2012 marks our 5th annual Young Writers Summer Camp and the theme is fantasy. From zombies to dragons to wizards and beyond, just about anything goes. As we wrap up our last camp this week, it is time to reflect upon the 5 weeks, 75 kids, 75 stories, and countless hours of awesome. What better way to do this than with a list?
5. Said is dead…
This is one of our favorite annual activities, in which we scream, cry, and whisper alternatives to the verb “said.” This is always followed with a fun dialogue activity, where we hand out photos of wacky people and each kid writes a conversation between them and the oddball.
4. Amway Dystopia
Our newest and limited-time-only writing activity fits right in with our fantasy theme. All the kids know about The Hunger Games, but not necessarily what a dystopia is. This year we’re using our Amway-Arena-adjacent location to 1) get some fresh air, and 2) imagine a fantastical past for the building, and describe what kind of insane events led to its destruction.
3. Ethan Long’s annual character illustration frenzy
In which Emmy-nominee, author and illustrator Ethan Long graces a class of 15 students to draw their book cover. Not only does Ethan squeeze all 15 characters from each students’ story onto one outrageously hilarious cover, he also does voices for each one (our favorite was the Stinky Unicorn). Oh, and he does a reading and book signing after that. It’s such a whirlwind of energy and creativity, we keep an electrocardiogram handy.
2. The ogre under the stairs
The ogre not-so-politely asked to remain anonymous. In fact, when we tried to snap his picture, he ate the camera. But he did serve an excellent purpose this year. At the beginning of our rising 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade camps, students lowered a bucket over the stairs outside our camp room. In this bucket was a pink eraser (i.e. ogre food). In return, the ogre provided our kids with a fantasy character to write about. At the end of the week, in return for their character sheet, the ogre was kind enough to give each kid their books.
1. The joy of holding your very own book in your hands
Our favorite day of camp is Friday, after all the hard work of writing has been done, when the stories have finally been assembled into books and presented to each child: their own cover, their title, their name! The looks on their faces when they recieve the book, and as they read it, and as Ms. Julia reads their bio and shows off their author photo on the back of the book… it’s beyond words.
If you enjoyed this top 5, we’re still trying to reach our summer funding goal, which helps keep our Young Writers Camp FREE for the kids who need it most, please consider donating.