Summer Camp is For Girls

By Louis Miller

Young Writers Program instructor Kellye Crocker writes fiction for young people and nonfiction for adults. She’s also a long-time journalist who has written for newspapers and national magazines. This summer, she'll be teaching two writing camps for girls at Lighthouse, and I recently caught up with her to talk about her writing and what to expect at the camps.

What is something you are always able to write about?

Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, I love writing about young people, and I’ve done so all of my life. I’m currently querying literary agents with my middle grade novel, My Dad’s Girlfriend and Other Colorado Catastrophes. Like all of my fiction, it focuses on smart, funny girls.

You’re teaching two girls-only camps at Lighthouse this summer. Do you have something against boys? :)

Ha! No, I love boys. My husband, son and beloved black Lab—all guys. I also love teaching boys.

Why are these camps only for girls?

There is something special about gathering with young women to explore issues that affect them specifically as young women. Gender is only one part of who we are, but it’s important. The deeper you dig into understanding who you are—and how the world is—the better your writing will be.

Also, our society can be harshly critical of young women—there are rules (often unspoken, often contradictory) about how they “should” be. As we explore these ideas, the camp offers an opportunity to help young women understand and support each other and for them to make new writer friends.

What’s the difference between For the Girls and Write Like a Girl?

For the Girls is for grades 6–8 and Write Like a Girl is for grades 9–12. In both, we’ll explore important issues, look to diverse women writers for inspiration, and write like our fingers are on fire. We’ll also celebrate young women’s achievements and opportunities.

For the Girls started as a four-week, after-school class and, last summer, expanded to a week-long, half-day camp. We had so much fun—lots of laugher, a few (good) tears, and tons of writing. These amazing girls created powerful writing in all genres. By the way, girls who were part of last year’s camp are welcome to return. We’re mixing things up from before.

I’m also super excited about the new high school camp! Older teens face different challenges related to gender, and I’m eager to dive into that with them.

What advice do you have for young people who want to be professional writers?

There is a great saying: “read, read, read, write, write, write, send, send, send.” Reading will teach you how stories work. The more you write, the better writer you’ll be. “Send” is about sharing your writing.

Whether you want to “go pro” or not, writing will serve you well. It helps clarify your thinking, stretch your creativity and express yourself. These skills will help you accomplish your dreams, whatever they are. I encourage everyone to write!

Louis Miller is Lighthouse's spring intern.