Young Writers Camp Announces Free Online Offerings for 4th-12th Graders

Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Young Writers Camp class in 2016

A Young Writers Camp class in 2016

The Young Writers Camp – a nonprofit program of the South Coast Writing Project at UCSB – announced plans to continue camp services this Summer through online offerings.

In support of families facing COVID-related challenges, there is no cost to register for Young Writers Camp Online. For families able to make a donation, contributions made will go to compensate our teachers for their valuable time. If you are interested in donating, please contact us at

Registration information and online camp details are online. For more information or help with registration, contact Young Writers Camp at

The following open online programs serve students entering grades 4-12:

Mon, Wed, Fri, from 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Grades: Students entering 9th - 12th
Teacher: Brandon Janes (Conejo Valley Unified School District)
For many students, the college entrance essay is one of the most challenging (and fun) essays that they will ever have to write. The course will help demystify the college essay writing process. Students will learn traits of effective college entrance essays, practice writing to a number of different prompts, and work with teachers and peers to enhance the quality of their own writing.

Mon, Wed, Fri, from 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m., Tues & Thurs open by appointment
Grades: Students entering 4th - 6th
Teachers: Kristin Jensen Dodge (Oxnard School District); Ian Foutz (Ocean View Elementary School District)
Come experiment and play with all sorts of writing this summer- poetry, narrative, fiction, nonfiction, persuasive argument and much more! Your camp leaders will give you great writing models and inspiring prompts on Mondays and Wednesdays when we all Zoom together and then you'll have Tuesdays and Thursdays to work independently on all, or maybe just one, of the prompts you got on the previous day(s). One of the camp leaders will be available for video conferences on those independent work days if needed. Friday we will all come together again to share one or two pieces of our writing in breakout rooms and to the whole group. At the end of the two weeks, we will have a celebration as each writer displays the piece they wrote that they are most proud of. And that piece of writing will be put into a digital anthology that will be shared with all of the Young Writers in our camp session.

Mon-Fri, from 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Grades: Students entering 4th - 6th
Teachers: Randi Seligson (Los Angeles Union School District)
The Exploring Genre’s Workshop will expose students to a variety of writing styles and genres (like sprinkles on a donut) through interesting exercises that will stretch writing muscles. Students will engage in a diverse array of writing activities to practice and improve their skills. 

Mon-Thurs, from 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Grades: Students entering 6th - 8th
Teachers: Jan Ferrer (Santa Barbara Unified School District); Leina Ball (Ventura County Office of Education)
Flex your creativity, explore a variety of writing strategies, and meet new friends this summer! During this two-week camp, we’ll play with poetry, fiddle with fiction, and knock on the door of non-fiction.

Mon, Wed, Fri, from 11:00 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.
Availability of teachers for review, feedback, sharing and development of ideas: Tues & Thurs, from 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Grades: Students entering 7th - 9th / 10th - 12th
Teachers: Camille Kavon (Oxnard Union High School District); Melissa Wood-Glusac (Conejo Valley Unified School District)
This 2-week camp introduces students to the multi-genre project. Writers select a topic of interest to write about and explore various genres to express ideas. A multi-genre project features a collection of writing that looks at your topic from different angles and will help writers develop research skills and strengthen writing ability. Writing comes in all forms and the first week will focus on forms of writing and settling on a topic idea. The second week will focus on fine-tuning your idea and creating a digital portfolio of work that writers will have the option to share and receive feedback on from other writers in the class.

There are many genres of writing and here is a short list that will start writers thinking about the opportunities for writing: movie script, news article, song lyrics, recipes, comic strip, essay, advice column, resume, job application, instruction manual, classified ad, emails, infographics … the list goes on - think about all the writing interacted with on a daily basis and work on developing the writing that interests you the most. Who knows? Perhaps you will find a writing genre that piques your interest and starts you thinking about your future plans for school and career!

Availability of optional exercises/prompts at 9:00am on Google Classroom; teacher feedback, from 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Grades: Students entering 8th + up
Teachers: Camille Kavon (Oxnard Union High School District); Melissa Wood-Glusac (Conejo Valley Unified School District)
This 1-week camp gives students already working on a piece of writing  (short story, novel, play, book of verse, etc.) time and an audience. Students are given optional activities to assist them with their work, time to share and receive feedback on their work from teachers and other campers, and hopefully by the end of the week time frame, ideas about where to possibly publish their work.

“We are excited to offer this set of online writing camps to help students grow their love of writing,” stated Nicole Wald, Young Writers Camp Director. “During this time when we can’t be together in person, our goal remains to create a sense of belonging to a community of writers and provide equitable access to the best and most inspiring writing instruction available.”
Now in its 27th year, this is the first time the camps have been offered virtually. Although Young Writers Camp will move to a virtual format, the goals of the camp remain the same; teachers seek to build confidence in a fun, highly engaging online environment while providing writing tools that inspire creative thinking. 

A typical day at online camp this year will vary depending on the course, but generally they include an exploration of various writing styles, practice with multiple genres, 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 students and teachers.The camps are modeled on practices the teachers have engaged in themselves. Every set of about 16 students (grouped by age) 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 deepening their personal 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. More information about teachers instructing each camp is available at
“Using technology tools effectively is a 21st Century skill that all students must learn,” commented Kristin Jensen Dodge, a long time YWC teacher, and award-winning 31 year veteran teacher – the last 17 years of which have been at RJ Frank Academy of Marine Science and Engineering in Oxnard as an English and AVID teacher. “Young Writers Camp is a non-threatening, nurturing environment for students to write, collaborate, revise and publish their work while learning and refining those essential tech skills.”

Before COVID, SCWriP was originally scheduled to return for a fourth summer to partner with Rio School District and Pleasant Valley School District, and was continuing to strengthen its high school offering with a new partnership with Santa Maria Joint Union High School District.

In 2019, the camp’s open enrollment sessions across two locations (UCSB and Cal Lutheran) served over 100 students, while closed partnerships with Rio School District, Oxnard Union High School District, and Pleasant Valley School District served approximately 200 more. Prior years have also featured various locations in Buellton, Ventura, and Carpinteria.

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, increase equitable access to high-caliber writing instruction, 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 or at