2020 Summer Camps

The Telling Room offers a variety of city-based options that allow for exploration both on foot and on paper with our themed summer camps. 

Our summer camps take place in June, July and August and are taught by The Telling Room staff and guest teachers. We use Portland's Old Port neighborhood and the surrounding islands as our muse and create exciting programs for students aged 6 - 18. 

All camps are $350 unless listed otherwise. We have a limited number of scholarships available for each session. To find out more about our summer camp scholarships, click here

There is no aftercare available for 2020 summer camps. Additional summer camp options to come. 
 
 

Young Yogis & Creative Writing

Little bodies often need movement breaks to sustain more quiet reading and writing practices. This summer, we'll practice creative writing with vinyasa-style yoga traditions. Students will keep a journal for the week and learn sun salutations, mindfulness tools and Sanskrit vocabulary and history. We'll build confidence by sharing our writing and learning how to listen to our bodies. Students will become teachers as they work towards teaching a yoga class for their parents and families to attend on Friday afternoon. Please have your student wear comfortable/stretchy clothing that is appropriate for yoga, good walking shoes and sunblock. Bring a packed or portable lunch, a yoga mat, a book for quiet time and your favorite pens and pencils. We'll provide journals. Beginners welcome!

Dates: 7/20 - 7/24
Time: 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Location: The Telling Room
Ages: 7-11
Cost: $350

Register here

 
 
Creatively Queer Camp

Young writers will explore and reflect on their many personal identities and experiences while building community with other like-minded teens. Both artists and writers are encouraged to join this camp as we will spend our time writing stories, poetry and making art about queer characters and LGBTQIA* history. We will read stories and comics with LGBTQIA* characters and be inspired by the imagery of LGBTQIA* visual artists and activists. Over the course of the week, students will engage with writing and drawing prompts and have social time while exploring Portland's landscape. Students will work towards a finished short story, poem, chapter, 'zine or piece of art. 

Please note: This camp is open to all youth but our goal is to provide a safe space specifically for LGBTQIA* teens and their "straight but not narrow" friends. We will ask all writers to approach discussions and writing prompts with curiosity and kindness towards those communities. 

Dates: 8/24 - 8/28
Time: 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Location: The Telling Room
Ages: 14 - 18
Cost: $350

Register here

 
 
Fiction Writing


In this fiction camp, we will leave the real world behind and find new stories among the alleys and wharves of the Old Port neighborhood in Portland, Maine, following in the footsteps of great novelists, short story, fantasy and science fiction writers. Using the city of Portland and its diverse population as inspiration, we will map new places, find new characters to inhabit them and craft compelling stories about their lives. We will 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.

Dates: 8/3 - 8/7
Time: 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Location: The Telling Room
Ages: 10 - 15
Cost: $350

Register here

 
 

Week in Review

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 will explore art galleries, food establishments and check out some local musicians. Campers will delve into the art of critical observation and persuasive writing in the form of art, food and music reviews. We will chat with a panel of local editors and journalists to get their tips of the trade and have a question and answer session with the Portland Press Herald's music reviewer. This camp will be lead by The Telling Room's Lead Teacher 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 and live on our website. Campers' reviews will be published in a local news source.

Dates: 7/27 - 7/31
Time: 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Location: The Telling Room
Ages: 11 - 16
Cost: $350 

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. Cost includes one (1) lunch out at a local restaurant and small food tastings throughout the week.

Dates: 8/17 - 8/21
Time: 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Location: The Telling Room
Ages: 11 - 16
Cost: $375

Register here

 
 
Pitch Camp

If writing a book is hard, summarizing a book you've written might be harder. This three-day camp is for aspiring authors looking to wrap their arms around a particular book project. Students with a work in progress, or in mind, will learn how to create an effective outline, how to craft a compelling "blurb", and how to pitch a book idea to prospective publishers, readers, friends and family with a polished book proposal. Perfect for students applying to The Telling Room's Young Emerging Authors fellowship, or for whose NaNoWriMo-ers (National Novel Writing Month in November of every year) scratching their heads and asking, "Now what?" Fiction, poetry, memoir, essay, graphic novel, cookbook--all genres are welcome!

Dates: 7/27 - 7/29
Time: 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Location: The Telling Room
Ages: 12 - 18
Cost: $225

Register here

 
 
Sense of Humor


Are you a fan of A Confederacy of Dunces? Laughed it up to Calvin and Hobbes? Given a few good guffaws reading Shel Silverstein? This summer, try your hand at infusing humor into your own writing. In this three-day camp we will explore many ways to get your readers laughing, whether you're interested in punny poetry, farsical fiction or even comical comics. Humor is a time-honored literary tradition, and it's fun, too!

Dates: 7/6 - 7/8
Time: 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Location: The Telling Room
Ages: 12 - 16
Cost: $225
 
Register here

 
 
Sportswriting

The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat! We will 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 will take in a Seadogs game! If you like sports - and they don't have to be mainstream sports - this camp is for you!

Dates: 7/20 - 7/24
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Location: The Telling Room
Ages: 9 - 15
Cost: $350
  
Register here

 
 
You Don't Essay?

Who knew essay writing could be this fun? In this camp, students will learn to approach the finer points of the writing they do a lot of 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 outside of school? We will 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 will be focusing on taking the next step in high school academic writing, so this camp is perfect for rising 8th grade students looking to get ahead and high school students looking to hone their skills.

Dates: 8/17 - 8/21
Time: 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Location: The Telling Room
Ages: 13 - 17
Cost: $350
  
Register here
 
 
Environmental Writing


Are you paying attention to Greta Thunberg or other young climate activists? Do you have something to say about the natural world or our place in it? Do your eyes go to the colors of a stormy day or the objects strewn along a beach or forest path? Write about the environment and the natural world! Come as a journalist, poet, essayist, songwriter or fiction writer. Bring your favorite notebook and pen, a camera and sketchbook and toss into your bag a swimsuit and flip flops. Exact location TBD (to be determind). 

Session 1 Dates: 7/8 - 7/10
Session 1 Location: Portland (exact location to be determined)
Session 2 Dates: 8/4 - 8/6 
Session 2 Location: Brunswick (exact location to be determind)
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Ages: 10 - 18
Cost: $200 per session 

Register here

 
 
Hurricane Island Outward Bound School (HIOBS) Expedition Camp


We are excited to offer two first-of-their-kind Telling Room and HIOBS collaborative camps for only $500 each. Campers will spend five (5) days (4 nights) conoeing or sailing with Telling Room teaching artist Jenny O'Connell and HIOBS instructors. Participants will benefit from both nonprofits' expertise in youth leadership and empowerment. Scholarships are available! Monday pickup will be at 8:00 a.m. at The Telling Room and Friday dropoff will be at 5:00 p.m. at The Telling Room for both camps. There will be two different sessions (see below for dates). Generous philanthropic support from The Whitehead Foundation helps to make these camps possible. 

Session 1: 5-day Conoe Expedition - Western Maine / Newry Base 
Session 1 Dates: 7/20 - 7/24
Session 1 Ages: 13 - 15
Cost: $500

Session 2: 5-day Sail Expedition - Wheeler Bay / Burnt Island cruising area base 
Session 2 Dates: 8/17 - 8/21
Session 2 Ages: 14 - 18
Cost: $500

Register here

 
 
Art and Writing Camp


Do you like to make art projects and write? Why not join us for Art and Writing Camp to do both? We'll create our own worlds, spend some time in Inventors' Workshop, and watch characters blossom under our fingertips. Along the way we'll gather inspiration from the sights, sounds and smells of our daily adventures in the city of Portland, Maine. All art materials will be provided, but feel free to bring your favorite pen and journal or sketch pad.

Dates: 6/22 - 6/26
Location: The Telling Room
Time: 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Ages: 6 - 10:
Cost: $350
 
Register here

 
 

Budding Poets Camp

Is reading books one of your favorite things to do? Do you know lots of interesting (and interesting-sounding) words? This is the camp for you! We'll start by collecting some of our favorite words and play with putting together combinations of words. We'll learn more about the writers we love and how their work makes us love what we read, and use their techniques to write poems with big ideas and layers of meaning. We'll also be sure to get outside to prowl around Portland, Maine for a bit of inspiration and fresh air!

Dates: 8/10 - 8/14
Location: The Telling Room
Time: 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Ages: 8 - 11
Cost: $350
 
Register here