Heritage Language Programs - Danish

Himmelbjerget Danish Language Camp

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Address: 1847 SE Clinton Street, Portland, OR 97202

Telephone: (503) 452-9667

Web address: http://www.nwdanishcamp.com

Contact person

Name: Melony Beaird

Title: Director

Email: melony@nwdanish.org

Languages/dialects taught: Danish

Grades taught: Grades 6-12

Program Description

Purposes and goals of the program: The Himmelbjerget Danish Language Camp aims to provide students with a sense of Denmark, Danish culture, history, language, and traditions during a one-week summer camp. Activities are theme-based and include historical skits, conversational language, and traditional crafts.

Type of program: 1-week summer language camp

Program origin: The program began in association with the Danish Conference as a way to keep the children occupied and developed into a week-long camp. The language camp has been running since the 1980s.


Parents’ expectations for the program: Parents expect the children to acquire a deeper understanding of their Danish heritage.


Instructors’ and administration’s expectations for the program: Instructors also expect the children to take something about Danish heritage with them after the camp is over.


Students: 55-60 students

Danish heritage: 90%

How the program identifies heritage speakers: The program identifies heritage speakers through self-identification.

Possible reasons for student withdrawal: Some children have to leave the camp if they fall ill.

Students’ expectations of the program: Students' expectations mirror those of the instructors and parents. They come to the camp to learn about Danish culture and language.


Number of instructors in the program: 12-15 instructors

Languages in which instructors are proficient: Danish and English

Proficiency level: About half of the instructors have an advanced proficiency in Danish. Every year a counselor who is a native speaker comes to the camp from Denmark.

Credentials: Some of the instructors carry degrees and certificates, and all are past campers who have become counselors. The program's directors have considerable experience with the language camp.

Professional development opportunities instructors have: The program is a part of the ACA (American Camp Association), and for several years teachers have attended some of the seminars offered by the ACA. For particular issues, trainers are sometimes brought in.


Total contact hours per week: About 10 hours; 2 45-minute sessions per day for one week

Student grouping: Students are grouped according to skill level (Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced).

Language skills

Skills developed by the program: Speaking and listening comprehension

Additional comments: Reading is not a major focus in the program.


Aspects of culture taught: Folk dance, songs, games, and crafts

Kind of student identity program fosters: The program tries to give the students a sense of what it means to be Danish and also what it means to be Danish in the United States.


Methodologies and instructional strategies used in the program: The camp incorporates interactive methods like Danish flashcards and games associated with words and numbers.


Technology used for instruction: Technology is not usually included in the activities.


Assessments used to evaluate students’ progress: Students in the advanced class are assessed with tests. Use of the language is incorporated into all aspects of camp and rewarded throughout.


How the program develops home/school connections or promotes parent involvement: Parents are involved at the end of camp.

What the program has in place

Financial support the program receives: Financial support comes from private donations and fund raising events such as a raffle, a dinner night, and a casino night. There are three fundraisers a year. Other funding comes from other organizations like the Scandinavian Festival. Scholarships are awarded from the Danish Brotherhood and Sisterhood.

Other support the program receives: Tuition

Assistance or funding the program would like to receive: The program would like to receive assistance from the Embassy and consulate and the Danish government.

Program research or evaluation: A report and an assessment are conducted every year.

Special challenges

Challenges the program has experienced: The program's main obstacle is funding.

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