In the middle of July, if you climbed to the second floor of the Education Building at the University of Montana and stuck your head into one of the classrooms, you would have seen 16 nine- and ten-year-olds scribbling away on paper. They may have been writing about things that are silent and things that are loud. They may have been writing an ode to chili. They may have been writing a poem about camping at Lake Alva in the Seeley-Swan.
What would have struck you is that all these students were choosing to spend their precious summer time here, writing, rather than at an outdoor adventure camp or gymnastics camp or soccer camp. If you talked to these students you would find that they were there because they love to write. Most of them had an MWC writer come to their school. When the school year ended they wanted to write more. Words with Wings Summer Camp gave these students an opportunity to pursue their passion with words and convey their thoughts, dreams and ideas on the page.
This year, 73 young writers attended our two one-week camps, the most we’ve ever had. After writing in three different age-based groups all morning in the classroom, the full day writers headed outside to find inspiration in the community. A few highlights included pasta-making at Caffe Dolce (see the Missoulian article about this), trying to repeat a sentence using none of the same words with Turning the Wheel Missoula, working on our handwriting under the instruction of a strict teacher in a one-room school house at the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula, dodging wiffle balls as a bull trout swimming upstream with Watershed Education Network, and being inspired to write ekphrastic poetry by austere Icelandic landscapes at the Museum of Art and Culture. Each camp culminated with the young writers reading their best work in front of parents, teachers, and peers. We want to thank all the writers, student volunteers, and non-profit/business organizations we partnered with for making our 2019 Words With Wings Summer Camp such a success!