In 2014, four members of the United States Senate and four member of the United States House of Representatives requested that the American Academy of Arts and Sciences examine the role of language learning in the economy and the fulfilment of all Americans, and that they propose actions to ensure excellence in all languages as well as international education and research. Two key findings of the study (America’s languages: Investing in language education for the 21st century, viii: 2017) are that the ability to understand, speak, read, and write in world languages, in addition to English, is critical to success in business, research, and international relations in the twenty-first century and that the United States lags behind most nations of the world, including European nations and China, in the percentage of its citizens who have some knowledge of a second language. This camp is a step toward educating young people to function effectively in the globalized world.
Most public middle schools in Ohio do not offer foreign language or, if they do, the number of languages offered is limited (and this limitation continues in high school). At the same time, high schools are creating “Global Citizen Certificates” (e.g. Wellington High School) because they recognize the importance of preparing our children/students for a globalized future. The goal of this program is to expose middle school students to a variety of languages and cultural study in order to 1) generate enthusiasm for foreign language study, which will begin in high school for many students; 2) begin the process of creating responsible, aware, global citizens that may or may not continue in high school and university; 3) prepare students for language study at the university level by exposing them to a variety of languages that (in some cases) are not frequently taught in high school but are, in many cases, offered at the university level. This program is designed for middle school students who have had little or no exposure to foreign languages. However, we welcome students with any background in foreign languages and cultures who would like to continue the development of their understanding of the peoples and cultures of the world.