2013 "The Voice Within" Middle School Writing Camp



"The Voice Within"

In the summer of 2013, a group of young writers from several different schools all came to Missouri Western this summer to participate in a program called “The Voice Within” Middle School Writing Camp, held by Prairie Lands Writing Project (also known as PLWP) on the campus of Missouri Western State University. They created an anthology of their work, which you can read here, and this was their letter to the readers:

Dear Readers,

This year, our group of 25 campers and one teacher got off to an awkwardly silent start, but in the end we all warmed up to each other after we wrote and shared together.  We came here to discover new ideas that we could put together into pieces that would become part of us.  We came here to find our voices.  We found that we had to look at the world through a different lens in order to see all the possibilities.  We went outside to take pictures to find writing all around us, gathered objects from around campus and created stories, wrote poems about paint samples, wrote  in shapes, wrote hint fiction, and used computers every day to inspire us!  We did several writing prompts and activities, and we wrote a lot of them ourselves.

We were able to find some ideas that were living around us by letting our creativity go wild with the writing out of the day prompts –created by us—we responded to each afternoon before we left.  We wrote about colors, places, names, and random objects.  We became various hues, candy, animals, people, and objects around us with specific voices we may not have thought about before.  Although sometimes we got off topic, we became whatever we wrote about and found its voice, which good writers always do. 

We are all very different people.  But, when it comes down to it, we all have one thing in common: we all love to write.  When we were writing and exploring the things we love most in the world, we came across a pretty rad quote Maya Angelou said about writing.  Here it is:

“Words mean more than what is set down on paper.  It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.”

We found that words can come from anywhere, but the voice we give our words comes from within us.  After this camp, we will move on…but for now, we are constantly searching for our own voices—as well as our writings’. 


The Campers of “The Voice Within” Middle School Writing Camp 2013

May 28 – June 21, 2012

Director: Josie Clark

Sponsors: Missouri Western State University, Prairie Lands Writing Project, and the Saint Joseph School District