It’s 9:45 a.m. in a classroom full
of 5th graders on a hot summer morning. The room is quiet, except
for the sound of pencils scribbling across the page, and the occasional whisper
from one writer to her neighbor: "My character’s name is Hairy Potato!”
This energetic silence is the sound
of invention—of words coming together in the mind and pouring out onto the
page. It’s the sound of stories that didn’t exist until just now at last taking
Of course, the room won’t stay
quiet for long. When writing time ends, sharing time begins, ushering in the
clamor of hands waving high in the air and neighbors leaning over to show one
another what they’ve created. Welcome to the Library Foundation’s Badgerdog
Creative Writing Summer Camp!
On the first day of camp, some of
these 5th graders say they love
to write. Others say writing’s not their best subject, or they’re not "super good
at it.” For the young writing enthusiast, Badgerdog is an opportunity to
discover new writers, new forms of writing, and new techniques to expand their
tool box. For the reluctant writers, Badgerdog offers a different approach to
writing, where "mistakes” are merely experiments, where you can’t fail, there
are no grades, and there’s no single right way to write.
"My favorite thing about Badgerdog
is being able to write what we want and not do boring school-like assignments,”
says Patrick, a camper in the high school workshop at The Griffin School. "We
learn writing theory by writing, not by memorization.”
Badgerdog’s teaching artists are
all are writers themselves. They love literature so thoroughly, they’ve made it
their career. And they know how challenging it can be to find inspiration, to push
through a tough writing moment, and to seek advice from others. They also
understand that writers aren’t born writers—it simply takes practice.
In addition to writing, campers at
Badgerdog also learn how to share their work aloud, how to respond to the work
of others, and how revise work for publication. All campers in Badgerdog’s
three-week program have one piece published in Badgerdog’s anthologies—Rise for third- through sixth-graders,
and Emerge for seventh- through
While writing for writing’s sake is
a worthy pursuit, Badgerdog believes writers deserve a celebration, which is
why each session of summer camp ends with a reading on site. Later in the fall,
a camp-wide reading is held at Austin ISD’s Performing Arts Center to coincide
with the release of Rise and Emerge.
Each summer, Badgerdog Creative
Writing Summer Camp brings a new sense of creativity to hundreds of kids and
teens, who become stronger writers, speakers, and collaborators as a result.
Workshops are held across Austin in three sessions. Badgerdog also offers the
Summer Book Crush and Spring Break Writing Workshops. For more information,
visit: www.austinlibrary.org. Sign up before March 15 to receive Badgerdog’s
Early Bird Discount!