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An Example Highlights Foundation Workshop Agenda (and Why It Might Change a Little Before You Get Here)

What does a day at a Highlights Foundation workshop look like?

Now that’s a loaded question.

Of course the exact sessions vary widely depending on the topic, faculty and special guests for the workshop you choose.  And the workshop’s layout will depend on whether you choose one that’s genre-driven and subject-focused, writing-intensive, retreat focused, etc.

While we’d love to give you an exact agenda for every workshop when you first sign up, sometimes that’s just not possible.

Why the Workshop You’re Considering Might Not Have a Complete or Final Agenda Yet

  • It is a “work-in-progress”.  While we have a program and operations staff, all of our faculty members are currently practicing in various facets of the kidlit world.  We book them well in advance and plan the “bones” of the workshop to get the schedule ready, but final details are often fleshed out as the calendar year develops. More details come into focus the closer we get to the event, especially if it is the first time we’ve offered the workshop. 
  • Even the workshops we offer most years can change from year to year.  You’ll see some tried and true “classics” on the schedule across the years.  But the faculty works to address current topics and new tools with each new iteration.
  • Faculty members adapt agendas as needed to address participant needs.  We give our faculty a list of attendees in advance of their workshops, and in some cases, sample writing that the attendees submit. If our faculty see better paths to serve their students, they’ll often take them.
  • We bring special guests to sessions whenever possible.  Special guests can include editors, agents, publishers, or creators from complimentary genres/disciplines.  Invitations are often extended to suit certain session topics, and schedules can be tough to pin down. Sometimes we even bring them in via Skype to ease traveling schedules and conflicts.
  • Inspiration can hit anytime. You’re a creator; you probably understand!  Inspiration can strike during a faculty member’s own work, as they attend an industry event, or even on a car ride!  Some of the coolest and most useful workshop sessions have come from these last minute “lightning strikes.”  We allow them to adapt the schedule to accommodate those.

What We Know For Sure

Whatever the focus, our workshops typically include faculty presentations, hands-on exercises, specialty topic sessions, some level of feedback, and retreat time for working on your own projects. 

The amount of retreat time probably varies the most—you’ll often find more retreat time during workshops at higher experience levels, or those where material generation or revision are at the heart of the program.

You’ll also eat among your faculty and guests, providing less formal, but just as important discussion. We serve three farm-fresh meals per day, using locally sourced ingredients prepared with love by our kitchen staff.

If you’re eyeing a workshop with an agenda that’s not yet available, here’s a sample layout:

Day 1
Afternoon
Arrival and check in

Evening
Appetizers & dinner
After dinner: Introductions and Welcome
An introductory activity

Day 2
Morning
Optional yoga
Breakfast
Faculty presentation
Hands-on session

Afternoon
Lunch
Faculty presentation
One-to-one mentoring
Retreat time for revision or generative writing/illustrating

Evening
Appetizers & dinner
After dinner: fireside chat or special guest presentation

Day 3
Morning
Breakfast
Faculty presentation
Hands-on session

Afternoon
Lunch
Special guest Q&A
One-to-ones or retreat time for revision or generative writing/illustrating

Evening
Appetizers & dinner
After dinner: open mic readings or guest author presentation

Day 4
Morning
Breakfast
Faculty session or panel
Final Q&A session

Afternoon
Lunch and farewells

We’ll also help you get here.  See transportation and booking details at Getting to Your Highlights Foundation Workshop and know that we’ll do our best to take care of you.

What Our Alums Say

“The workshop leaders provided a special balance between honest feedback and sincere encouragement. Masters of their own craft, they take the time to get to know attendees and offer helpful, specific, advice. In a word, inspiring! The accommodations were perfect!”

We know that it’s an investment to attend our workshops, but we promise to guard your investment carefully and give you an experience that empowers your, rejuvenates you, and helps you accomplish your goals.

If you have any questions about a particular workshop agenda, please send them over. Email info@highlightsfoundation.org and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Posted on: October 8, 2019