Summer Camps

Can summer camp in Maine really get better than lakeside swimming, creaky cabin floors, and hikes through the evergreens? You bet it can! The Telling Room offers a variety of city-based options that allow for exploration both on foot and on paper.

We use Portland’s Old Port and the surrounding islands as our muse and create exciting programs that offer campers an alternative to mosquitoes and gorp.

Each year, The Telling Room runs a number of themed camps during June, July, and August, taught by Telling Room staff members and guest teachers.

All camps are $325, unless otherwise noted. We have a limited number of scholarships available for these sessions. To find out about our summer camp scholarships, click here.

There is no aftercare available for 2016 Telling Room Camps.

 

2017 Telling Room Camps

FICTION WRITING

In this fiction workshop, we’ll leave the real world behind and find new stories among the alleys and wharves of the Old Port, following in the footsteps of great novelists, short story, fantasy, and sci-fi writers. Using the city of Portland and its diverse population as inspiration, we’ll map new places, find new characters to inhabit them, and craft compelling stories about their lives.  We’ll even use visual prompts to inspire our work by visiting the Portland Museum of Art. Bring an open mind, a bagged lunch, and comfortable shoes for exploring the city. There are two sessions of this camp available.

Session 1 Dates: June 26-30 
Session 2 Dates:  July 31-August 4
Time: 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: The Telling Room
Ages: 11-14
Cost: $325

Sorry, these camps are full! (Email rachele@tellingroom.org to be added to the waitlist)

 

UNCANNY VALLEY HIGH

In this fiction workshop for middle and high school students, we'll investigate the rich world of ghost stories, horror fiction, and fantasy to try and answer a basic question: what scares us as readers? We'll learn about Freud's "Uncanny" and practice new, technical writing skills including profluence, pacing, omission, and timing that can aid in unsettling our audience. This three-day camp will focus less on finishing a piece of writing and more on rehearsing certain aspects of the art form.

*Registrants for this camp must be experienced writers who can handle mature content. Registration is limited to 10 participants.

Dates: July 5-7
Time: 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: The Telling Room
Ages: 13-18
Cost: $225

Sorry, this camp is full! (Email rachele@tellingroom.org to be added to the waitlist)

 

YOGA FOR YOUNG WRITERS

Little bodies often need movement breaks to sustain a writing practice. This camp is for upper elementary students and entering middle school students that enjoy both writing and physical activity. We will integrate yoga and kid-friendly meditations with daily writing prompts and readings. We’ll read about and study yoga poses and archetypes, and the relationship between the mind and body. Students will keep a journal for the week and we'll write, draw, do yoga, and play games throughout the City of Portland. Please wear comfortable/stretchy clothing that's appropriate for yoga, a packed/portable lunch, and good walking shoes. Bring your favorite pens and yoga mat. We'll provide journals.

Dates: July 5-7
Time: 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: The Telling Room
Ages: 7-11
Cost: $225

Sorry, this camp is full! (Email rachele@tellingroom.org to be added to the waitlist)

 

QUEER CHARACTER CAMP: Discovering LGBTQ Writers & Characters

Young writers will explore and reflect on their many personal identities and experiences while building community with other like-minded teens. We will read only LGBTQ-identified authors during this camp such as Kate Bornstein, Ivan Coyote, and Alison Bechdel, and we will work to create dynamic and memorable characters in both fiction and personal narrative genres. Over the course of the week, students will warm up with writing prompts and walks to the ocean in the morning while working towards a finished short story or chapter. Open to all youth, but especially created for LGBTQ+ identified teens (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning and allies). Bring comfortable walking shoes, a packed lunch, and your favorite pens and notebook.

Dates: July 10-14
Time: 10:00 am-4:00 pm
Location: The Telling Room
Ages 13-18
Cost: $325

Sorry, this camp is full! (Email rachele@tellingroom.org to be added to the waitlist)

 

IDENTITES FRANCOPHONES: A French Immersion Experience

Qui parle français à Portland? Quelles sont leurs histoires et quelles sont les notres? Do you speak French at home? Do you learn it at school? Do you wish you could travel to France, Québec, Sénégal or Haiti? No need to go searching far – French is right here in our own city! We will spend our days exploring our own relationship to language and culture and then hit the streets searching for French speakers around town. We will mix all of our Telling Room favorites such as Vox Pop interviews, multimedia and poetry - mais en français! All participants should be ready for a full French immersion experience. Native fluency or French III and above preferred.

Dates: July 10-14
Time: 9:30 am-3:30 pm
Location: The Telling Room
Ages 12-18
Cost: $325

Sorry, this camp is full! (Email rachele@tellingroom.org to be added to the waitlist)

 

A WEEK IN REVIEW CAMP

Geared to aspiring journalists and critics alike, this camp will take full advantage of The Telling Room's Old Port location with art, music, food, and entertainment at our doorstep. Together we’ll explore art galleries, food establishments, and check out some local performances. Campers will delve into the art of critical observation, evaluation, and persuasive writing in the form of art, food, and performance reviews. We’ll chat with a panel of local editors and journalists to get their tips of the trade. We'll also take a tour of the Portland Press Herald and have a Q&A with their features editor and music reviewer. This camp will be led by Telling Room staff member Sonya Tomlinson who spent nine years as traffic manager and contributing writer to the Portland Phoenix. Former campers have been published in the Portland Phoenix as well as the Portland Press Herald. Campers' reviews will be published in a local news source.

Dates: Monday-Friday, July 17-21 
Time: 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: The Telling Room
Ages: 11-15
Cost: $325

Sorry, this camp is full! (Email rachele@tellingroom.org to be added to the waitlist)

 

ISLAND BEACH CAMP: Writing & Art on Casco Bay

It's summer--shouldn't camp in Maine be at the beach or out on an island surrounded by water? How about both? On each day of these camps, we’ll travel to an island in Casco Bay to write. We may send messages in a bottle, create poetry, frame a fantastic short story, form found art installations, sketch a character, paint a scene, click some pics, or shoot a short film. Participants should wear good shoes, and bring backpacks with bug spray/sunscreen, bathing suits/towels, lunch sack and water bottles, beach toys, and foul weather gear as needed. They're also encouraged to bring their own favorite art supplies, journals, and pens and pencils.

There are two sessions of this camp available. The first session of camp will start and finish at the Mere Point Boat Launch in Brunswick, where we will travel by small boat each day to and from The Goslings,* while the second session of this camp will start and finish at the Casco Bay Ferry Terminal in Portland each day, before and after our ferry ride to Peaks Island. The cost of transportation is included in the camp rate.

*Please note: There are NO facilities at the Goslings aside from a tarp shelter, so campers need to be comfortable with the islands’ “leave no trace, and no waste” policy. This camp is made possible by a partnership with Maine Coast Heritage Trust and their fantastic island stewardship program. MCHT will provide us with daily transportation by boat to the Goslings from Mere Point. FMI on the Goslings: http://www.mcht.org/preserves/the-goslings

Session 1 Dates: Tuesday-Thursday, July 18-20
Location: The Goslings (daily drop off/pick up at Mere Point Boat Launch, Brunswick, ME)

Session 2 Dates: Tuesday-Thursday, August 1-3
Location: Peaks Island (daily drop off/pick up at Casco Bay Ferry Terminal, Portland, ME) 
Time: 9:30 am-3:30 pm
Ages 8-12
Cost: $250

Sorry, this camp is full! (Email rachele@tellingroom.org to be added to the waitlist)

 

SPORTSWRITING

The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat! We’ll cover it all during this camp. From interviewing, to recaps, to team beats, to national news, if it has to do with sportswriting, we’ll tackle it. Plus, we’ll get to take in a Seadogs game. If you like sports - and they don’t have to be mainstream sports - this is the camp for you.

Dates: July 17-21
Time: 10:00am-4pm
Location: The Telling Room
Ages: 9-15
Cost: $325

Sorry, this camp is full! (Email rachele@tellingroom.org to be added to the waitlist)

 

CREATE YOUR OWN STORYBOOK

In this camp, we’ll use painting, collage, and other kinds of art making to find our way into a story. Using inspiration from the natural world and the city around us, campers will observe, explore, write, create, and share stories with each other. Each camper will choose an animal, plant, or other part of the environment as the subject for their storybook they will create during our week together. At the end of the week, storybooks will be on display and students will host an author’s tea reading open to all families participating.

Dates: July 24-28
Time: 9:30-3:30
Location: The Telling Room
Ages 7-10
Cost: $325

Sorry, this camp is full! (Email rachele@tellingroom.org to be added to the waitlist)

 

WRITING FOR OPERA: A Collaboration with Opera Maine and USM

Calling all High School writers and poets who are interested in collaborative writing and performing arts! This year the Telling Room is collaborating with Opera Maine and USM to create a brand new opera that showcases youth voices. Students from this Telling Room summer camp will write the libretto, pass it on to composer Dan Sonenberg who will then work with the Opera department at USM to create an opera that will premier in Spring 2018. Camp participants will get a chance to learn more about this multidisciplinary art form and dive into writing a single story together. Campers will also get a chance to attend two free performances (American Dream and La Traviata) courtesy of Opera Maine. There will be additional opportunities throughout the year for these writers to be a part of the process as this opera comes to life.

This camp is limited to 8 participants!

Dates: July 24-28
Time: 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: The Telling Room
Ages: 12-18
Cost: $325

Sorry, this camp is full! (Email rachele@tellingroom.org to be added to the waitlist)

 

EVERYONE HAS A STORY: An Intro to Documentary Storytelling

Have you ever walked by someone and wondered what their story was? Or noticed an interesting place and wanted to know more about it? Portland is a city with incredible creativity, diversity and a rich history. There are stories everywhere you look. In this five-day Telling Room summer camp, you will learn the basics of documentary storytelling. Through audio recording and interviewing, digital portrait photography and the written word, you’ll create audio postcards, multimedia projects, and photo essays. We’ll visit the farmer’s market, the wharf, the Old Port, local businesses, and more to meet Portlanders and hear their uniquely interesting stories. Join Telling Room staff member Sonya Tomlinson, audio educator Johanna Franzel, and multimedia producer Caitlin Scholl, along with guest speakers and artists, in this exciting week of storytelling.

 All equipment will be provided by The Telling Room. There are two sessions of this camp available.

Session 1 Dates: July 31-August 4
Session 2 Dates: August 7-11
Time: 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: Telling Room
Ages: 11-18
Cost: $325

Sorry, these camps are full! (Email rachele@tellingroom.org to be added to the waitlist)

 

EKPHRASTIC EXCURSIONS: Art Inspired Writing

What writing can spring from a response to a painting, a sculpture, a performance? A poem from a painting? A song from a sculpture? A story from a poem from a painting from a performance? With a multidisciplinary approach to writing, this arts based camp will have students traveling all over Portland to be inspired by art. Excursions will include the PMA, SPACE gallery, public art and performances. Students will explore different styles of writing and generate several pieces across multiple genres. There will also be opportunities for students to create their own artwork and inspire each other’s writing.

Dates: August 7-11
Time: 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: The Telling Room
Ages: 12-18
Cost: $325

Sorry, this camp is full! (Email rachele@tellingroom.org to be added to the waitlist)

 

MAKING THEATER: How to combine writing and improvisation to create short theater pieces

In this workshop, participants will brainstorm fables and folklore, select some for production, write scenarios and dialogue, and turn all this into performance of traditional and original theater pieces. At the end of the week, participants will perform the pieces they have created. If you're interested in or curious about making theater, you'll have fun in this workshop.

Camp lead Al Miller is the founder of The Theater Project in Brunswick. He has worked in theater as a clown, actor, director, storyteller, teacher, and mime for over forty years, first in the Middle East and, for the last forty years, in Maine.

Dates: 8/14-8/18
Time: 9:30-3:30
Ages: 13-18
Available to 12 students
Cost:$325

Register here!

 

YOU DON’T ESSAY?

Who knew essay writing could be this fun? In this camp, students will learn to appreciate the finer points of the writing they do a lot in school. This essay class is perfect for students who want to improve their academic and overall writing without the stress of papers and deadlines. How do you persuade different audiences, and what does that look like in the real world? We’ll explore Portland, do fun activities, and eat ice cream - all while learning how to write a killer paragraph! This year, building on last year’s success, we’ll be focusing on taking the next step in high school academic writing, so this camp is perfect for rising 8th graders looking to get ahead and high schoolers looking to hone their skills.

Dates: August 21-25
Time: 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: The Telling Room
Ages: 13-17
Cost: $325

Sorry, this camp is full! (Email rachele@tellingroom.org to be added to the waitlist)

 

REFUND POLICY

First, have you considered another camp? We can easily transfer your payment to another open session. However, we understand that things come up and you may need to cancel altogether. To do so, please call or email rachele@tellingroom.org

30 days in advance of the start date of camp: full refund

29-14 days in advance of the start date of camp: partial (50%) refund

Two weeks or less prior to the start date of camp: no refund

 

MEDICAL REASON FOR CANCELLATION

We understand that medical issues may arise over the summer or just as your child is set to attend camp.  Please call us as soon as possible to inform us of your need to cancel.  Cancellations due to serious illness or injury may receive a full refund. A medical note from a doctor must accompany the written cancellation request emailed to rachele@tellingroom.org, or in writing attn: Sonya Tomlinson 225 Commercial Street, Suite 201 Portland, ME 04101