Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Summer, through the prism of prose

At the Idaho Writing Camps


    Anyone who writes, or aspires to write, knows that one of the most vital components of the creative process is time to think, to observe and to let the creative juices flow.
    Finding moments to write during the hectic school year is hard. Downtime that helps spark ideas is in short supply for would-be young scribes.
    But summer, as defined by Idaho Writing Camps, invites students in grades 3-12 to slow down, look at the world with a critical and compassionate eye and begin to shape ideas, narratives and characters into art.
    Each summer, Idaho Writing Camps offer children and youth the opportunity to explore and engage in creative writing adventures—and to become published authors.
    The programs are sponsored by The Cabin, a non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire and celebrate a love of reading, writing and discourse.
    Camps introduce aspiring writers to professional writers who work closely with the small groups. Budding storytellers use the natural world, cultural and historic sites, local environs and unique opportunities to start on a journey of imagination, honing writing mechanics, cultivating voice, and individual style.
    Where some camps rely on hiking shoes, knots and sunscreen, this one builds its program on active verbs, apt adjectives and gracious grammar, providing the creative tools to produce great writing.
    Lest it sound as if Idaho’s long glorious summer days are spent at a desk, Idaho Writing Camps build in a great deal of field work.
    Most days, budding storytellers are out and about seeking inspiration, working in small age-appropriate groups on a variety of projects.
    Camp culminates in a public reading of student work, giving young writers a chance to share their stories with friends and family.  Their work is published in a bound anthology, sure to become a keepsake.  
    In the Wood River Valley, there are three choices for summer camps to cultivate creativity. All are held in Hailey at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, 314 2nd Ave. S.
    Children entering grades 3-4 in the fall are invited to the Word Play class that meets from Monday through Friday, Aug. 5-9 from 9 a.m. to noon. Writers will engage in play to stimulate the five senses and encourage new paths to writing imaginative poems and stories. Hailey’s parks, gardens, public library and other venues serve as inspiration.  
    Rising fifth and sixth graders participate in the Cabin Writers program, discovering how art, music and nature inform the imagination. Emphasis is on writing prose and poems that are singular and original. Art, history and the Big Wood River will factor into the students’ work.
    Cabin Writers Camp meets in either morning (9 a.m.-noon) or afternoon (1 p.m. to 4 p.m.) sessions, again from Aug. 5-9.
    For writers in grades 7-9, Urban Ink is the theme of camp. Teens explore what makes Hailey unique, from coffee shops, to public art to the city’s vibe. There will be an emphasis on character development, stemming from interaction and rooted in observation. Urban Ink meets Aug. 5-9, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
    One-week camps are $165 for non-members and $135 for members. Other writing camps are offered in Boise and Twin Falls. For a full list of camps, to register, or learn about scholarships, log onto The Cabin’s website at

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