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 2018 Telling Room Camps.

 

2018 Telling Room Camps

FICTION WRITING 1&2: Two sessions available!

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 25-29 
Session 2 Dates:  August 13-17
Time: 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: The Telling Room
Ages: 11-14
Cost: $325

Register here! 

 

 

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: June 25-29
Time: 10:00 am-4:00 pm
Location: The Telling Room
Ages 13-18
Cost: $325

Register here! 

 

 

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 scene between characters from different works? 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, the Leo Rabkin Foundation, and public art. 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: July 9-13
Time: 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: The Telling Room
Ages: 12-18
Cost: $325

Register here!

 

 

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 12 participants.

Dates: July 9-13
Time: 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: The Telling Room
Ages: 13-18
Cost: $325

Register here! 

 

 

FLAGSTAFF LAKE WRITING RETREAT: Kingfield, ME

​This is a 3-day, 2-night, overnight camp for our oldest kids who are comfortable hiking, canoeing, swimming, and writing about the natural world around them. ​Maine Huts & Trails is partnering with us to provide us with beautiful bunks and indoor spaces, plus three incredible meals a day at their Flagstaff Lake Hut, by the Bigelow Mountains, about a 2.5-hour drive from Portland. We will provide transportation from and to The Telling Room.

*Registration is limited to 10 participants

Dates: Monday-Wednesday, July 16-18
Time: Overnight - Drop off at Telling Room Monday at 9am–Pick up at Telling Room Wednesday at 5pm
Location: Maine Huts and Trails - Kingfield, ME
Ages: 13-18
Cost: $500

Register here!

 

 

ISLAND BEACH CAMP: Peaks Island

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 Peaks 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. *The cost of ferry tickets is included in camp tuition.

Dates: Tuesday-Thursday, July 17-19
Time: 10am-4pm
Location: Meet at the Casco Bay Ferry Terminal, Portland
Ages: 7-11
Cost: $250

Register here!

 

 

COMMUNITY VOICES: Dialogue, Art, and Writing

What words and feelings come to mind when you hear the words COMMUNITY, DIVERSITY, PATRIOTISM? What colors and sounds do you associate with MAINE, EARTH, FLAG? Join Lead Teacher Marjolaine Whittlesey and local artist Titi de Baccarat for a week of multinational - and multilingual - creativity and exchange. We invite students to learn about (and create in) new languages (including French, Arabic, Spanish, Kinyarwanda and Swahili).

Each morning will be spent exploring the ideas of community through games, readings, and writing. In the afternoon students will have the opportunity to do workshops in poetry and work on a collective sculpture that will be shared at the Festival of Nations in Deering Oaks Park on Saturday July 28th. 

Dates: July 23-27 
Time: 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: The Telling Room
Ages: 10-18
Cost: $325

Register here!

 

 

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 23-27
Time: 10:00am-4pm
Location: The Telling Room
Ages: 9-15
Cost: $325

Register here!

 

 

TREASURE HUNT: Brunswick

“Of course. Treasure hunts make much better stories when there’s treasure at the end,” writes author Eric Berlin. In this camp we write some great stories and create our own marvelous treasure hunt for friends and family to do on our last day. Our setting is Downtown Brunswick, and we meet each morning at Curtis Memorial Library to discuss strategy and write our clues. Afterward, we explore and draw our course along Maine Street, finding treasures as we go to leave for others. Get ready, get set, go!

Dates: Wednesday-Friday, July 25-27
Time: 10am-4pm
Location: Curtis Memorial Library - Brunswick
Ages: 8-12
Cost: $225

Register here!

 

 

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: July 30-August 3  
Time: 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: The Telling Room
Ages: 11-15
Cost: $325

Register here!

 

 

FOOD WRITING

Are you a total foodie, a budding chef, or an enthusiastic eater? Join The Telling Room for a multisensory exploration of food through poetry, journalism, and personal narrative. Through local field trips and writing time in our studio, students will investigate the ways in which food feeds memory, experience, and community. Yes, there will be eating, and on the final day students will prepare and enjoy a meal together.  

Dates: July 30-August 3
Time: 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: Telling Room
Ages: 11-18
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 6-10
Time: 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: The Telling Room
Ages: 13-17
Cost: $325

Register here!

 

 

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 audio educator Johanna Franzel, along with guest speakers and artists, in this exciting week of storytelling.

*All equipment will be provided by The Telling Room. 

Dates: August 6-10
Time: 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: Telling Room
Ages: 11-18
Cost: $325

Register here! 

 

 

FAIRY TALES & FABLES

Join us this summer in discovering the art of fairy tales and fables! We’ll compare modern versions of fairy tales to older folklore from around the world. We’ll play games, read stories, have independent writing time in the studio space, and visit many outdoor spaces around our city. Students will write and illustrate their own modern fairytales and fables and an emphasis will be put on writing stories that challenge stereotypical characters and endings. We’ll discuss surprise endings, morals of stories, imperfect characters, and characters that defy stereotypes. Parents and Telling Room community members are welcome to join us for an Author’s Tea & Reading on Friday, August 17th, at 2pm. Students should come to camp wearing good walking shoes and sunblock. Please bring a lunch, water bottle, and your favorite notebook and pens.

Dates: August 13-17
Time: 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: The Telling Room
Ages: 7-11
Cost: $325

Register here!

 

 

ISLAND BEACH CAMP: Mackworth Island

It's summer--shouldn't camp in Maine be at the beach or out on an island surrounded by water? How about both? Each day of this camp we’ll meet on Mackworth Island (accessible by causeway) in Falmouth. We may send messages in a bottle, write poetry, frame a fantastic short story, create found art installations, sketch a character, paint a scene, or click some pics. 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, pens, and pencils.

Dates: August 13-17
Time: 10am-4pm
Location: Meet at Baxter School, Mackworth Island
Ages: 10-14
Cost: $325

Register here!

 

 

YOUNG YOGIS

Little bodies often need movement breaks to sustain more quiet reading and writing practices. This summer, The Telling Room will offer a yoga and literacy summer camp to kids ages 7-10. We will integrate yoga poses and kid-friendly meditations with daily writing prompts and readings. Our literacy time will focus on fairy tales and fables where the main characters learn lessons for life. Students will write their own versions of their favorite fairy tale and develop yoga poses that go along with their stories and characters. We’ll study basic story elements along with sun salutations and vinyasa-style yoga. Students don’t have to self-identify as writers or have experience with yoga to participate in this camp. Beginners welcome! Students will keep a journal for the week and be encouraged to write and draw often. We’ll have lunch, walk, and do many activities outside in Portland’s arts district and by the ocean. Please wear comfortable/stretchy clothing that's appropriate for yoga, good walking shoes, and sunblock. Bring a packed/portable lunch, a yoga mat, a book for reading time, and your favorite pens. We'll provide journals. 

Dates: August 20-24
Time: 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: The Telling Room
Ages: 7-10
Cost: $325

Register here! 

 

 

COLLEGE ESSAY AND SAILING

SailMaine and The Telling Room are partnering to help rising seniors get ahead of the tide of college admissions in an innovative program that's part writing and part sailing. Participants will spend the mornings at The Telling Room's writing studio crafting their college essay, and then head out on Casco Bay each afternoon in search of inspiration.

All experience levels are welcome!

Dates: August 20-24
Daily Schedule:

9:30                 Drop-off at 225 Commercial St, Portland

9:30 - 12:00:    Telling Room Writing Workshop

12:00 - 1:00:    Lunch/Walk to SailMaine

1:00 - 4:00:      J/22 Sailing on Casco Bay

4:00 - 4:15:      Pick-up at 58 Fore St, Portland

Ages: 16-18
Cost: $750

Register here!

 

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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: Rachele Ryan, 225 Commercial Street, Suite 201 Portland, ME 04101