Write On! Summer camp, Camp Quill, encourages young authors
story and photos by matt rogers
With summer break winding up soon, school children are probably trying to squeeze every minute of free time they have by lounging inside a cool, air-conditioned house watching cartoons, running through sprinklers on a hot day and catching lightning bugs at night before heading back to the old grind of reading, learning and studying.
Freelance journalist Meg Ferrante has managed to package summertime fun with learning. With her creative writing camp, Camp Quill, fun and learning is a packaged deal.
Meg's focus for the camp was narrative, expository and persuasive writing. In addition, she had a range of activities for the children to complete, like making their own newspaper, learning to write their names in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and finishing different variations of Mad Libs – one of these Mad Lib variations being a knock-off the game “Hot Potato” in that as the "potato" is passed around, each child adds to the story; once the timer goes off, the person left holding the “potato” has to come up with something that brings a huge obstacle to the plot of the story.
What is disguised fun for the children is actually preparing them for the state-required writing test they will have to take in the spring. With each activity Meg had the children complete, she always asked for three reasons to back-up their thoughts.
Why? The writing test requires three supporting paragraphs for each essay.
Meg's love for writing stemmed from an early age. Growing up, she and her friends would go door-to-door delivering their own newspaper they made.
“That got me started in writing,” Meg said. “I've always loved to write.”
What later inspired Meg to create this camp was her own 10-year-old son—he is a good reader, but finds writing “majorly painful.”
During the camp, however, he wrote a three-page narrative and almost brought Meg to tears.
Wanting to share her talents outside her family, Meg has hopes that this camp will not only improve test scores, but will help these children find a new passion.
“[This camp is] for reluctant writers to gain a new energy for writing and for those who love to write to write more,” Meg said.
Camp Quill was a day camp offered to children in two different age ranges: from 6 to 8 years old and from 9 to 12 years old. The camp took place at Dog Ear Books July 7 to July 9, July 13 to July 15, and July 19 to July 23.