OXFORD – Ohio Writing Project (OWP) hosted its annual Youth Writing Camp from July 18-22, on Miami University’s campus. The purpose of the camp is to get young writers more comfortable in their craft, as well as to build on their natural creativity.
Miami’s OWP was founded in 1990 and is one of the oldest sites of the National Writing Project (NWP). The NWP seeks to improve the teaching of writing.
OWP hosts many workshops (specifically during the summer) which seek to help in the teaching of writing and in writing itself.
The Youth Writing Camp, one of the workshops, seeks to merge both camp activities and writing activities. This is the 11th year for the camp.
This year saw 75 kids participating in the camp. They were in grades 5th-8th, but they are broken up into age groups and taken out by different teachers. The camp costs $200.
All of the teachers have been through OWP’s main workshop (teaching of writing) and have to be affiliated with OWP.
Some of the camp activities included: swimming, writing about nature, writing 1 minute plays, performing plays, bubble art, etc. Different teachers brought different things to the children, such as a drama teacher showing the kids how to write plays.
The highlight of the camp was the showcase on Friday, July 22. This is when parents came to Bachelor Hall (home of the English department and the OWP office) to see what their children had been working on for a week. In one room there was the main presentation where students read excerpts of their work to the crowd.
In another room, OWP had created an audio art gallery.
Students had recorded themselves reading their work and the teachers uploaded the clips online. From there they linked them to a QR code (a digital code you can scan with your smartphone which takes you directly to a link) and the audience could individually listen to the kids read. It was important to the teachers that every kid had an opportunity to share their work, even if they were too shy to read on stage.
Even if insecure, these kids were passionate and willing to learn. Above all, they loved to write. The camp showed these kids what it is like to be a writer. It shows them you can build a community for writing and it showed young teachers what their classrooms could look like.