Program Continues Growth through Multiple School District Partnerships and Expanded Grade Offerings
The Young Writers Camp – a nonprofit program of the South Coast Writing Project at UCSB – announced plans to once again expand its reach in 2019 with continued services at UCSB and Thousand Oaks and new grade levels. This year’s open programs include:
- Creative Writing for incoming 3rd-12th graders at Cal Lutheran University July 8-19, Monday-Friday 1:30-4:00 pm
- Creative Writing for incoming 3rd-12th graders at University of California, Santa Barbara July 8-19 Monday-Friday 9:00 am-12:30 pm
- Creative Writing in Digital Spaces for incoming 7-12th graders at University of California, Santa Barbara July 8-19 Monday-Friday 9:00 am-12:30 pm.
“We are particularly thrilled to offer students entering grades 10-12 to continue their path of writing,” says Nicole Wald, Young Writers Camp Director. “Our goal is to offer ongoing opportunities for youth of all ages to develop skills, confidence, and a sense of belonging to a community of writers.” She also shared that the camp will still offer Junior Teacher positions for middle through high schoolers interested in supporting with the administrative side of camp in exchange for volunteer credit.
Now in its 26th year, the camp has traditionally been offered to incoming 3-9 graders with the aim of providing students access to the best and most inspiring writing instruction available. In
2018, the camp’s open enrollment sessions across three locations (UCSB, Girls Inc Carpinteria, and CLU) served nearly 300 students, while a closed partnership with Rio School District served approximately 75 more. Prior years have also featured various locations in Buellton, Ventura, Oxnard, and Santa Maria.
A growing number of school districts are engaging with the camp as well, and this year scheduled summer partnerships include Rio School District, Pleasant Valley School District, and
Oxnard Union High School District. A fourth partnership in Santa Barbara Unified School District took shape in January 2019 when a full class of 9th grade AAPL Academy students from San Marcos High School (led by SCWriP Fellow Becca Miller) came to UCSB to lead a morning of rotating writing groups for YWC alumni.
A typical day at camp includes daily journal writing, reading and analysis of mentor texts, and structured writing workshops with peer mentor groups. This leads to a deeper understanding of the writing process and what it means to be a part of a writing community. The curriculum shifts based on the focus of the camp and the preference of the teachers.
- In Creative Writing camps, students engage in a broad spectrum of fiction and nonfiction genres, from poetry to narrative, expository to memoir, and more.
- Creative Writing in Digital Spaces offers all the rich writing of traditional camp, with added online writing experiences such as blogs and other multimedia writing.
Walking field trips, art projects and guest author presentations are also incorporated as teachers seek to build confidence in a fun, highly engaging environment while providing the writing tools that inspire creative thinking. On the final day of camp, families are welcomed to a celebration where writers read their published work from a camp anthology.
The camps are loosely modeled on practices the teachers have engaged in themselves. Every group of 20-25 students is co-taught by two teachers who have participated in the intensive
month-long SCWriP Summer Institute in Composition and Critical Literacy, deepening their understanding of the art of teaching writing while also honing their own writing skills.
The level of instruction across all camps is high caliber. Multiple teachers across the camps have been awarded Teacher of the Year and other high distinctions in their schools or districts. Often camps have teachers who are themselves published authors.
“The magic of camp is most apparent at the end when kids who were barely writing a paragraph at the start are turning out multiple pages,” comments one long-time YWC teacher and
award-winning children’s book writer Amada Irma Perez. “The kids begin to view themselves as writers, and walk away more confident in their writing skills and ability.”
An early bird registration rate of $355 is available through April 30 for all camps, after which the price increases. Sibling discounts, and scholarships are available. All skill levels are welcome, with the main prerequisite being a love of writing, or at minimum an openness to learning about writing.
About Young Writers Camp
Young Writers Camp, a program of the South Coast Writing Project (SCWriP) at UCSB, began in 1993 as a way to inspire a love of writing in youth and provide SCWriP fellows extended
professional development opportunities in the summer. The camp has served thousands of children across the Central Coast, from Thousand Oaks to Santa Maria, providing a nurturing
environment for students to grow their writing confidence and skills. Learn more at scwripyoungwriters.wordpress.com/about or at Facebook.com/SCWriPYWC.