Dirt Camp is an English Immersion camp, The staff at Dirt Camp is mostly English speaking. We all speak French too but the camp is an opportunity to learn English while learning to mountain bike; why not.
Inherently the sport of mountain biking is English. Because so much of its roots come from the US, much of the pros are either English from England, Australian, Canadian and again American, the sport, the equipment, the magazines and the coverage are of the most part English. When we say Immersion, we mean that we speak in English as a group, at meal times and in the field. More specific instructions are given in both languages to make sure the campers understand important information. In the Shop, Phil Lemaistre who is English, isn’t shy to use his native tongue to explain repair methods, to instruct his clinic or simply to get people out of his way.
The Goal here is to take the opportunity of mountain biking for kids to learn English. Dirt camp is a place where amazing things happen everyday and the language is an easy thing to go with it. We mix the French and English so much, sometimes we forget what language we’re supposed to be speaking. We mix the two as a way to introduce words, to get kids going on a basic vocabulary. We use expressions and jokes to break through. Then they start hearing the same words over and over again and before you know it, they are using them too. Eventually, they will ask a question in English because they really need their bike fixed and often, Phil will not accept the request in French. HA!
“It always bothered me to have language barriers between me and other kids when I was in school, on teams or even on my bike”. I always wanted to create something like Dirt Camp but specifically with language immersion so that everyone was equal and no one felt any different as a result of English or French.”
– Jeff Silas
The Director, Jeff Silas, his right hand mechanic Phil Lemaistre, jump specialist Austin de St. Croix, Special guide and instructor Alex Gabriel and others are all English and will do their best to make Dirt Camp more than bilingual.