< Return to Workshops

Summer Camp at the Barn: A Week of Creative Mentorship 2018 | July 8 – July 13, 2018

Keynotes, workshops and a creative mentor to provide one-on-one support.

The Highlights Foundation tackles summer camp a bit differently than with s’mores by the campfire and hiking in the woods (although those adventures are always on our schedule, too). To us, summer camp is the place to find the kind of encouragement for your writing that only a generous mentor can provide. Our camp offers someone to guide you through the long process of publication and a place to work one-on-one to fine-tune your words and master your pitches in a relaxed and supportive atmosphere.

This year’s summer camp will kick off each morning with an inspiring keynote, followed by one-on-one mentorship. You will have three mentor sessions throughout the week and your writing mentor will offer broad critiques of your writing as well as immediate feedback on work produced at camp. Your mentor will support your goals for the week, whether you want to flush out one piece for submission or identify the strongest concept for your work-in-progress.

Conferees will also find time to meet with other members of our faculty for guidance in the submission process, including query-writing basics and overviews of the current children’s book market. We know, however, that the most important piece of the publication puzzle is developing your writing muscle. That’s why we’ve dedicated plenty of time for you to work on your craft in the comfort of your private accommodations.

There will be 10 breakout sessions throughout the week led by an editor, agent, author, or illustrator. Each break out session is designed to help you grow as a writer through hands-on exercises. You pick the sessions that most appeal to you. Our faculty will cover topics such as:

  • Creating rich characters
  • Developing voice
  • Constructing believable settings
  • Word choice
  • Transforming stories from didactic to child-friendly
  • Structuring plot
  • Nonfiction
  • Poetry
  • And much more!

As an example, here are some of last year’s sessions:

  • Waking the Inner Voice: It’s Time, Patti Gauch
  • Dream, Dare, Do—Writing Takes Vision, Courage, and Energy, Each to the Fullest, Peter Jacobi
  • Creating Character, Meg Medina
  • Picture Book as an Act of Mischief: Bringing the Right Voice & the Right Play to a Picture Book, Patti Gauch
  • Propulsive Language: Making Stories MOVE, Lamar Giles
  • Creating a Sense of Place, Mitali Perkins
  • Picture Books, Shadra Strickland
  • Minor Characters and Transitional Scenes, Part I, Jan Cheripko
  • Writing is Re-writing: Maximizing Revision, Lamar Giles
  • Beginnings & Endings: Pathways to the Reader’s Mind & Heart, & Gaining
    Welcome Entrance, Peter Jacobi
  • Writing from the Sense (with a sense walk), Jillian Sullivan
  • Radial Plotting: Brawl with your plot from the inside out, Alison Green Myers
  • Dialogue Busters: Crafting Conversation in Fiction, Mitali Perkins
  • Literature, Lessons, and Life: How the Desire to Write One Good Sentence Pursued Me, Jan Cheripko
  • JUST FICTION:Writing Race, Culture, and Power in Children’s Books: Mitali Perkins
  • Have You Scene This: Scene Writing Exercises, Lamar Giles
  • The Power That Comes with Information, the More and the Richer, Peter Jacobi
  • What Does Your Character Desire? Jillian Sullivan
  • Submission Basics: How to Start and End Your Query Letter, Alison Green Myers
  • The Importance of the Page Turn, Lindsay Barrett George
  • What I Really Want to Write About: Finding Stories That Matter, Meg Medina

See the entire 2017 schedule

This experience is not to be missed for any writer who is looking to experience the generosity of creative mentorship that only the Highlights Foundation can give.

Summer Camp blog posts:
Looking Forward (and Backward) to Summer Camp
Summer Camp Reflections
Carnival, Summer Camp, and Carolyn Yoder: Or why you need to find a creative mentor
Summer Camp Scenes
A Happy Camper
Summer Camp by the Numbers

Faculty & Special Guests