(This post originally appeared on Parentology.com)
If ever there was a time when children could use some good old-fashioned escapism, it’s right now. Despite growing numbers of vaccinations across the country, most children and teens are facing another summer spent at home. And parents are scrambling to find an alternative that will stimulate their kids’ brains and won’t turn their minds to jelly.
Enter Write the World virtual summer writing camps. From June through August, nine sessions of week-long virtual writing camps will give writers ages 13-19 the opportunity to create works across genres, from SciFi and Fantasy to Screenwriting, Social Justice Poetry to Humor Writing, and more. From the comfort of their homes, teens will learn from professional authors, editors, and educators, alongside peers around the world, as they work to create pieces they’re proud of.
What's a typical day like for a Write the World camper?
DW: Every day our campers will meet as a group with a professional author, editor, or educator via Zoom for synchronous writing activities and instruction. Campers will then have a set of prompts to respond to, readings to browse, and peer reviews to write in preparation for the next day of camp.
The young writers will explore different elements of craft each day (i.e., dialogue and characterization, setting, worldbuilding), working up to the creation of original pieces that they will draft, revise, and share at the end of camp.
Campers will also receive personalized feedback on their work from Expert Reviewers — trained authors and educators on the Write the World team who are eager to support campers’ thinking and writing, working together to hone and deepen their craft.
What do campers typically say is the most enriching part of their camp day?
DW: Participants in our virtual programs often cite the opportunity to connect with other young writers around the world as particularly meaningful, as well as receiving individualized, in-depth mentorship from Write the World educators, which we are delighted to offer via this virtual camp model.
Minna Chow, a virtual camper who attended our 2020 programming, reflected: “Having another perspective on one’s work can be a very enlightening experience and it doesn’t have to be scary. My mentor was able to point me to new possibilities for my writing and my characters, and I’m very grateful for it. It’s really fun to give people reviews on their work.”
How much improvement should a camper expect to see in their work over a 5-day period?
DW: Because we differentiate instruction and meet each writer where they are, every camper will see progress in their learning, thinking, and writing throughout the course of a workshop — thanks in part to our team of dedicated authors and educators ready to provide personalized feedback.
That progress will look different for each camper. A writer who regularly creates science fiction and fantasy stories might find a new way to approach the construction of conflict, while a young poet or journalist might discover a new passion, or return to their favorite genres with new tools gleaned from their Expert Reviewers– techniques that are transferable across genres. Plus, because we are offering nine sessions, with each week dedicated to a different genre, we welcome writers to spend one week, one month, or their whole summer exploring the art of writing within our virtual community and offer discounts to repeat participants looking to take a deeper dive by enrolling in additional offerings.
After completing the program, do campers have continued access to their mentors? Are any follow-up programs offered?
DW: Participants in our virtual writing camp will establish free accounts on our platform, www.writetheworld.com, where, throughout the year, they will have access to our weekly writing prompts and monthly competitions across genres.
They will write and receive peer reviews from a community of nearly 30,000 young writers around the world, participate in smaller, genre-specific “groups” on the site, and enroll in future camps, workshops, and other opportunities, including our year-round virtual poetry workshop program.
A recent example of the programming we facilitate is Civics in Action 2020, a cohort of young journalists working with Write the World, Facing History and Ourselves, and The National Children’s Campaign, to write about current events throughout the election cycle in the United States. Their pieces are featured regularly on Parentology, exemplifying just one way that members of our site can continue to hone and share their work after camp concludes.