Hundreds of children have some new UBC summer camp options thanks to the creative ideas of graduate students
The best advice for an aspiring writer?
“Just write. And write and write and write,” says Briana Brown, who’s working on her MFA in Creative Writing at UBC.
The second best piece of advice? “Find people who love your work, and who will support you when things get hard,” she says.
“I want to be that person,” she says, as she prepares to lead a summer camp at UBC for high school students called Writing for Performance.
Every year UBC’s Vancouver and Okanagan campuses organize a large range of summer camps for children that focus on sports, arts and music, adventure and academics. This year organizers on the Vancouver campus reached out to people within the university, including grad students and professors, to propose camp ideas. This is the first time they have asked for such proposals.
“We have such a wealth of great students here at UBC,” says Jocelyn Manion, manager of sports and international camps. “So we wanted to let them share their expertise with some new camps,”
UBC asked students for their summer camp ideas
Brown is excited to work with kids aged 13 to 18, but is quick to emphasize that she won’t be treating them as kids.
“Being treated as an adult, and as an artist, has a huge impact,” she says. “You have a voice that’s equally important.”
She’ll help teenage playwrights and screenwriters find that voice in a pair of one-week day camps. She’ll help them gain confidence in their own work, and she wants to get them excited about exploring different ways to tell stories.
Because she’ll have classes of 15 students or fewer, Brown can connect one-on-one with each camper. In addition, every writer will have the chance for their drafts to be workshopped by the entire group.
Over the course of a week of skill training and idea exploration, the class will write a play. The culmination of the camp will be a presentation of their collective work. “But I won’t force anyone on stage who isn’t comfortable there,” Brown is quick to add.
Camps are a way for teenagers to get to know UBC
“New camps such as Writing for Performance also fit with goals of expanding our programming for older age groups,” says Manion. “The camps can be a way for high school students to get to know UBC, to connect with a current student, and to discover a subject area that’s not offered at their high school.”
Two other camps joining the selection of UBC Camps this year stem from proposals by graduate students. Erin Rennie will lead a Public Speaking and Debate camp, drawing from her experience helping B.C.’s legislators prepare for speeches in debates, a skill she honed with the UBC Debate Society. Christian Brady will lead a hands-on Creative Writing camp.
UBC summer camps begin the week of June 24.