Friday, July 20, 2018

Should We Have Summer Writing Camps For Kids?

My kids are summer camp veterans.  My oldest, Ben, is 13 and is enjoying a six-week STEM camp called Explo at Wellesley, in Boston.  My daughter, Olivia, is 10, and is at French Woods Festival, in upstate New York, a camp dedicated to theater, dance, and the performing arts. After visiting both of them recently, I wondered why there aren’t writing camps for kids.

Maybe there are but I haven’t heard of them.  But imagine if such a thing existed?

You may think of summer camp as time to play sports, swim in a lake, and dance by campfires in the woods. Some traditional camps offer just that.  Many others are specialized, such as tennis camp, boating camp, dance camp, or as in the case of my kids, a STEM or theater camp.  Many camps touch nature and nurture the curious child on his or her way to making friends and learning to live in a new community environment.

I didn’t go to camp as a kid.  My camp was the streets of Brooklyn, New York circa late 1970’s, early 1980’s, where I entertained myself by going to the beach, biking, watching every Mets game on TV and seeing a few in person, throwing a ball against a brick wall, playing stickball and paddleball, tossing water balloons out of my sixth-floor apartment, building my coin collection up, hitting the air-conditioned movies (sometimes seeing 2 or 3 in a day), going to Kings Plaza (a dumpy mall), and walking the animated streets of the city’s most populated borough.

So, imagine a camp for kids that balanced outdoor play time with swimming, sports, hiking, etc. and classroom time to write and explore the wonderful world of creativity.  Kids who gravitate towards writing can experience a deeper exploration of books and the various forms of writing, from poetry, essays, news articles, blog posts, and short stories to the many genres of fiction and non-fiction.

It wouldn’t merely be like school.  No grades.  Just fun.  Let these kids dream and nurture their writing souls.  I’d go to a camp that only demanded I write, read books, and play ball while making friends.

All kids need to get out of the house and away from their devices, TV, and what I call intellectual junk food.  No distractions, no parental interference – just unbridled pursuits of fantasy, curiosity, and passion for each camper.

Maybe, I should start a book marketing summer camp. That would be funny – but very useful.   I would start with adult attendees first.  I’d make it a three-week intensive boot camp.

I knew at an early age that writing was my thing.  By age 10 I wrote regularly in a diary and was doing a zillion extra-credit reports at school.  I was prolific – and I haven’t put the pen down since then.  I may have written well over 1,000 press kits for books and nearly 3,000 blog posts.

But would a writing summer camp be ideal for young minds?  I think so, provided the instructors afforded greater flexibility in what they ask of the children.  They don’t want to just imprint one style of writing or way of doing things onto kids.  No, what they want is to bring out the unique voices and ways of expressing themselves.

Writers can be lonely people, no matter how many friends they have.  The best writers are very emotional and sensitive to what others say, do, or think.  They will sacrifice doing things for writing about others.  They will dig deep to feel-even if it’s pain and not joy – if it can help them write.  So having a camp where like-minded kids can gather to support each other and see that they are not alone would be tremendous.

These kids would be great at writing letters home, too!

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America and participated in a PR panel at the Sarah Lawrence College Writers Institute conference.

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