Josh ponders his hunting book next to the “schedule wall,” a row of easels that helped the team organize each week of activities.

It can be hard to imagine what a language revitalization summer looks like, but working to keep a language vital is a full-time endeavor. Here’s an updated look at what to expect from the WAYK Summer Intensive schedule in 2020.

As with any program centered around language learning, it’s essential that we have daily contact with the language and that we practice strengthening 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, our 2017 St. Paul Summer Intensive, our 2018 Anchorage Summer Intensive, and our 2019 Tsleil-Waututh Nation 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 have had rotating schedules for cooking, cleaning, and sometimes even showering (in 2016! Five people sharing one bathroom!). 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:


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 8-12 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 can 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 2020’s Summer Intensive in North Vancouver, BC will differ from some of the example schedules above, although it will align pretty closely with our schedule from last summer. We’ve updated our weekly schedule based on the needs of the Vancouver team as well as the suggestions from past Summer Intensive participants. Here’s a tentative idea of what our 2020 weekly schedule will look like:


As you can see, there are many meetings built into each day and week. We’ll check in with the WAYK house team at breakfast in the morning before we head to language HQ at Tsleil-Waututh, then we’ll do a morning meeting with the whole team. At the end of the workday, we’ll have a feedback session with the whole team (plus/deltas) and then debrief as a small team 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 Tsleil-Waututh and again at the WAYK house. Attendance at all of these meetings is not optional; it is required. While these meetings might take longer at 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 visitors) 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 noticed that maintaining a regular schedule
  • helps 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 Tsleil-Waututh 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, but here’s a draft to give you a general overview of what the summer might look like. This summer will be slightly shorter than our typical Summer Intensive. 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 almost certain to change slightly before the summer begins, and then be modified as the summer progresses.


If you’re interested in participating in the 2020 Summer Intensive, check out more information about the project, the internships that are available, frequently asked questions about WAYK summer projects, and the Summer Intensive expectations. Then head over to our application page to apply for a position!

Written by Evan Gardner