Summer Programs

Weekly summer visits to Cole’s Mobile Home Court provide reading enrichment, creative activities, and fresh snacks for elementar
Weekly summer visits to Cole’s Mobile Home Court provide reading enrichment, creative activities, and fresh snacks for elementary-aged residents.

Registration for summer 2019 camps is now open! Please check out our many offerings of fun, free writing camps.

Camps are created to empower, inspire, and educate young writers at different moments in their development. Please pay special attention to the grade requirements for each camp and register your child for grade-appropriate programs. Most elementary camps are geared toward children in grades 3-6, but some focus on children in grades 5-7. Teen camps generally welcome all writers who will be entering grades 7-12, though some focus on 8-12.

Note that writers who will be between grades 6 and 7 this summer are welcome to sign up for elementary and/or teen camps. Discuss the possibilities with your writer! Elementary camps combine writing and literacy games to keep active children engaged and learning. Teen camps focus primarily on writing and discussing complex ideas, where writers stay seated for longer periods of time. 

Elementary Programs

Dragon
Dragon Camp
Instructor: Sarah Raine
Ages: Grades 3-6
Dates: Monday-Friday, June 3-7, 2019
Time: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Place: The Wesley Center (2nd floor Coffeehouse), 120 N. Dubuque Street
Cost: Free to all participants

If you love reading, writing and telling stories about dragons, this camp is for you!  In this camp, you will create your own dragon characters to tell the story of their world, their hatching, their homes, their treasures, their power and their destiny.  Then travel with fellow dragon lovers to a fantasy world where we will roleplay as dragons and dragon riders on a collaborative adventure to fulfill a mysterious prophecy that will change the world…

Sci-Fi Worlds 2018 at Van Allen Observatory
Out of this World!
Instructor: Ewa Lakoma
Ages: Grades 3-6
Dates: Monday-Friday, June 10-14, 2019
Time: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Place: Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St. Mon-Wed Room D, Thurs Room E, Fri Digital Media Lab.
Cost: Free to all participants

Have you ever wondered what lies outside our universe, is anyone else out there?  Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have the ability to fly or travel through time? Come join us for an exciting week of diving into all of these unknown worlds. Through the art of imagination, we will fly through space, unleash our inner heroes, and explore the unknown.

Amy Childress
Book Arts: Printing and Papermaking
Instructor: Amy Childress
Ages: Grades 3-6
Dates: Monday-Friday, June 10-14, 2019
Time: 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Place: Public Space One, 120 N. Dubuque St. (downstairs in The Wesley Center)
Cost: Free to all participants

Ever wanted to learn how to make your own paper? Come spend a week making paper and creating different works of art through printmaking. We will explore letterpress printing, pulp painting, paste paper, gelatin printing, making our own stamps, and Suminigashi (the ancient art of Japanese water marbling). Along the way, we’ll do some writing that we can print on our newly made paper. At the end of the week we will transform into gallery curators and have our very own art show at PS1!

2018 Word Wizards
Word Wizardry, A Harry Potter Camp
Instructor: Ellie Brown and Madeleine Roberts-Ganim
Ages: Grades 3-6
Dates: Monday-Friday, June 17-21, 2019
Time: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Place: Public Space One, 120 N. Dubuque St. (downstairs in The Wesley Center)
Cost: Free to all participants

Do you love Harry Potter or wish you could be a wizard? Then sign up for our magic-filled summer camp, Word Wizardry! We’ll make our own wands, write spells, create potion recipes, and even have a Horcrux scavenger hunt. Find out if you belong in Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin through our Sorting Ceremony, and then work hard to earn the House Cup for your house! Prepare your witch hats and brooms because we are going to turn words into magic!

Note that this HP camp will be exactly the same as our HP camps offered in Kalona, July 8-12, and in Iowa City, July 15-19. Families are asked to please register their children for only one HP camp to allow other children a chance to participate.

Nora Miller
Outdoor Poetry
Instructor: Nora Miller
Ages: Grades 3-6
Dates: Monday-Friday, June 24-28, 2019
Time: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Place: Hickory Hill Park, South Entrance, 1439 Bloomington St, Iowa City
Cost: Free to all participants

It’s summer! Let’s go outside and… write poetry?!! That’s right--this week, we will go on a writing expedition to the natural world! Activities will include: rhyming freeze tag, writing an ode to a frog, writing poems on  leaves, the metaphor olympics, and cloudbursting.

No poetry writing experience necessary. Come ready to play outside and write some cool poems!

Leigh Nida
Writing to Change the World
Instructor: Leigh Nida
Ages: Grades 3-6
Dates: Monday-Friday, July 8-12, 2019
Time: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Place: Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St. Mon-Thurs, Room D; Fri, Room B & C
Cost: Free to all participants

Learn how to use writing to impact your community in a variety of ways: writing letters to the editor, letters to elected officials, and thank you cards to people who are doing great work.  In addition to helping our community through writing, we will use creativity and hand-power to create items that service organizations need.  In the past, the Iowa City Animal Care and Adoption Center has needed cat toys and Free Lunch Iowa City has needed snack mix.  After registering, each student will be asked to rank which issues they most want to address and the activities will reflect the consensus.

2018 participants
Word Wizardry, a Harry Potter Camp
Instructor: Ellie Brown and Madeleine Roberts-Ganim
Ages: Grades 3-6
Dates: Monday-Friday, July 8-12, 2019
Time: 1:00 - 4:00 pm
Place: Iowa Mennonite School, 1421 540th St SW, Kalona
Cost: $25

Do you love Harry Potter or wish you could attend Hogwarts? Then sign up for our fun-filled summer camp, Word Wizardry! We’ll make our own play wands, write fictional spells, create potion recipes, hold Quidditch matches, and even have a Horcrux scavenger hunt. Find out if you belong in Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin through our Sorting Ceremony, and then work hard to earn the House Cup for your house! Prepare your Hogwarts' cloak and broom because we are going to turn words into something magical!

Note that this HP camp will be exactly the same as our HP camps offered in Iowa City on June 17- 21 and July 15-19. Families are asked to please register their children for only one HP camp to allow other children a chance to participate.

2018 Word Wizards
Word Wizardry, A Harry Potter Camp
Instructor: Ellie Brown and Madeleine Roberts-Ganim
Ages: Grades 3-6
Dates: Monday-Friday, July 15-19, 2019
Time: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Place: Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St. M-Th, Room D; Fr, Digital Media Lab (second floor)
Cost: Free to all participants

Do you love Harry Potter or wish you could be a wizard? Then sign up for our magic-filled summer camp, Word Wizardry! We’ll make our own wands, write spells, create potion recipes, and even have a Horcrux scavenger hunt. Find out if you belong in Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin through our Sorting Ceremony, and then work hard to earn the House Cup for your house! Prepare your witch hats and brooms because we are going to turn words into magic!

Note that this HP camp will be the same as HP camps offered in Iowa City, June 17-21, and in Kalona, July 8-12. Families are asked to please register their children for only one HP camp to allow other children a chance to participate. 

Amy Childress
IYWP Lit Mag
Instructor: Amy Childress
Ages: Writers entering 5th, 6th, and 7th grades in Fall 2019
Dates: Monday-Friday, July 15-19, 2019
Time: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Place: The Wesley Center (Upstairs Coffeehouse), 120 N. Dubuque Street.
Cost: Free to all participants

Ever wanted to create your own literary magazine or chapbook? Spend a week writing and creating content for your own literary magazine. During this weeklong workshop we will create a handbound literary magazine filled with our own writing written during the workshop. We will also explore basic graphic design skills. At the end of the workshop we will learn how to make a pamphlet stitch book and bind our magazines to take home and to give to friends and family.

Shari DeGraw
Writing and Book Arts
Instructor: Shari DeGraw
Ages: Grades 3-6
Dates: Monday-Friday, July 22-26, 2019
Time: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Place: Public Space One, 120 N. Dubuque St. (downstairs in The Wesley Center)
Cost: Free to all participants

Books can be amazing things, but did you ever notice most books in libraries and stores come in only a few sizes? Making books by hand is a way to bring a visual and tactile art form to your writing. We will work with a variety of papers, explore accordion-fold book structures, and respond to writing prompts to make our books take on a life of their own. Participants will be able to include their own illustrations!

Teen Programs

With white hair and pale skin, Isabel is featured in a polka dotted dress.
Finding Your Voice: The Art of the College Application Essay
Instructor: Isabel Henderson
Ages: Students entering grades 10-12
Dates: July 29-August 2
Time: 1:00-4:00 pm
Place: Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St. Meeting Room D
Cost: Free to all participants

As a high-school junior or senior, you will get your test scores, transcripts, and letters of recommendation in order—but what about that last dreaded item, the college essay? How can you convey your goals, personality, and sense of self in just a few hundred words? This workshop will discuss the purpose, objective, and execution of the successful college-application essay, demystifying the process and allowing you to put your best self onto the page. We will brainstorm topics, discuss structure, look at examples of extraordinary essays, and give feedback on ideas and drafts. The college essay is an opportunity for you to speak about yourself and make an impression that goes beyond your grades and scores—this camp will offer guidance and ease your anxiety about the process.

Isabel Henderson is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she received Truman Capote and Rydson fellowships. She earned her BA at Princeton University. She has worked for The Atlantic, Granta, and The American Reader; her work has appeared in The Atlantic, and is upcoming in Prairie Schooner. 

rainbow colored flyer includes smiling pics of Sara McGuirk and Adrian Sandersfeld
Writing Queerness: A Creative Workshop for LGBTQ Teens
Instructor: Sara McGuirk and Adrian Sandersfeld
Ages: Queer-identified students in high school or junior high
Dates: July 22-26
Time: 3:30-5:30 pm
Place: Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St. Meeting Room D
Cost: Free to participants

Join us to celebrate LGBTQ history and write your own unique story. This creative workshop for queer-identified students in high school or junior high focuses on self-expression, pride, and acceptance with the help of fun and engaging writing and art prompts. Led by queer-identified instructors Sara McGuirk (she/hers) and Adrian Sandersfeld (they/them), Writing Queerness is a queer-positive summer workshop. Register now to join us for a week of creativity and positivity!

Students sit around a table and create their image and word journals.
Image + Word 2019
Instructor: Jenny Colville
Ages: Teens
Dates: Monday-Friday, June 3-7, 2019
Time: 1:00 - 4:00 pm
Place: The Wesley Center (2nd floor Coffeehouse), 120 N. Dubuque Street
Cost: Free to all participants

Teens! Are you a writer who is seduced by images? A visual artist who can’t get enough of words? Come create a photo-booth-narrative, carve a poem, dabble in the world of Zines, compose inside a shadow box, and collaborate with local visual artists and writers. Each participant will have the opportunity to publish a piece on PromptPress! Register now and feel the love.

Choose Your Path: Interactive Adventures in Fiction
Instructor: Sarah Raine
Ages: Teens
Dates: Monday-Friday, June 10-14, 2019
Time: 1:00 - 4:00 pm
Place: Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St. Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri Room D. Thurs Room E (second floor)
Cost: Free to all participants

On a class field trip to The Museum of Unnatural Things, your friend convinces you to sneak away from the group tour.  As you wander down dark and empty corridors, you pass by a door that seems to hum with mysterious energy. You turn to watch as glowing letters appear upon the door:  

"Turn the knob and face your greatest fears," the glowing sign reads, "or live as a coward the rest of your days."

"Creepy," you say with a shudder.  "We should get back to the group before anyone notices we're gone."

"But we can't," your friend objects.  "Don't you see? If we don't open the door now, we'll be cursed never to do anything brave or daring again!"

What do you do?

This camp is your chance to create adventures that let your readers choose their own fate.  Will they find a happy ending or meet a terrible demise? We'll explore the basics of choose-your-own-adventure storytelling and learn how to use free online tools to help organize and visually map multi-thread narratives.  Participants will create their own interactive adventure stories and turn them into digital, playable products.

Katie, wearing bangs, round glasses, and a black turtleneck, is holding a white and gray cat.
Totally Radical, Dude! Zines, Comics and Independent Media
Instructor: Katie Heffner
Ages: Teens
Dates: Monday-Friday, June 17-21, 2019
Time: 1:00 - 4:00 pm
Place: Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St. Mon Room E, Tues Digital Media Lab, Wed-Fri Room E.
Cost: Free to all participants

Do you love sharpies and the smell of freshly printed work hot off the Xerox machine? Are you inking up comic cells in your journal and wondering how to publish your work in an accessible format? Join us for this fun and inspiring workshop on how to make zines, comics and other forms of independent media! During this workshop, we will look at independently published zines and comics, and then write and draw our own! We will learn how to use radical styles of publishing to create and copy our own totally unique works.  

Becca smiles into the camera. She's wearing large pink glasses and a black and white striped shirt.
IRL and Other Lives: A Poetry Workshop
Instructor: Becca Klaver
Ages: Teens
Dates: Monday-Friday, June 24-28, 2019
Time: 1:00 - 3:30 pm
Place: Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St. Meeting Room E.
Cost: Free to all participants

Poetry has always been a way to express our most intimate thoughts and feelings, those that seem to require a special kind of language to be captured accurately. But what happens to poetry when new technologies change how we communicate and how we experience (dis)connection? In this camp, we’ll investigate our IRL and online experiences by reading and writing poems that depict life in the “real” and virtual worlds. We’ll write in textspeak, translate emojis, compile found-text poems from online sources, and create short poetry videos using the tech tools at hand, including social media apps. We’ll also explore the emotions and attitudes that have been amplified by living online, from narcissism to FOMO, and wonder about the line between producing content and creating art.

Katie, wearing bangs, round glasses, and a black turtleneck, sits and holds a white and gray cat.
Totally Radical, Dude! Zines, Comics and Independent Media
Instructor: Katie Heffner
Ages: Grades 6-8
Dates: Monday-Friday, June 24-28, 2019
Time: 1:00 - 4:00 pm
Place: Iowa Mennonite School, 1421 540th St SW, Kalona
Cost: $25

\\ THIS CAMP HAS BEEN CANCELLED. STAY TUNED FOR WORD ABOUT WHEN IT WILL BE RESCHEDULED IN JULY! //

Do you love sharpies and the smell of freshly printed work hot off the Xerox machine? Are you inking up comic cells in your journal and wondering how to publish your work in an accessible format? Join us for this fun and inspiring workshop on how to make zines, comics and other forms of independent media! During this workshop, we will look at independently published zines and comics, and then write and drawing our own! We will learn how to use radical styles of publishing to create and copy our own totally unique works.  

A woman is photographed, in black and white, from behind over her left shoulder. She's holding up a mirror with her left hand.
I am ______: Portraits of Our True Selves
Instructor: Torie Burns
Ages: Female-identified teens in grades 8-12
Dates: Monday-Friday, July 15-19, 2019
Time: 1:00 - 4:00 pm
Place: Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St. M-Fr, Room E
Cost: Free to all participants

Are you a young woman who wonders why the world around us focuses so much on our bodies? In this summer camp, we’ll say goodbye to this cultural obsession and reimagine our relationships with our identities. We’ll learn about photography, the media, and ourselves, and we’ll end the summer camp with the creation of "disembodied self-portraits” and a written reflection to explain your image! What on earth does that mean? It means that YOU will create photographs that reveal who YOU are without actually including your physical body.

Later in the summer, you (and your families and friends) will be invited to attend a reception to share the anonymous photographs and reflections! By the end of this camp, you’ll get to see yourself as a bona fide artist.

Dressed in black, Emily stands in front of a brick wall.
Break the Mold: Unconventional Forms of Writing
Instructor: Emily Hott
Ages: Teens
Dates: Monday-Friday, July 22-26, 2019
Time: 1:00 - 3:30 pm
Place: Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St. M-Fr, Room E
Cost: Free to all participants

Here’s one for those itching for something new, something beyond just poetry and prose. Let’s scratch that itch as we explore unconventional forms of writing. Vignettes, poetry prose, stream of consciousness, short fiction and many more writing forms will all be at your disposal after this camp. Get ready to impress all your writing friends when they find out what you learned. This camp will have you saying “Wait!? I didn’t learn that in high school."