Matilda Wilson’s primary wish when she bequeathed her home and land was that it be used for education. Meadow Brook Hall and Gardens has celebrated this objective in many ways, recently through the youth summer writing camp created in collaboration with the Meadow Brook Writing Project at Oakland University. The creative writing camps, for students in kindergarten through twelfth grade, run for six weeks every summer.
As a Writing and Rhetoric teacher at Oakland University, seeing the path writing students travel before they come to me as college students has been very rewarding. One of my favorite summer camp moments was when a 9-year-old boy told me on the first day of camp, “I hate writing! My mom made me come to writing camp”; only to be wowed on the fifth day to hear him reading his third chapter of a book he had begun in camp. Our main mission has always been to foster a love of writing and instill the joy that can be found in written expression. Though proper grammar and diction are not forgotten, the focus is on creative writing: the campers are encouraged to read the world around them and write based on their experiences and dreams.
No matter if the camper loves writing, is still warming to it, or has experienced frustration with the writing process, the Meadow Brook Writing Camp is the perfect summer experience that combines adventure and self-expression. Campers are encouraged to discover secret staircases, amazing playhouses, glorious gardens, and writer’s workshops at one of America’s grandest architectural structures. These young authors interact with award-winning, specially-trained experts in the field of writing composed of K-12 writing teachers and Oakland University faculty from the Department of Writing and Rhetoric. All are alumni of Meadow Brook Writing Project’s Summer Institute, an intensive writer’s workshop for master teachers involved in the National Writing Project.
The camps have hosted thousands of students over the years from all over the world, the country and the state of Michigan. This past summer youth from China, Ireland, Africa, Canada, New Zealand, Italy, Japan, Germany and all over America gathered at Meadow Brook Hall to explore “America’s castle” and learn and develop different styles of prose and poetry. If you know a young person who would benefit from this unparalleled experience, please urge them to register at our camp website.
Rebecca Rivard has been a Special Lecturer at Oakland University since 2007. She is also a Teacher Consultant for the Meadow Brook Writing Project and is the Director of Community Outreach and Youth Education of the Meadow Brook Writing Project – Meadow Brook Hall Youth Summer Writing Camps and Saturday youth workshops throughout the year – at Oakland University. Rivard serves as the liaison between Meadow Brook Hall and Oakland University for the camps, creating the camp curriculum and schedule, writing grants, seeking scholarship opportunities, and dealing directly with the parents, teachers and Meadow Brook staff to ensure that every camper has a wonderful experience.