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Posts tagged ‘BC Youth Write Camp’

2012 BC Youth Writers Camp

July 2-7 2012

Another very successful BC Youth Writers Camp was help July 2 to 7, 2012, at the Penticton campus of Okanagan College.  Sixty-eight youth between the ages of 9 and 18, both former campers, and new ones as well, attended the camp, learning to hone their writing skills, and learning about editing, illustrating, publishing, and more.

This year’s keynote speaker was 23 year old poet Amanda Lewis of Penticton, who, despite physical disabilities, is an active and enthusiastic poet and speaker.  The students were so impressed by Amanda’s presentation and her passion for writing.  They have taken home with them Amanda’s personal credo: “The impossible just takes a little longer,” and personally autographed copies of her book “One,” which were provided courtesy of Raise a Reader.

Each morning, the students attended lectures related to writing.  Presenter Karen Autio of Kelowna ( is an author of historical novels for young readers.  Karen shared with the students how to research and unlock history.

Presenter C.A. Lang, also of Kelowna, has written everything from historical fiction to experimental novels.  Lang presented a workshop on science fiction and fantasy worldbuilding, covering logic, social structure, religion, technology and magic.

Presenter Lorna Schultz Nicholson ( is a full-time writer who divides her time between Calgary and Penticton.  She has published over 20 childrens, youth, and sports books. Lorna presented a workshop, “Page Turning Fiction!” in which she shared how to use breathtaking description, page turning plots, setting, gripping conflict, and real life dialogue to make a good story great.

Presenter Endrene Shepherd (, of Penticton, has been writing, painting and drawing her entire life.  She has completed one book so far.  Endrene’s workshop, “Ready, Set, Illustrate!” gave participants a chance to view some famous illustrations from well-known children’s literature, and learn the “whys” and “hows” of selecting scenes from their stories for illustration.  She also led the students in doing illustrations for their own works.

Presenter Mary Ann Thompson is a freelance editor. Mary Ann’s workshop had the students get out the blue pencils and play with story.  Through games and editing exercises, they learned to transform boring beginnings, shake out muddled middles, and create thrilling endings.  Mary Ann also talked about what an editor does and the steps that go into publishing a book.

In the afternoons, students were involved in a variety of activities.  These included a book signing event for the “Gems of British Columbia,” in which each young author signed their own works in each published copy of the anthology; a “cowboy poetry” event led by PWAP poets Alan Longworth and Herb Moore, in which each student completed a “cowboy poem” of their own; an open mic young writers showcase talent event (plays, music, readings, and more), emceed by past camper Taylor Attril; a calligraphy event taught by calligrapher Dave Cursons; and a book store event at which the students had the opportunity to purchase books written by the camp presenters.

As always, the camp students sent in samples of their story writing and poetry with their registrations, and their work was published in the annual “Gems of British Columbia” anthology.  It is a great encouragement to these young writers to see their written works in print.

Many thanks to camp coordinator Yasmin John-Thorpe, and her volunteer helpers – PWAP members who critiqued the anthology entries, community members who prepared and served snacks and lunches for the campers, registration day helpers, the Rotary Club who provided the end-of-camp barbeque, and more.  Special thanks also to the generous sponsors, without whose support this camp could not take place.

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Penticton Raise a Reader

Penticton’s Raise-A-Reader campaign is very special.  Why?

Because Penticton Raise-A-Reader leader, Yasmin John-Thorpe, and those who work alongside her – the Penticton Herald, members of Penticton Writers and Publishers Group (PWAP), and the many fundraiser volunteers from the Penticton Fire Department and others – make sure that the funds that are raised truly go to “raising readers.”

In many communities, the funds raised on “Raise-a-Reader Day” in September, are donated to “literacy” groups, who are then free to use the funds for whatever aspects of “literacy” they choose, including such items as paying staff or running programs, many of which are adult-oriented.

But in Penticton, the funds are used to literally “raise readers” – encouraging children and young people, our future adults and leaders, the future of our nation, to become enthusiastic readers – and writers.  Penticton Raise-A-Reader uses the funds to invite children’s and youth authors into schools in the local area.  The authors do amazing and entertaining presentations, not only reading from their books, but telling the students about the author’s trade and about how to publish.  They also answer student questions, and at the end of the presentation, they personally sign, and present each student with, one of their books.  The books are paid for out of Raise-a-Reader funds.  Many of the author’s charge only their personal “cost” for the books (not looking for a profit), and give freely of their time, because they, too, of course believe in raising readers!

It is an awesome thing to watch young faces light up with the joy of receiving their very own book, signed by the author, whom they have personally met.  Many children, particularly in the current economic conditions, do not otherwise have the opportunity to receive a brand new book of their very own, so this is a very special opportunity for them.  Furthermore, actually meeting the author of the book inspires them with the realization that they, too, can become writers.  One of this year’s presenters was a young lady from Kelowna, who is only 11 years old.  She had her first book published in 2009, and is in the process of having her second book published.  The children who watched her presentation were in awe, and many of them are now far more enthusiastic writers and readers!  Even the majority of the adult writers started writing when they were young children, and in fact, in their presentations, many of them showed samples of their first “books,” done on loose-leaf paper, self-illustrated, and “bound” with paper-clips or masking tape!

Penticton Raise-A-Reader also supports young readers in our community in other ways.  For example, at the PeachFest parade this past summer, young writers who attended the Youth Write BC Camp at Okanagan College in Penticton the first week of July (also supported by Raise-A-Reader), went in the PeachFest Parade and handed out books – instead of the usual candy – to children watching the parade.  (The books were donated by the Rotary Club).

Enjoy these snapshots of some of the Raise-A-Reader author’s presentations in Penticton and area schools during the past month.  And be sure to take a close look at the faces of the children – who are truly, through these events, being raised to be readers! and writers, too!

BC Youth Write Camp

3 July 2011

Every year, during the first week of July, Penticton and area families billet youth ages 8 to 18 from all over British Columbia and the Yukon for a week-long “Youth Write Camp.”  The camp is sponsored by the Penticton Writers and Publishers group.  The camp is held at the Penticton campus of Okanagan College, and this year the youth really enjoyed the brand new facilities at the Center of Excellence, an innovative, sustainable facility.  The camp, directed by organizer Yasmin John-Thorpe, features daily workshops by a number of well-known writers and publishers who share their craft with the students.  Sunday afternoon, July 3, was registration, followed by an excellent presentation by keynote speaker, Jack Whyte, one of Canada’s best-selling authors.  All of the students who attend the camp have one of their stories or poems published in an annual anthology, Gems of British Columbia.  They also receive a copy of a novel written by the keynote speaker.

2011 camp workshop presenters included:  Endrene Ann Shepherd (teaching on illustration), Rick Cogbill (teaching on using humour in writing), Lorna Schultz Nicholson (workshop on writing true stories), Jeremy Beaulne (workshop on the poetry toolbox), and Barbara Manning Grimm (teaching about writing as a career).  Afternoon guest lecturers included:  Janice Perrino (Summerland mayor, on public speaking), Alison Markin (on social networking), and Sandy Wilson (on writing and directing movie scripts).

Here are a few snapshots from the Sunday registration and keynote address: