Youth Writing Camps

Students at Young Writers' Camp

The Upstate Writing Project hosts a variety of writing camps targeted for elementary, middle and high school students. All instructors are certified teachers as well as teacher consultants with Upstate Writing Project. These teachers have completed a professional development institute where they examined their classroom practice, studied the latest research about teaching writing, and developed their own writing skills with a network of other literacy professionals.


***All summer camps will be held virtually in 2020.*** 
***More information about this is available on our flyer here.***


Camp Offerings

  • Camp Offerings: Grades 4-6


    Instructor: Heather Sox

    Dates: June 22 - July 2; 12:30 - 3:30 pm OR July 27 - August 7; 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

    Cost: $150

    • A camp for verse novelists
    • Crafting descriptive stories through poetry, not prose
    • Explore the uniVERSE with us! 

    Do you LOVE Brown Girl Dreaming? Could you not get enough of Crossover? Amazing authors like Kwame Alexander (The Crossover Series), Thanhha Lai (Inside out and Back Again), and Jacqueline Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming) have inspired us through their beautiful depictions of life written in verse. Verse novels open readers’ eyes to personal, real stories or create a whole new fiction world for the reader. During this writing camp, you will learn from the best verse novelists out there and transform your own stories into a novel written in verse. Each camper will leave this camp with his or her novel published!


    Instructor: Jennifer Eaton

    Dates: June 8 - 12; 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

    Cost: $100

    Would you love to travel back in time? If so, where would you go? What time period would you choose? In this camp, you will become a historian researching your chosen time and place. You will transform into someone from that time period, imagine what stories they have to tell, and immerse your reader in an interesting, historical world. Let's journal our way through time!


    Instructor: Laurie Schmotzer

    Dates: July 13 - 17; 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

    Cost: $100 

    Come explore your own backyard and let it ignite your writing passion! Using poetry and children’s books by Carl Sandburg, Lois Ehlert, Liz Boyd, and Eric Carle, you will create stories inspired by nature - including the illustrations! Nature will not only help you develop your ideas but it will create your images as well! During this one-week camp, you will learn how to write about small moments, explode those moments, and use plant dyes to make visuals. Each camper will leave with a published children’s book and a reading in the virtual author’s chair!


    Instructor: Jennifer Rich and Holly Parks

    Dates: July 20 - 24; 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

    Cost: $100

    Are you ready to take your writing to another level? During this camp, you will adventure through a quest, unlocking worlds of writing you never knew existed. Get ready to boost your creativity with five game changing practices. Each day you will build XP and level up your skills by learning strategies such as: Boss Level Idea Generator (how to decide what to write), The Book of Holding (how to use a writer's notebook), Wild Mind Writing (focused free-writing through writer's block), Power Words (transform any sentence into magic), and Winning the Writing game (find your voice and share it). Put your game face on and prepare to power up your writing!

  • Camp Offerings: Grades 6-8


    Instructor: Tobi Pirolla

    Dates: June 29 - July 3; 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

    Cost: $100 

    Do you love a page-turning mystery and trying to guess whodunit? Is your head full of ideas to write your own suspenseful story? Solving five-minute mysteries and reading excerpts from mystery writing greats will set the scene as we develop plots, suspects, clues, and red herrings. Imaginations will be ignited as campers create and publish their own short story mystery.


    Instructor: Kim Townsend

    Dates: July 20 - 24; 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

    Cost: $100 

    Do you love art and writing? Are you looking for a way to express your artistic side and use your senses to express your writing? Campers will take virtual field trips to museums and explore the connections between art and poetry. This camp will nurture imagination and creativity. Discover your poet within, creating poetry from images called ekphrastic poems, as well as creating your own pieces of artistic poetry through blackout poetry, found poems, diamantes, and other graphic poetry.


    Instructor: Janie Wassynger

    Dates: June 22 - 26; 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

    Cost: $100 

    Tap into your experiences, memories, and insights to jumpstart your poetic voice by immersing yourself in the poetry of Glenis Redmond, an upstate South Carolina poet known for her passion and presentation. Using her signature piece, “If I Ain’t African.” you will craft your own “If I Ain’t...” poem by overlapping the roles you play in your own life with colorful and imaginative language. Through games and prompts, experiment with multiple techniques to enrich your poetic persona. By the end of camp, we will host a Poetry Slam sharing their mighty “If I Ain’t..” poems.


    Instructor: Laurie Schmotzer

    Dates: June 15 - 19; 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

    Cost: $100 

    George Eliot said, “What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined - to strengthen each other - to be at one with each other in silent unspeakable memories.” During this camp, you will create a virtual diary to share your thoughts and feelings about the Coronavirus pandemic. Your entries will become historical primary documents as part of the Upcountry History Museum’s Collective Memory Initiative. Memories have the power to change the world view and alter perceptions. Be a part of history and share your stories and photographs of this unprecedented time!

  • Camp Offerings: Grades 9-12


    Instructor: Emily Cobb

    Dates: July 6 - 17; 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

    Cost: $150 

    How can writing empower you to develop a voice for activism? Think of a time when you felt moved, propelled, impassioned, to speak up for something you believed in. Have you ever wondered if your teenage voice mattered? It does. Greta Thunberg said at the House of Parliament, UK, in 2019: “The moment we decide to fulfill something, we can do anything.” This camp will empower forward-thinking young people to develop their voice of activism through writing and personal reflections. You will explore writing geared at influencing an audience and curate their own collection of activism writing pieces. Most importantly, your writing and voice will move from “can influence change” to “will influence change.” Your voice is needed more than ever before. Be the change!


    Instructor: Donna Coffman

    Dates: July 27 - 31; 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

    Cost: $100

    Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a crime scene investigator? Are you intrigued by compelling mysteries and the desire to be part of the investigation? Do you like putting the pieces together to tell the story of the crime? In this camp, you’ll be presented with a real case to solve. Over the course of the week, you’ll learn the skills necessary to solve the case, working together to compare clues, draw conclusions, and develop your own theory. Strengthen your own inquiry skills while solving a real-life crime.

All summer camps will be held virtually this year. Camps will take place within the indicated time frames. During that time, there will be a variety of experiences, such as virtual meetings, personal and group writing time, online discussions, and virtual conferences. Campers will need access to wifi, an electronic device with a microphone and video capabilities, and a gmail account in order to participate in each camp. These will not be provided by UWP.


Contact Tobi Pirolla, UWP Outreach Program Manager, at if you have any questions.