Why should I go to Kursa? What makes Kursa different?
Kursa’s goal is to expand Latvian education options for high school students across the United States and Canada. (But students living outside of North America are also welcome!) Our program is designed for 10-40 students and has a friendly, close-knit community feel. We have a strong investment in education, but the comparatively smaller scale of the camp allows us to meet students where ever they are in their Latvian education and familiarity with language, history, literature, and culture. We also appreciate our camp traditions, with weekly dances, theme nights and summer recreation.
I don’t speak Latvian. Can I go to Kursa?
Yes! Kursa is open to all students 13 to 18 years old. Students take a Latvian speaking, reading, writing and listening test at the beginning and end of the program to chart their improvement, but classes are small and the curriculum is customized to students’ individual needs.
I can’t attend all four weeks of Kursa. Can I still come?
Yes! While the curriculum is designed for a four-week course of study, we understand that sometimes it is not possible to attend all four weeks. If cost would limit your participation, let us know — we can help with a variety of scholarships!
How much does Kursa cost?
Tuition (including room & board) is offered at a discounted rate of $1600 for the four-week program ($425/week) when students register before March 30. Standard tuition is $1900 ($500/week). Families with two students at Kursa are offered a 10% discount on the second or more student’s tuition. A “Refer a friend” discount is also available. Cost should never be a barrier to attendance: Many scholarships are available — we can find money to make Kursa affordable! (Tuition details)
How old are Kursa students?
Kursa is geared toward students between 13 and 18 years old. It is designed as a four-year program, but students can join at any age and attend until they are 18. Are you 16 and just now interested in learning about your Latvian roots? That’s great! You’re welcome to enroll!
I haven’t been to a Latvian school. Will I be prepared for Kursa?
Yes! When you start Kursa, it doesn’t matter if you have memorized Latvia’s geography, or only know the word “sveiks.” All you need is an interest in learning more, and the rest will come! Kursa’s curriculum is based on American Latvian Association and Latvian Language Agency standards, but it is customized for each incoming group of students to maximize learning potential.
What happens at Kursa?
Mornings are dedicated to classes with teachers from Latvia and the US: music/folklore, Latvian language, literature, ethics and history. In the afternoons, students can choose interest groups in which to participate, including: jewelry making, stained glass, Latvian cooking & baking, pottery and crafts, photography, yearbook and drawing, chess, and more. Folk dancing, sports, swimming, theme nights, games and free time follow. And our dedicated Kursa chefs will make sure you’re always well fed!
What is the environment at Kursa like?
Kursa is housed at the West Coast Latvian Education Center (WCLEC) in Shelton, WA. Our facilities include classrooms, a multi-purpose hall, pottery and craft barn, jewelry-making workshop, fireplace room, sanctuary, pool, boys dorm and girls dorm, volleyball court, basketball court and sport field. The surrounding nature reflects the Latvian countryside, with a lake and maintained woods. Our facilities were built by Latvians in the 1980s and are kept up and improved by the West Coast community at annual work parties (talkas), and a Latvian Village flanks the camp. We’re located in the beautiful Pacific Northwest — the mountains, beaches and forests of the Olympic Peninsula are right in our backyard, which we explore on Kursa field trips during the summer.
What else is at the West Coast Latvian Education Center?
WCLEC is not only home to the Kursa program, but is active throughout the year. In August Mežotne Latvian children’s camp takes over the territory for a week. Midsummer (Jāņi) celebrations, camping weekends, work parties (talkas), and other community events take place at WCLEC throughout the year. When Latvian events aren’t happening, Lithuanian, Estonian, and other communities make use of the grounds.
Kursa has a new registration process. Please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you encounter issues and we will update this page with your frequently asked questions!