Discover your voice and make meaningful friendships! Our Teen Summer Workshops (for 11-14 year olds) provide students with an intensive, enriching writing experience that not only fosters open creative expression but also builds confidence and strengthens communication skills in a safe, supportive environment.
We would love for you to join us, whether you’ve been writing for years or just want to be part of a unique creative process.
We spoke with Christa Teter, who is teaching our “Your Voice Matters” summer workshop (July 29 – Aug 2, 1 to 4 p.m.; ages 11-14), to find out what drives her to teach this program.
Read more and register here.
PWN: You’ve taught this camp for a while now. Why is it still fresh/important/exciting?
CHRISTA: I’m a big believer in having students practice speaking their opinions in a respectful manner and finding accurate information to help support their opinions. Most kids find themselves ruminating over issues—whether they be political, environmental, or social—and I know they have opinions they want to share. I think it’s so important for kids to find their voice and express it in the written word. We talk about audience and trying to draw in the readers who might have an opposing view. How can we capture that reader and get them to hear you, your opinion, your experience? It’s beautiful when students take the week of camp to really think about what they want to say.
PWN: How is writing important in your everyday life?
CHRISTA: Writing is very important in my everyday life—whether it be an email to my great-aunt, a group text to my daughter’s teammates’ parents, an assignment for my students on a Google doc, an example of a skill we’re practicing in class, or a letter to my sons’ guidance counselor. Each piece of writing has to have clarity, purpose, and conciseness because I want my audience to understand what I am communicating to them. If my writing consists of typos, grammatical errors, and poorly constructed sentences, then my reader will be confused, or worse, they will develop a negative impression of me. My writing reflects my integrity. I want people to perceive me a certain way, so I try to communicate in a way that shows my writing style, voice, and professionalism. In my classroom, we use journal writing every day as a way to practice getting thoughts out of our head, to view them on paper, and to expand our ideas in order to exercise our writing muscles and get more confident.
PWN: What moment in the classroom gets you excited as an instructor?
CHRISTA: It always excites me when I learn from my students—their minds are so much more open than adults’. I find it extremely refreshing and it makes me hopeful. I enjoy being open to their perspectives and helping them be confident in their ideas. I can give them tools to find information, help them come up with questions to research, and help them organize their thoughts and writing, but their ideas belong to them. It’s what makes them unique.
PWN: Why do you write?
CHRISTA: I love to look at my writing as a work of art—adding in and blending words like colors, substituting vague words with more specific words, restructuring sentences to give it texture—all for the sake of communicating a message.
Read more and register here.