Saturday, April 9, 2011

Heaven for Teen Artists

A-Z Blog Challenge: H Post By Trai Cartwright
When I was a teenager, I wrote.  A lot.  And I did it all alone. Really, really alone.  It was like this strange secret part of me that no one else knew about, and yet it was, in my own eyes, my single most pronounced character trait.
I’m not the only one.  I’m sure some of you recognize yourself in those words.  
As an adult, that isolation and lack of support was something I wanted to change for the teens in my area, so I created a youth arts and literacy organization called Explorati Teens.  It was originally just for young writers, an opportunity for Northern Colorado teens to come together and learn, write, talk about and share their passion.  They learn under the tutelage of some of the area’s most exceptional professionals in their fields.    
This is our third summer, and it’s going awfully well.  Here’s how we know:
Last summer a teen named Flower came to Boot Camp.  She was fifteen and considered an at-risk, struggling student at her school.  A teacher encouraged her to apply for a scholarship to our program, but she was trepidatious.  She was a secret writer, as none of her friends nor her mother understood her love of putting words to page.  At the end of the camp, she told us that this was the first time in her life she'd felt like she belonged.  It was also the first time, she felt like her secret passion had any value.  Post Camp, she continued to write and maintain many of the friendships she made, and even sought out other writing classes.
Stories like Flower’s are how we know we’re doing good, that we’re accomplishing our mission.  

And the resounding demand for “more” will not be ignored this summer:  we’re adding a second week of camp, for the really hard core writers.  They know who they are.  The problem is, sometimes the adults around them don’t.  

So if you know a serious young writer (or actor or techie who loves film and theater), point them in the direction of Explorati Teens.  It’s serious fun – the kind of fun only us artists can understand.   And it gets them out of all that aloneness.  Turns out, that’s pretty important.   Turns out, that's pretty close to heaven.
Explorati Teen Writers Boot Camp
Fort Collins, Colorado
June 20-23 & June 27-30
Explorati Teens Film & Theater Camp
July 25-28

Did you have anything like this that had a huge impact on you when you were a teenager?


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