Native Creatives: An In-Community Retreat

In-Person | Picture Books, Early Readers and Chapter Books, Novels, Nonfiction, Poetry, Illustration, Essential Conversations
This in-community retreat is for Native writers and illustrators with host Traci Sorell and special guests, author Monique Gray Smith and senior editor Karen Boss.

September 28 - October 1

Highlights Foundation Campus

$799

Overview

In-person 4-Day/3-Night, In-Community Retreat

“Time with fellow Native creatives helps sustain me along this author’s journey. I look forward to a weekend together to share our stories, write, create art, and talk practically about how we navigate the publishing industry.”

—Traci Sorell (Cherokee Nation)

This in-community retreat is for Native writers and illustrators with host Traci Sorell and special guests, author Monique Gray Smith and senior editor Karen Boss.  It is an informally structured retreat where the focus is on your own projects, plus a celebration of this diverse and talented community.

  • This is an in-person retreat for Native creatives who currently (or wish to) write and/or illustrate for kids and teens.
  • During the retreat, you will guide your time to work on your own stories and connect with fellow creatives.
  • Lodging and meals are included.
  • Begins at 5:30pm Eastern on Thursday, September 28, 2023
  • Ends at 1:00pm Eastern on Sunday, October 1, 2023
  • 24 participants max

Why This Retreat?

This is an in-person retreat for Native creatives who currently (or wish to) write and/or illustrate for kids and teens. The retreat is lightly structured with informal gatherings as they arise among fellow writers and illustrators.  The majority of the time is reserved for your own creative retreat.

You can bring multiple projects with you at all stages of their process so that you can decide what you’d like to work on while you are at the retreat. In addition, Traci Sorell will lead evening discussions about creative work for children, the publishing industry, and ways to support one another in our community.

Your retreat will be well appointed with space to create.  Every accommodation option includes a personal workspace. You’ll find various spaces around the grounds to get work done or take in the natural settings for some inspiration.

No formal workshops, lectures, presentations, or critiques will take place. If you are interested in a craft-focused program, please review other upcoming workshops.

It’s a Great Fit If…

  • You are an in-community creative at any experience level or stage in the creative process.
  • You’d like a retreat where you can get to work. You structure your retreat. You’ll have time to focus on your stories in the community of fellow creatives.
  • You’d like to build support and amplify the voices of our diverse and talented community.

Detailed Agenda

All Times are Eastern Standard Time.

Pre-Retreat
  • One week prior to the program, you will receive a link to our virtual classroom where you can introduce yourself to fellow creatives and engage in Highlights Foundation related resources (including our Community Standards).
Day 1: Thursday, September 28
  • 3pm – 5pm Eastern: Arrival and check in
  • 5:30pm – 7pm: Appetizers & Dinner
  • Following dinner: Welcome Activity and Informal Introductions with Traci Sorell
Day 2: Friday, September 29

Morning:

  • Breakfast
  • Writing/Illustration time

Afternoon

  • Lunch
  • Writing/Illustration time
  • Drop-in consultations with Karen Boss

Evening

  • Appetizers & Dinner
  • Discussion with Monique Gray Smith (fireside, weather permitting)
Day 3: Saturday, September 30

Morning:

  • Breakfast
  • Writing/Illustration time

Afternoon

  • Lunch
  • Writing/Illustration time
  • Optional Q & A

Evening

  • Appetizers & Dinner
  • Sharing Stories (fireside, weather permitting)
Day 4: Sunday, October 1, 2023

Morning

  • Breakfast
  • Writing/Illustration time

Afternoon

  • Lunch & farewells

Special Guests

DETAILS

September 28 - October 1

$799

Highlights Foundation Campus

362 Boyds Mills Road
Milanville, PA 18443

The Highlights Foundation strives for a safe and inclusive environment. You will have access to our Community Standards prior to the workshop where we ask for your respectful engagement with fellow creatives, including our faculty and staff.

Pay in full, or secure your spot with a deposit (unless otherwise noted).

LOCATION

All in-person Highlights Foundation workshops and retreats (including this one) are held at our Retreat Center: The Barn at Boyds Mills.  This site was the home of the original founders of Highlights for Children Garry and Caroline Myers, and is located in the Poconos Mountains of Pennsylvania on the traditional and contemporary lands of the Lenape Nation.

All-inclusive registration includes workshop tuition, lodging, meals, beverages, and snacks. Free car service is available from the local airport, train, and bus station, or you can park on site. You’ll receive more information about logistics after you register.

Visiting Our Campus

Our campus (The Barn at Boyds Mills) is tucked away in the foothills of the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.  It's a few hours from both New York City and Philadelphia, but worlds away from everyday life.

Line drawing of the Barn at Boyds Mills

Our Mission in Action

Scholarships
Equity & Inclusion in Kidlit
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The Highlights Foundation positively impacts children by amplifying the voices of storytellers who inform, educate, and inspire children to become their best selves.  Learn more about our impact.

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