What is Creative Writing Summer Camp?

Each summer, Badgerdog hosts writing workshops for rising 3rd- through 12th-graders. These fun and challenging writing workshops run for two weeks, allowing students to work closely with a professional writer as they explore the arts of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and playwriting. All campers experience the joy of performing and publishing their original work.

**Our early bird registration discount has been extended through March 31! The discount is applied automatically during checkout. We also offer full and partial financial aid, and sibling discounts. Email csailer@austinlibrary.org for more information. **

Also check out our Spring Break Writing Workshops and Summer Book Crush!

2018 Summer Camp Dates & Locations

June 4-15 | 9am to noon
The Meridian School (Round Rock)
First Baptist Church Oak Hill (Southwest)

June 18-29 | 9am to noon
Austin International School (Northwest)
Headwaters School (Downtown)
The Griffin School (Hyde Park)
Trinity Episcopal School (Westlake)

July 9-20 | 9am to noon
Austin International School (Northwest)
The Girls' School of Austin (Central/West)
The Griffin School (Hyde Park)
Magellan International School (Anderson Ln.)
*no high school enrollment at Magellan*

July 23-August 4 | 9am to noon
The Girls' School of Austin (Central/West)
First Baptist Church Oak Hill (Southwest Austin)
Headwaters School (Downtown)

Registration is $385 through March 31, and $400 beginning April 1.
Financial aid is available. Email csailer@austinlibrary.org for more information.

Our registration system can be a bit confusing when it comes to age groups, so please follow these guidelines as you begin the registration process. Each class listing contains a code: LES, UES, MS, and HS. These stand for Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary, Middle School, and High School. Please choose the correct workshop for your child according to this age grouping:

  • Lower Elementary is for rising 3rd and 4th graders, students going into 3rd and 4th grades in Fall 2018.
  • Upper Elementary is for rising 5th and 6th graders, students going into 5th and 6th grades in Fall 2018.
  • Middle School is for rising 7th and 8th graders, students going into 7th and 8th grades in Fall 2018.
  • High School is for rising 9th through 12th graders, students going into 9th through 12th grades in Fall 2018.

Lessons are designed to be creative, surprising, and engaging. From 9 a.m. to noon each morning, campers learn through discovery, practice, mentorship, and collaboration. Each day, campers encounter the work of classic and contemporary writers, and they study the techniques these writers use to craft artful poetry and prose. Campers author numerous creative pieces in various genres, sharing their work along the way with their workshop colleagues. These summer workshops emphasize all aspects of the writing process, from idea generation to revision to publication.

Of course! Both eager and reluctant writers find Badgerdog’s workshops engaging and empowering. Our creative approach to the craft of writing allows hesitant writers to practice an essential skill in a no-fail, supportive environment—while also having fun! For more advanced writers, Badgerdog’s teaching artists provide challenges and offer personalized feedback.

In and of itself, writing is a worthy pursuit, but at Badgerdog, we allow writers to take their work from the insides of a spiral notebook out into the world. That’s why each camp session culminates with a reading on-site, where students perform an original poem or story before an audience of fellow writers, parents, family, and friends.

At the end of the summer, all students will have their work published in one of two professionally produced anthologies—Rise, for elementary-aged writers, and Emerge, for middle- and high-school writers. In September, Badgerdog hosts an end-of-summer reading, where selected campers from each camp location perform their work at the annual Austin Teen Book Festival. All summer camp writers are invited to attend, and the reading coincides with an anthology-release party and book-signing event that includes all campers.

The $400 registration fee includes a writing journal for each student, a Badgerdog T-shirt, one copy of Rise or Emerge, and a writing field trip or a visit from an author or a teaching artist in another discipline.

Refund Policy: Full refunds, minus a $50 processing fee, will be granted for requests made more than 30 days prior to the start of the summer session. A partial refund of $200 per registration will be granted for requests made between 7 to 30 days prior to the start of the summer session. Refunds are not granted for requests made within 7 days of the start of the summer session.

Early Bird Discount: A discount of $15 will be applied to each two-week summer camp registration before March 1.

Sibling & Friend Discounts: Parents registering more than one camper will receive a $15 discount per registration. This discount can not be used with other discounts and will be available after the early bird discount expires on March 1.

Scholarships: 
A limited number of full and partial scholarships are available. For more information about summer camp scholarships, email Programs Manager Cecily Sailer at csailer@austinlibrary.org.

  • 66% of campers say they like writing more as a result of Badgerdog.
  • 71% of campers say they are better writers as a result of Badgerdog.
  • When asked how campers felt when writing, 94% used a positive phrase, such as "energized," "alive like a bird," "like I have a workable outlet for all of my ideas," or "like a balloon of happiness has just gotten blown up inside me.

What do campers like most about Badgerdog?

  • small, supportive classes
  • expressing themselves without being judged
  • hearing other classmates share their work
  • different types of writing exercises to "get us out of our comfort zone"
  • meeting new friends and fellow authors
  • the creative ways "we learned to write"

Here's what we heard from parents:

  • 92% of parents say Badgerdog has a positive impact on their children's writing skills.
  • 94% say Badgerdog has a positive effect on their children's attitudes toward writing.

We asked parents to identify the most significant positive effect of summer camp:

  • "Attending Badgerdog  was the best activity C. participated in this summer. I was so impressed with the high quality of his instructor. The class was well-organized, with engaging, creative activities each day. And she created a safe space for C. to do something he finds pretty terrifying -- explore his own talent. It's a mark of how safe he felt that he actually participated in the end-of-camp reading with very little resistance."
  • "Badgerdog drastically reduced writing reluctance, increased writing fluency, and increased interest in sharing writing with others."
  • "The green light for self-expression."
  • "Sam woke up before 10 AM, didn't play video games, and sometimes continued writing after camp."
  • "Having a positive experience with a subject my child doesn't like."
  • "It was great seeing and hearing my daughter describe each day of camp -- what she did in class, seeing her so enthusiastic about writing and speaking."
  • "Exposure to different forms of writing. My older child was only interested in writing novels before attending camp, and this experience really opened her eyes to other forms."
  • "Excitement about being published and having a 'real' author work with my daughter."
  • "Exposure to creative writing in a low-pressure environment. My daughter thought Ms. Tobin was 'the nicest teacher ever' and this helped her so much to be at ease and be creative."
  • "My son lacks confidence in his writing. His attitude has changed greatly over the past three weeks."
  • "Exposure to different writing styles, thinking outside the box, using humor in writing, developing self-confidence."
  • "My son started publishing his work on a blog. We are so proud of him."
  • "My daughter is dyslexic and has always been very negative about writing. However, she has had only positive things to say about her experience at camp."

Read our Badgerdog Camp FAQs.
Or, for more information about Badgerdog’s summer program, contact Programs Manager Cecily Sailer.

Read students' poems and stories on our blog, Unbound.