I was born, raised and schooled in Paris and I am Ria Aichour. During the ten years since my arrival here in New York City, I’ve worked for the French Heritage Program, the French Embassy, the Alliance Française, and a number of NYC private and public Dual-Language Programs. I am now the Founder of Bonjour NY Summer Camp.
How did you come up with the idea of creating a day camp?
French Dual Language Programs emerged in public schools approximately five years ago. I was intrigued by this initiative to make French education available and affordable by all. I wanted to associate myself with these programs and give them my full support.
Following the first summer vacation after the inception of French Dual Language, parents re-subscribed to my adult classes and expressed how difficult it had been for their children to return to studying French after two summer months of English. This dilemma of the summer devoid of French played a significant role in nurturing my idea of establishing a French summer day camp. The day camp would not just help children maintain the acquired French of the academic year, but enhance and extend their grasp of the language. I knew I could design the day camp to be fertile ground for both Francophone and non-Francophone children to interact with one another in fun and productive ways.
How do you learn of the needs of your families?
Having worked closely with DLP families at PS 58 and PS 84 (adults classes, after school classes, tutoring…) for the past few years, I have become better able to identify their individual needs.
Every summer, we add new activities to our Bonjour NY Summer Day Camp to meet the needs that were expressed to me over the course of the summer. We believe strongly in taking seriously the comments that are communicated to us. This way, kids get the best opportunities to maintain and experience Francophone summers full of enjoyable surprises, while effortlessly improving their language skills.
Approximately half of our participants come from academic Dual Language Programs. One quarter of our campers come from Francophone families who look for creative ways to keep their young ones immersed in French, and the other quarter of our campers come from non-Francophone families who want to give their children a first or continued opportunity to be immersed in the French language.
Bonjour New York is open to all children from Pre-K through 5th grade, even if they haven’t learned a single word of French. Children are always grouped according to their mastery of the French language, and we serve all levels of language acquisition.
What kinds of activities do your camps offer?
The French language is used for all of Bonjour NY activities, yet it is never implemented or taught as one might see in a traditional language class. Our camp teaches French language and Francophone culture in many enjoyable and fun-filled ways. Campers spend a maximum of time in outdoor activities where they can enjoy the fresh air, the sun and a vacation atmosphere. Campers take supervised trips, play outdoor and indoor games, engage in art activities, swim, play sports, while all the while speaking and listening in French.
What is the vision that shapes your summer camps? What is your mission?
In the future, we hope to continue supplementing and supporting the learning of French in NYC amongst young populations. We would like to assist wherever assistance is needed, and to expand our programs to more schools in order to share our unique specialty with more students. In the next few years, we will increase the number of locations where we host our Bonjour NY Summer Day Camps and after-school programs.
At the same time, we would like to expand our adult programs and invite more people to learn and improve their French by joining our language and specialty classes.
For more Information:
July 9 to August 31
(Registration on a weekly basis)
Hours: 9:00 A.M. to 4 P.M., Monday through Friday
Extended hours: 8:30 A.M to 6:00 P.M
For Kids from Pre-K to Grade 5
Beginners are welcome!
Bonjour NY is a well-established language immersion program with experienced French counselors. The campers hear and speak French right away, regardless of previous experience. Bonjour NY teaches French language and French Culture through many enjoyable and fun-filled ways. Campers go on trips, play games, engage in art activities, swim, all the while, speaking and listening in French. Campers are happy and finish their days at the camp with lots of stories to tell.
Visit our Facebook page! Bonjour NY!
Bonjour NY French summer camp will be
FUN, FUN, AND MORE FUN