Kursa 2017: July 9 – August 5
The day starts with raising the flag, followed by breakfast and classes. Kursa’s curriculum is designed to give students many access points to Latvian language, culture, history and ethics. While the whole student body takes music and folk dance lessons together, during classes, students are grouped according to their level, maximizing their ability to speak, read, and write in a supportive and comfortable environment. Classes are planned by experienced teachers from Latvia and the US, making serious lessons of grammar and vocabulary enjoyable. Our curriculum is built off of American Latvian Association and Latvian Language Agency standards. Students will take a language proficiency test at the start and finish of the summer. Some students may be able to use these results to test out of their high school or college language requirements.
In singing class, students prepare a program for the final concert, learning traditional folk songs, as well as music by modern composers. The program also includes folk dances. Starting with basic steps, after four weeks, students are able to perform intricate folk dances and modern folk choreographies. History lessons are filled with descriptive tales of the peoples struggle for independence from early serfdom to the Singing Revolution to Latvia’s modern successes and challenges.
In the afternoons, students can participate in a variety of interest groups, including jewelry making, pottery, stained glass, drawing, embroidery, Latvian cooking, chess and Kursa’s newsletter “Kripatiņas” or yearbook preparation. Students are invited to expand on their creative talents, while gaining new skills. Their work in interest groups is displayed during the final program.
Everyone has a chance to participate in a variety of sports. Kursa has a recently remodeled volleyball court, resurfaced swimming pool, football/soccer field and a basketball court — for rainy days, there are ping pong and Novuss game tables, and the chance to learn classic Latvian card games.
Evening activities conclude the day, for example: Sports, talent shows, capture the flag, campfires, poetry evenins, polka marathon, casino night, films, etc.
Kursa’s beautiful location on the Olympic Peninsula, allows easy travel to the Pacific coast, Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helen’s or the Olympic mountains and the yearly Mason County Fair. Several field trips are planned during the Kursa program.
Each weekend begins with a themed Friday night dinner. Students decorate the dining hall according to a theme of their choice and come up with creative costumes to match. Saturday is a day for sports tournaments, cleaning or rest. At night the students organize a themed dance. To end the week, a short candlelight service is held in the church on Sunday evenings, to which members of the surrounding Latvian village are also invited.
Kursa is a close-knit community; students bond quickly and deeply, establishing a special atmosphere with friendships that often last a lifetime. In their own words, Kursa is their second family and strongest link to their Latvian heritage.