Pleasant Valley School District (PVSD) is partnering with the South Coast Writing Project (SCWriP) at University of California, Santa Barbara to put on a summer writing program at Cal Lutheran University (CLU) for students entering grades 4-8 in the district.
The program, called Young Writers Camp (YWC), runs July 8 - July 19, Monday - Friday from 9:00 am - 12:30 pm with chaperoned bus transportation provided for all students to CLU.
Designed to foster a love of writing for students, PVSD’s inaugural program is additionally intended to help students and parents gain exposure to college.
Commenting on the district’s intention for the program, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Veronica Ortega stated, “We’re excited for this opportunity to help students feel confident as writers and expand their writing abilities. Having it on the CLU campus also opens a door for students to see themselves as future college attendees.”
PVSD administrators are also going to be on campus to support in operating and taking part in the half-day camps, which include daily journal writing, walking field trips to inspire writing, guest lectures from published authors, and structured writing workshops. Students engage in a broad spectrum of fiction and nonfiction that may include a variety of genres, from poetry to narrative, expository to memoir, and more.
On the final day of camp, families of all the children will be bussed to CLU for a celebration where writers read their published work from a camp anthology. Students will also be honored by a short program that will include remarks from PVSD Superintendent Dr. Angelica Ramsey and CLU’s Dean of the Graduate School of Education Michael R. Hillis Ph.D . Assistant Superintendent Ortega noted that having parents come to the campus was an equally important part of the experience, particularly for those who may not have attended college.
Nicole Wald, Young Writers Camp Director, is thrilled to see districts underscoring the value of writing to their students. “When students experience writing as a joyful act, full of personal meaning, they start to view themselves as writers. Our camps, while full of playful moments and fun, also lead to a deeper understanding of the writing process and what it means to belong to a broader writing community. The students can then bring this experience back to help foster communities of writers at their own schools.”
Now in its 27th year, Young Writers camp has been offered at different times to incoming 1-12 graders with the aim of providing students access to the best and most inspiring writing instruction available. In 2019, the camp’s open enrollment sessions at UCSB and CLU for 3-12 graders – as well as closed district sessions at Oxnard Union High School District and Rio School District – anticipate serving nearly 250 students, in addition to the 100 in PVSD.
The camps are loosely modeled on practices the YWC teachers have engaged in themselves. Every group of 20-25 students is co-taught by two high-caliber teachers who have participated in the intensive month-long South Coast Writing Project Summer Institute at UCSB, deepening their understanding of the art of teaching writing while also honing their own composing skills.
Parents and students can learn more about the PVSD camp by visiting scwripyoungwriters.wordpress.com/ywc-pleasant-valley, where information is available in English and Spanish.