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Youth programs

NEW! Summer Youth Camps

MWP is excited to facilitate summer youth writing camps for students entering 5th through 8th grade (in fall 2018). Our enthusiastic summer camp leaders are currently practicing licensed teachers who bring energy and experience to the teaching of writing. Each camp is limited to 16 participants. The camps will run five days for three hours at a time.

Cost: $200 per camp

Location: University of Minnesota, Nicholson Hall, east bank

Click here to register!

Week 1: June 18–22, 2018

morning (9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.)

afternoon (1:00 to 4:00 p.m.)

1. Argument Artists

3. Flash Fiction

2. Promising Poets

4. Graphic Novels in America

Week 2: June 25–29, 2018

morning (9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.)

afternoon (1:00 to 4:00 p.m.)

5. Flash Fiction

7. Interactive Fiction

6. Graphic Novels in America

8. Voice Explorers

Need a full-day option? For participants attending both morning and afternoon sessions, a supervised lunch hour from 12:00–1:00 will be available for no additional charge. Participants need to bring their own lunches. Morning drop-off is 8:30–9:00. Afternoon pick-up is 4:00–4:30.

For participants enrolling in the morning session only:
Morning session drop-off time: 8:30–9:00
Morning session pick-up time: 12:00–12:30

For participants enrolling in the afternoon session only:
Afternoon session drop-off time: 12:30–1:00
Afternoon session pick-up time: 4:00–4:30

2018 Camp Descriptions

Argument Artists!

Learning to argue well, in speaking and writing, is important at any age! If you want to strengthen your debate and argument skills, and have fun doing it, then this camp is for you. Participants will practice the art of arguing well, on topics of their choice. Lively discussion, moving around, collaborative work, and challenging critical thinking are all a part of this experience of playing with the art of argument. Week 1 (morning)

Teacher: Jess Emery is a teacher at Henry Sibley High School. She teaches writing to English Language Learners, and co-teaches across content areas with other teachers at her school. She is passionate about her students, running, cooking, reading, and spending time with the people she loves.



Flash Fiction

What happens when two writers meet? What happens when their characters meet in a story? Writing a short story has never been this fun AND easy! Work with a partner or work on your own to craft a piece of original fiction in a step-by-step process that is sure to result in a wonderful piece of writing. Week 1 (afternoon) and Week 2 (morning)

Teacher: Jonathan Nelson is a 7th grade Language Arts teacher at Minnetonka Middle School West. In addition to helping students learn, he also loves reading, coffee, disc golf, and podcasts about history and law.



Graphic Novels in America

Calling graphic novelists of the future! Join fellow writers to read graphic novels together and then create, design, and write your own! Week 1 (afternoon) and Week 2 (morning)

Teacher: Jacob Juliar is a bilingual writer and middle-school teacher who spent a decade living in Seoul, South Korea—a bustling city of 20+ million people. He spends his days reading Calvin and Hobbes anthologies to his two small children and the rest of his time searching for and reading graphic novels like Threads, The Best We Could Do, and anything by Gene Luen Yang.





Interactive Fiction

Create and share interactive fiction in this workshop! Whether it's about an epic adventure, navigating the daily drama of middle school, or wherever else your imagination might take you, interactive fiction lets you create a story that your reader can play like a game. Week 2 (afternoon)

Teacher: Bryan Coyle is a 10th grade Language Arts Teacher at Irondale High School in New Brighton. When he's not teaching, he loves reading, running, playing video games, traveling, and cooking.



Promising Poets

Are you interested in taking the time to focus on moments that spark your poetic passions? Our week is designed to facilitate the joys of art and self-expression as writers and poets in a non-competitive environment. Together we will tour both the University of Minnesota campus as well as the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum galleries as we engage in the art of observation. During camp we will draw on our own stories to deeply explore those experiences where emotion, memory, passion, and the senses intersect and drive our desires to express ourselves in both written and spoken word. Using technology as a tool for fostering a sense of collective and individual voice, we will create and perform through this positive outlet. Week 1 (morning)

Teacher: Jana Lo Bello is an instructor and the licensure program lead in the Elementary Teacher Education program at the University of Minnesota. Prior to this role, Jana was an elementary teacher and taught in both general and special education contexts. She finds her inspirations for writing while teaching, working with community-based organizations, running, and traveling.


Voice Explorers

Do you love to listen to other people's stories and share your own? Do you want to learn techniques for creating captivating, engaging stories and spoken word poetry? In this camp, practice writing, creating, and performing your poetry, all while finding your VOICE! Week 2 (afternoon)

Teacher: Julie Sinn is a writer, dance instructor, and a Language Arts and Communications/Media Literacy teacher.





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Scholastic Writing Awardsben lee

MWP congratulates local high school student Ben Lee for his national Scholastic Writing Award! Ben was chosen as one of five 2017 National Student Poets and read his poem at the Library of Congress in August 2017. Read about this award.

Click here for details on the 2018 Scholastic Writing Awards! 

Click here to see the 2018 winners!

Young Writers Conference

The Young Writers Conference is offered through an expanded cooperative partnership with area schools/districts. The Conference provides an opportunity for schools to inspire some of their best student writers by bringing them to the University of Minnesota campus, fostering interaction with other student writers, and encouraging critical response to a variety of creative stimuli at the Weisman Art Museum or the Bell Museum of Natural History. 

In 2013, the Minnesota Writing Project hosted a Young Writers Conference at the Weisman Art Museum for the entire ninth grade class at the North Academy of Arts and Communications (NAAC) in Minneapolis. Over a period of three days, students and teachers viewed, learned, and wrote about aspects of identity inspired by the photography of Xavier Tavera; spoken word artist, Desdamona; and the artwork of the Weisman.

Centered on the theme of sustainable shelters, the 2011 conference in the Bell Museum of Natural History encouraged students to incorporate elements of environmental awareness in their writing. Each student was given a notebook to fill with words, images, ideas, and reactions to the various dioramas and and models in the sustainable shelter exhibit, including the Icon Solar House. Click here to see the anthology of words and images created by these young writers.

To kick off the 2010 event, based on the exhibit, Common Sense: Art and the Quotidian at the Weisman Art Museum, the students were immersed in creative practices of everyday art through focused drawing and collage making. They were each given a notebook to fill with words, images, ideas, and reactions to the art of the Weisman Museum. Click here to see the anthology of words and images created by these young writers.

In spring of 2009, students and teachers studied and wrote about the exhibit Changing Identity: Recent Works by Women Artists from Vietnam. Click here to see these young writers at work in Weisman Art Museum.

During the 2008 Young Writers Conference, students and teachers viewed, learned, and wrote about the photography exhibit, Paul Shambroom: Picturing Power.

In 2007, sixty students and their accompanying teachers were invited to participate in a cross-disciplinary writing experience at the museum using the exhibit, Bob Dylan's American Journey, 1956-1966.

Gopher Writing Camp

The Gopher Writing Camp is currently not running, but we hope to bring it back soon. Go here to see the audiovisual compositions that students in the 2006 Gopher Writing Camp created while visiting the Weisman Art Museum.