexpected elements that get introduced during the course of the summer, whether they happen on a small scale or large scale. Unfortunately, we have witnessed personal and community tragedies take place during the course of a Summer Intensive. We’ll never have a summer that’s completely free of the unexpected, and while we hope any surprises that come up are relatively minor, we want to be ready for anything. In the past, we’ve seen that if our team maintains a regular schedule, we can provide stability for the larger group even in moments of unpredictability.

One more comment on the daily schedule: while it may seem like the most important work we’ll be doing is at APIA with the full language team, that’s not actually the case. The work that we do at the WAYK house is of equal importance, and engagement with our responsibilities at the house and with our housemates is just as valuable as engagement at our work site. The world of language revitalization is small, and everyone will likely keep in touch with members of our summer team for years to come. For that reason, we ask that interns be willing to invest in each other. We realize that it’s not typical to live and work with the same people for three months; it’s pretty intense (that’s why we call it a Summer Intensive!). Again, please consider carefully if this environment is a good match for you before applying to be part of the summer team.

Our week-by-week summer schedule is still very much in development (totally normal at this point in the planning process), but here’s a draft to give you a general overview of what the summer may look like. Please know that, while these schedules are intended to provide a sense of what the Summer Intensive will be like, they are just drafts. These schedules are certain to change before the summer begins, and then be modified as the summer progresses.

[pdf-embedder url=”https://whereareyourkeys.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/2018-Summer-Intensive-Week-by-week-Overview.pdf” title=”2018 Summer Intensive Week-by-week Overview”]

If you’re interested in participating in the 2018 Summer Intensive, check out more information about the projectthe internships that are available, frequently asked questions about WAYK internships, and the expectations for interns. Then head over to our application page to apply for a position as an intern!

Written by Evan Gardner