Hi! My name is Hayden Reeve! You might recognize my last name as I am the daughter of one of the Mamas! I am going to tell you about my experience at YouthWrite®. For a little introduction, it is a non-profit organization with camps for children who love to write. There is also a separate camp for adults who also enjoy writing! Today though, we are going to be discussing the camp for, well, youth!
Something that I think is quite important and an absolutely excellent characteristic about YouthWrite is the fact that they have a figuratively speaking, bubble type of deal around them.
At the camp, there is absolutely no place for hate. Not of any kind. One of the first things they tell you is that no racism, homophobia, sexism, etc etc will be ignored and it could result in you being kicked from the camp.
I believe that this is something we all can agree on, making the camp a safe place for anyone. At the camp, I also noticed a lot of things they did to create a safe place for those of any gender, race, etc etc. Overall, they work very hard to make sure (and I cannot say it enough) it’s a safe space for everyone.
The supers and the instructors were absolutely a blast! Everyone was kind to everyone. They were ANYTHING but dull. They prided themselves upon making everyone laugh and enjoy the classes they taught.
This brings me to the classes! Each class was different in its own unique way. We were each separated into 3 groups. There are 8 classes that get taught through the entirety of the week, and each group gets 4 of those that they do, throughout the week! I was sorted into group C, in which I got; A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words (Comic book creation class!), High Five for the First Five (writing class focused on drawing in your reader with the first 5 pages!), Eye Say (The improv class!!), and Music as a Second Language (The Music class, the one and only!) Each of these was unique and fun in its own ways and gave everyone an opportunity to show off their work and skills!
At first, I was quite nervous – Oh honestly who am I kidding? I was excited! I remember telling myself “I’M GOING TO MEET MY PEOPLE!” and honestly, I did! Everyone there was so excited to show off their work. They were supportive of EVERYTHING! Age difference didn’t matter to most either. As an 11-year-old, having the ability to make friends with 14-year-old’s, I can calmly say that everyone had very common interests in books and writing things, AND everyone was very unique and wonderful!
I’m going to finish this off with a paragraph of the novel I am working on and worked on at the camp! The character Daren is a bit of a bully, so you’ll forgive me if I was extra explanatory with him. 😉
“C’mon Senbi! What are you chicken?” yelled Daren, after which Senbi silently sighed.
He glanced back at his small village-like household and waved goodbye.
Senbi quickly grimaced Daren’s way, quickly though, sure not to make him angry. Senbi jogged, swiftly but smoothly, just as before, sure not to make him angry, and said “You have to go in next. Unless you’re a chicken.”
Daren’s expression changed to fear and anger rather than mock and grin. Daren clasped his hands as he always does when he’s nervous. His chocolate brown hair glimmered in the sunlight, but other than that, his baggy muscle shirt and short pants outlined the skinny skunk he was. His loyal followers stayed behind and silently snickered.
But Daren caught one being too loud, and yelled: “Who do you kids think you’re laughing at?” Senbi snickered behind him and said “Well of course they are laughing at your lack of a come-back.”.
Senbi knew this would only make him much angrier, but he had to be brave, it was one of his goals.
Shout out to everyone at River-Valley 2021 for being so supportive and great to literally everyone!!