HATTIESBURG – Good
writers are not just born that way. Master teachers, who are writers
themselves, carefully cultivate those who think they are a writer
or want to be a writer. To encourage young potentials, the South
Mississippi Writing Project (SMWP) at The University of Southern
Mississippi will offer three camps for students in all grades June
The Young Writers Camp offers would-be writers an
opportunity to write for their own enjoyment, free from the pressure
of grades and limiting assignments. Led by an experienced SMWP teacher
consultant, campers will be allowed to progress at their own pace
in a variety of individual and group activities.
“Our philosophy for this camp is that
students grow as writers when the teacher recognizes the level at
which the student is functioning and encourages them to grow to
the next level,” said Darcie Conrad, camp coordinator for
the SMWP. “Students learn to write by writing, and writing
Three sites have been chosen for camps: Session 1
for grades 5-9 on the Southern Miss campus in Hattiesburg, led by
Patrick Gray; Session 2 for grades 1-5 at Sacred Heart School in
Hattiesburg, led by Betsy Meador Henderson; and Session 3 for all
grades at Collins, led by Angela Eiler.
Gray, an experienced teacher, enjoys teaching eighth
grade language arts at Oak Grove Middle School in Hattiesburg—and
is quite popular among his students. He has been honored among his
peers as an outstanding leader, collecting awards from the VFW,
NAACP, and the Lamar County School District.
A newcomer to the Young Writers staff, Henderson
is not new to the writing project teaching standards. Another popular
teacher with her students at Oak Grove Lower Elementary School in
Hattiesburg, Henderson brings a “perfect combination of energy
and creativity” to the program, said Conrad.
Eiler is a returning instructor and serves as the
instructor/director of the program’s new Collins branch. She
has been a teacher at Collins Middle School for three years and
brings “her passion for writing and her ability to pass it
along to her students” to the camp, according to Conrad.
The camps run from 9 a.m. until noon, Monday through
Friday. Tuition is $150 per student and each session is limited
to 15 participants. A $50 deposit is due by May 27 to hold a space
in the desired session.
The SMWP, one of 175 national writing project sites,
is an affiliate of the National Writing Project and the Mississippi
For more information or to register, call Conrad
at (601) 266-5066 or visit the SMWP Web site at http://www.usm.edu/smwp/young_writers.htm.