Summer Camps

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 is now open for all Summer 2018 programming! This page belongs to the Summer Camps available this season! For Weekly Sites or Special Programs, please navigate down the Summer Activities tab!

Past Programs

Harry Potter house cup
Word Wizardry, A Harry Potter Camp
Instructor: Madeleine Roberts-Ganim
Ages: Grades 3-6
Dates: Monday-Friday, June 4-8, 2018
Time: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Place: Public Space One, downstairs in The Wesley Center, 120 N Dubuque St, Iowa City
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!

Aiden Bettine
The Art of Oral History (Teens)
Instructor: Aiden Bettine and John Jepsen
Ages: Grades 7-8
Dates: Monday-Friday, June 4-8, 2018
Time: 1:00 - 4:00 pm
Place: Old Brick (26 E Market St, Iowa City, IA 52245)
Cost: Free to all participants

Do you love asking questions? What about listening to stories? Join us for this camp on the art of oral history and you can do both! Together we will learn about how to prepare for an interview – what questions to ask,  how to ask them, and why. Once you have a series of questions developed and a person to interview– we’ll send you out with a recorder to conduct your own oral history interview! After the interview is done you will learn how to transcribe the interview and craft it into a story of your experience. Afterward you will decide whether it should be published or archived. What story will you uncover?

Nora Miller headshot
Outdoor Poetry (Elementary)
Instructor: Nora Miller
Ages: Grades 3-6
Dates: Monday-Friday, June 11-15, 2018
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!

Worlds Away participants
Worlds Away: Fantasy Writing (Teens)
Instructor: Zoe Polach
Ages: Teens
Dates: Monday-Friday, June 11-15, 2018
Time: 1:00 - 3:00 pm
Place: Meeting Room D in Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn Street, Iowa City
Cost: Free to all participants

If you love stories of fantasy, folklore, and mythology, come join a week of worldbuilding and creativity! We’ll make maps of new lands, write spells, discuss the finer points of magical creatures, dream up characters  emerging into wild and mysterious predicaments, and turn the everyday scenes of Iowa City into enchanting and unfamiliar settings. Register now and get ready for writing, drawing, and plenty of magic!ICPL logo

Micah Ariel James
A Play on Words: Crafting an Original Choreopoem (Teen)
Instructor: Micah Ariel James
Ages: Grades 8-12
Dates: Tuesday and Wednesday, June 12-13, 2018
Time: 1:00-4:00 pm
Place: The Dream Center, 611 Southgate Ave, Iowa City
Cost: Free to all participants

Are you a writer with an interest in exploring theatre and performance? In this two-day workshop, we'll explore new ways to tell our own stories through a fusion of poetry, music, and movement. Following in the tradition of Ntozake Shange’s “for colored girls...”, we’ll work together as an ensemble to chart the path of a choreopoem from inspiration and ideas to the page and from the page to the stage. RIPE logoDream Center logo

History Hunt students
HiSTORY Hunt! (Elementary)
Instructor: Madeleine Roberts-Ganim
Ages: Grades 5-6
Dates: Monday-Friday, June 18-22, 2018
Time: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Place: Public Space One, downstairs in The Wesley Center, 120 N Dubuque St, Iowa City
Cost: Free to all participants

Do you love history, historical fiction, or just plain storytelling? Then join us for an an exciting week of delving into Iowa’s history! We’ll learn about forgotten Iowans, write stories imagining life in the past, and take plenty of field trips. One day we’ll be opening “discovery trunks” at the Old Capitol Museum to get a rare peek at artifacts and treasures from the past. Another day we’ll head to the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History to get a first hand look at long-lost animals. Get ready for some serious time travel, fun, and of course, writing!

A God's Toolkit: World Building 101 (Teens)
Instructor: Lee Hartley
Ages: Teens
Dates: Monday-Friday, June 18-22, 2018
Time: 1:00 - 4:00 pm
Place: Public Space One, downstairs in The Wesley Center, 120 N Dubuque St, Iowa City
Cost: Free to all participants

Calling all fantasy enthusiasts, sci fi buffs, and those who simply want to play God! In World Building 101, you’ll get the chance to build your own world from scratch, delving into all the inner bones of what makes a world tick. We’ll explore politics, religion, magic, geography and more throughout the week as we write stories, draw maps and magical creatures, and go wherever else our imagination takes us.

Image + Word
The Imaged Word (Elementary)
Instructor: Mackie Garrett and Hani Elkadi
Ages: Grades 3-6
Dates: Monday-Friday, June 25-29, 2018
Time: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Place: Public Space One, downstairs in The Wesley Center, 120 N Dubuque St, Iowa City
Cost: Free to all participants

Do you enjoy making up stories with words and pictures? Ever tried making your own book and filling it with poems? What can you create by cutting up newspapers and magazines and gluing the letters and pictures together again? Come and work with local artists and writers as we explore poetry, easy book arts, verbal and visual collage, monoprinting, and other techniques for blending words and images together in unexpected ways. Iowa City Press Coop logo

The Imaged Word is a special partnership between the Iowa City Press Coop and the IYWP.

YA Writing for YAs (Teens)
Instructor: Eliana Ramage
Ages: Teens
Dates: Monday-Friday, June 25-29, 2018
Time: 1:00-4:00pm
Place: Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn Street, Iowa City. M, T, W, F: Meeting Room D; Th: Meeting Room E
Cost: Free to all participants

The writer Patrick Ness has described Young Adult fiction as finding boundaries and crossing them, as figuring out, when you end, “who you are and what shape you are." As young adults yourselves, what better time to explore writing about young adult lives and concerns, and who—at this point in your life—you are?

We’ll delve into YA writing, looking at what it is and how it works from diverse perspectives. We’ll explore teen lives in television and movies and discuss patterns such as coming-of-age, dystopia, romance, and identity. We’ll play improv games, and mine our own high school experiences in conversations and writing activities. We’ll eavesdrop in coffee shops and head outdoors to imagine action scenes at the end of the world. By the end of the week, you’ll leave with the first chapter and outline for your own YA novel.

This camp will meet at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn Street, Iowa City. M, T, W, F: Meeting Room D; Th: Meeting Room E ICPL logo

Poetry Comic
Poetry Comics! (Teens)
Instructor: Nora Miller
Ages: Grades 6-8
Dates: Monday-Friday, June 25-29, 2018
Time: 1:00-4:00 pm
Place: Iowa Mennonite School in Kalona, 1421 540th St SW, Kalona, IA
Cost: $25

Do you wish you could draw a poem using cartoon characters? What about writing a haiku using emojis? What kind of poem could you write in sharpie on a leaf or a frisbee? This week we will explore the strange and  wonderful world of poetry comics--poems that incorporate visual elements. In the process, we will think about what an image can do to text, and what text can do to an image. At the end of the week, each participant will make their very own poetry comic zine!

No experience is necessary in poetry or comic-making. Come ready to write, draw, and think outside the box.

Nora Claire Miller is an MFA candidate at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her poems have appeared in DMQ Review, DecomP, Sidekick Lit, H.O.W. Journal, and elsewhere. Nora is originally from New York City.

Jennifer New headshot
A Mission Not a Major! (Teens)
Instructor: Jennifer New and Dan Peterson
Ages: Grades 9-12
Dates: Monday and Tuesday, July 2 & 3, 2018
Time: 12:30-5:30 pm
Place: Public Space One, 120 N. Dubuque Street (downstairs in The Wesley Center)
Cost: Free to all participants

Create a life mission statement. We’ll write about what brings us alive as learners on this planet and create a personal statement that can help to guide us through decisions about what classes to take, where and how  we want to learn, what to do after high school, and how to organize a college experience. Once we have honed our statements, we’ll print them on posters, tshirts, and maybe even some public walls!

Author Jennifer New leads the written inquiry + local artist and teacher Dan Peterson leads the print making. This class is a combined effort of Iowa Youth Writing Project and PS1. RIPE logo

Harry Potter House Cup
Word Wizardry, A Harry Potter Camp (Elementary)
Instructor: Madeleine Roberts-Ganim
Ages: Grades 3-6
Dates: Monday-Friday, July 9-13, 2018
Time: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Place: Iowa City Public Library, Meeting Room D, 123 S. Linn Street, Iowa City
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!ICPL logo

Make Your Own Magazine (Elementary)
Instructor: Little Village Magazine Staff
Ages: Grades 4-6
Dates: Monday-Friday, July 9-13, 2018
Time: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Place: Little Village Offices, 623 South Dubuque Street, Iowa City
Cost: Free to all participants

Learn about the field of journalism from the staff of Little Village, the Iowa City & Cedar Rapids area's news & culture magazine. Campers will get to meet the LV staff, learn how to spot a great story, gather information, and put it all together in their own 'zine. Little Village logo

Volunteer with monster
Heroes and Monsters: Exploring World Mythologies through Writing (Elementary)
Instructor: Erin McInerney
Ages: Grades 3-5
Dates: Monday-Friday, July 9-13, 2018
Time: 1:00-4:00 pm
Place: Iowa Mennonite School in Kalona, 1421 540th St SW, Kalona, IA
Cost: $25

Do you love stories about strange monsters and brave heroes? About dangerous quests and magical treasure? Then join this fun week-long camp where we’ll read myths from all over the world, create our own heroes,  and discover legends in our own backyards. Campers will be introduced to traditional stories from every continent and learn a little bit about the different cultures they belong to. Activities will include following the classic “Hero’s Journey,” making our own monsters, heroes, and treasure, and then writing adventures that combine them all. This would be a great camp for anyone who loves Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson Series.

Erin McInerney is a senior English major at the University of Iowa. She has studied creative writing and literary analysis, as well as book design and the fundamentals of editing and publishing. She has been a volunteer  with the IYWP since the summer of 2017, is an IYWP administrative Intern for the 2017-2018 academic year, and has a lot of experience working with kids.

Elementary Programs

Participants with spero robot
Write for Robots!
Instructor: Laura Christenson with Iowa Tech Chicks
Ages: Grades 5-6
Dates: Monday-Friday, July 16-20, 2018
Time: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Place: Iowa City Public Library, Meeting Room D, 123 S. Linn Street, Iowa City
Cost: Free to all participants

Have you always wanted to write a play or a short sketch? Would you like to teach a robot how to be your actor? In this camp you'll create a short sketch or scene and work with others to make it come to life. Our  "actors" will be Sphero robots, which can move, light up, and even talk. You will learn how to program your actors to put on a show for you and your friends!ICPL logo   ITC logo

Eliana Ramage headshot
Sci-Fi Worlds
Instructor: Eliana Ramage
Ages: Grades 5-6
Dates: Monday-Friday, July 23-27, 2018
Time: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Place: Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn Street, Iowa City. Meeting Room D
Cost: Free to all participants

What is it you love about Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who? Is it space travel, time travel, aliens? The fate of entire planets played out on the screen or page? Sci-fi writing opens up portals to all of this and more, stretching the imagination to explore far beyond what we know.

We’ll spend the week working on our own sci-fi short stories, all while learning how it’s done from celebrated sci-fi books and television. We’ll draw our characters, build models of the high-tech they’ll rely on, play games, and plan our own worlds. Whether your story takes place in Iowa in 2032 or in another galaxy today, you’ll have a lot to think about: What is your world like? Who’s in it? What are its “rules” and values? We’ll push ahead at warp speed, spending our days jumping between famous sci-fi worlds, each other’s, and our own

Teen Programs

Write Down, Speak Out: Slam Poetry
Instructor: Caleb Rainey
Ages: Grades 8-12
Dates: Monday-Friday, July 16-20, 2018
Time: 1:00-4:00 pm
Place: Iowa City location TBD
Cost: Free to all participants

Have you ever written something down and felt the need to shout it from the mountaintop? Have you heard people perform spoken word and wondered how they do it? In this week long camp we will become slam poets by studying common inspiration tools, writing several slam poems, and performing our work for our peers. This is a camp designed for you to grow your thoughts, find your voice, and speak out for everyone to hear. You’ve got something to say and it’s your time to take the stage!

Final performance will be held on Friday, July 20, 3-4pm, and will be open to family and friends.RIPE logo

Image + Word
The Imaged Word
Instructor: Mackie Garrett and Hani Elkadi
Ages: Teens
Dates: Monday-Friday, July 16-20, 2018
Time: 1:00-4:00 pm
Place: Public Space One, 120 N. Dubuque Street (downstairs in The Wesley Center)
Cost: Free to all participants

Here’s one for visual artists who write short stories, poets who paint, or any teen who’s into combining words and visual elements. We’ll find inspiration for writing by looking at artwork and make visual art inspired by literature.  We will collaborate with local writers and artists to explore poetry, verbal and visual collage, monoprints, poetry broadsides, and whatever synthesis of images and words you find interesting.Iowa City Press Coop logo

The Imaged Word is a special partnership between the Iowa City Press Coop and the IYWP.

Rewriting the Classics
Instructor: Erin McInerney
Ages: Teens
Dates: Monday-Friday, July 16-20, 2018
Time: 1:00-4:00 pm
Place: Merge (near the jungle gym on the Ped Mal), 136 S Dubuque St, Iowa City
Cost: Free to all participants

Do you pine over Mr. Darcy? Do you love the sweeping moors of Wuthering Heights or the uncanny horror of Frankenstein's monster? While great, these books and many others pose problems due to the time and place in which they were written. Maybe you don't like the classics at all, and just wish that they could be more exciting. Whether you love them or hate them, this is a camp for those who desire to rewrite the classics! We'll be looking at a few of the English language's most enduring titles, at the context within which they were written, and how they could be shaped to fit the context of today. What if Elizabeth Bennet fell in love with a dark, brooding Miss Darcy? What if Wuthering Heights was a manor in modern Jamaica rather than 1800s England? Maybe Frankenstein could use some lasers. It's up to you!

The Art of the Comic Medium
Instructor: Joanne Bergland
Ages: Teens
Dates: Monday-Friday, July 23-27, 2018
Time: 1:00-3:00 pm
Place: Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn Street, Iowa City. M, T, W, F: Meeting Room D; Th: Meeting Room E
Cost: Free to all participants

Welcome to the wonderful world of comics! Want to write comic books or superheroes? How about graphic novels? Manga? Zines? Political cartoons? The comic medium has it all. Here, you'll learn all about the medium and how to write your very own stories within the medium. Artists are welcome, too!

We'll discuss and explore all the different elements of the medium, such as style, panel placement, speech bubbles and font, color/shading, ect, and how to combine and balance these elements, with you, the author or artist, using these elements in your own stories and creations.

This camp will meet at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn Street, Iowa City. M, T, W, F: Meeting Room D; Th: Meeting Room E ICPL logo

The City is Poetry, The City is Yours
Instructor: John Englebrecht
Ages: Teens
Dates: Monday-Friday, July 23-27, 2018
Time: 1:00-4:00 pm
Place: Public Space One, 120 N. Dubuque Street (downstairs in The Wesley Center)
Cost: Free to all participants

 Icky A of Justseeds
Credit for Stencil on Metal Disc: Icky A of Justseeds

In this workshop we will look at language as a physical and visual force. Through short urban explorations in the downtown area, we will collectively create a repository of graphics, fonts, and language and build poetry and visual art from this database. We will map and reflect on the language that guides us through space and see the city not only as a collection of buildings but the building blocks of creative play and personal meaning. Students will create both writing and art over the course of the week, and participate in collaboratively producing a small, public mural.

Break up with Writer’s Block: Unleashing Your Littérature Potentielle
Instructor: Skylar Moore
Ages: Grades 7-9
Dates: Monday-Friday, July 30-August 3, 2018
Time: 1:00-3:00 pm
Place: Merge (near the jungle gym on the Ped Mal), 136 S Dubuque St, Iowa City
Cost: Free to all participants

Break up with writer’s block for good using a tried-and-tested approach of language games, constructive constraints, and unusual writing prompts. Drawing from the techniques dreamed up by the Surrealists and the Oulipo movement, students will reconnect with their own creativity and draw on the wellspring of their peers via different forms of collaborative writing. Additionally, students will engage with and write about a selection of curated art, music, and objects with the hope of making the familiar strange—and the strange familiar. Later in the week, students will also engage in a “guerrilla writing” component where poems will be disseminated into the world through a variety of non-traditional mediums.

Aiden Bettine
Creating Your Own Digital Story: Storytelling for the Future of Education
Instructor: Aiden Bettine
Ages: Grades 8-12
Dates: Monday-Friday, July 30-August 3, 2018
Time: 1:00-4:00 pm
Place: Iowa City Public Library, 123 South Linn Street, Iowa City. Meet M, W, Th, F in Digital Media Lab on Second Floor. Meet Tues in Room E on Second Floor
Cost: Free to all participants

This workshop serves as an introduction to digital storytelling and will teach you how to edit audio and video to create your very own digital story. Throughout the workshop we will be writing, recording, and editing stories about education. As students in Iowa City schools, your voices are central to a new citywide project, Reimagine Iowa City Public Education (RIPE), that is re-thinking learning in school. Join us for a week of storytelling and project creation where we tell stories about learning that inspire reflection and change in our schools. The digital stories you create will be published and shared online to encourage other students to raise their voices!RIPE logo