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 2019 Telling Room Camps.

 

2019 Telling Room Camps

 

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: June 24-28
Time: 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: The Telling Room, Suite 200
Ages: 12-18
Cost: $325

REGISTER HERE

 

 

HUMOR WRITING

How many writers does it take to change a lightbulb? Two. One to screw it in most of the way and another to give it a final surprising twist. *Badumching*

Think you’ve got a better one? You probably do! Join The Telling Room and local stand-up comedian Jed Bloom for a three-day humor writing camp where we’ll explore the question: What makes something funny? Students will learn about different kinds of humor and choose to experiment with various forms, including skit, improv, personal anecdote, stand up, and the all-mighty listicle. Our week will end with a comedy club-style set where students read or perform their best material.

Dates: July 1-3 (Three Day Camp!)
Time: 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: Telling Room, Suite 201
Ages: 11-16
Cost: $225

SORRY, THIS CAMP IS FULL!

Please email rachele@tellingroom.org to add your name to a waiting list.

 

CRYPTOZOOLOGY CAMP

Are fairies real? Have you ever seen Bigfoot? Join us for this exciting creative writing camp where we will study cryptozoology in the natural world. Mermaids, werewolves, yetis, unicorns, sea monsters… We’ll write and read stories daily about these amazing creatures and blur the lines between fact and fiction in our writing. Students will enjoy the magical spaces on Mackworth Island including making fairy houses in the forest and finding evidence of sea creatures at low tide. Participants should wear good shoes, and bring backpacks with bug spray/sunscreen, bathing suits/towels, lunch sack and water bottles, and rainy weather gear as needed. They're also encouraged to bring their own favorite art supplies, journals, and pens and pencils.

Dates: July 1-3 (Three Day Camp!)
Time: 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: Mackworth Island
Ages: 7-11
Cost: $225

REGISTER HERE

 

 

MAP MAKING

A map is a promise of an adventure. You can be opening a new fantasy book or getting ready for a vacation, either map is sure to help guide you through a world of discovery. During this week-long camp, we will explore the art of map making as it pertains to writing and storytelling. We will create mind maps of our own worlds and fantastical maps of imaginary places. Daily field trips include excursions around the city and a day at the Osher Map Library of USM to be inspired by maps from the 1600s to the present. Open to all writers and adventure seekers!

Dates: July 8-12
Time: 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: The Telling Room, Suite 201
Ages: 11-16
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 week-long 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 8-12
Time: 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: The Telling Room
Ages: 13-18
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. This year's camp will include a donated Maine Food for Thought restaurant tour and a special visit with Solo Italiano's chef Paolo Laboa. Yes, there will be eating, and on the final day students will prepare and enjoy a meal together.

*Cost includes one lunch out at a local restaurant and small food samples throughout the week.

Dates: July 15-July 19
Time: 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: Telling Room, Suite 200
Ages: 11-18
Cost: $350

REGISTER HERE

 

 

HIKING & WRITING RETREAT: Kingfield, ME

​This overnight writing retreat takes place in an idyllic setting near the Bigelow Range and Sugarloaf Mountain, at the Maine Huts & Trails Poplar Hut. Campers hike a 3.2-mile uphill trail to reach the hut, and from there may explore trails and falls with counselors and do lots of writing! The camp is three days and two nights and includes all meals and overnight accommodations. 

All campers must be avid hikers and writers, and participate in a mandatory pre-trip meeting or interview. Participants must also provide their own transportation to and from the hut's trailhead, unless other arrangements are made with the camp directors. More information and directions to follow camp registration.

*Registration is limited to 12 participants

Dates: Monday-Wednesday, July 22-24 (Three Day Camp!)
Time: Overnight - Details will be sent by email to registrants
Location: Maine Huts & Trails, Poplar Hut, Kingfield, ME
Ages: 14-18
Cost: $500

REGISTER HERE

 

 

POETRY & PERFORMANCE

Poetry & Performance is an exploration of words and our desire to voice them. From Shakespeare and Basho to Sarah Kay and Kendrick Lamar, we will examine poetry through history and from around the world. Then we will turn inward and ask ourselves what moves us to write. We will play with words and explore various styles and structures. We will get on our feet and learn about breath and voice technique for performance. Each day will be a mix of reading and writing and will end with a sharing. Poetry & Performance will stretch your words and comfort zone, helping you to find your voice and use it.

Dates: July 22-26
Time: 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: The Telling Room
Ages: 14-18
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 22-26
Time: 10:00am-4pm
Location: The Telling Room
Ages: 9-15
Cost: $325

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 29-August 2 
Time: 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: The Telling Room, Suite 201
Ages: 11-15
Cost: $325

REGISTER HERE

 

 

YOUNG YOGIS CREATIVE WRITING CAMP

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 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 quiet time, and your favorite pens and pencils. We'll provide journals. Beginners welcome!

Dates: August 5-9
Time: 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: The Telling Room, Suite 201
Ages: 7-11
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 12-16
Time: 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: The Telling Room
Ages: 13-17
Cost: $325

REGISTER HERE

 

 

ART & WRITING

Do you love making art and writing? Join us this summer for a week of hands-on art projects and writing inspired by what we create. Will you write poetry? songs? a story? Bring your imagination and good walking shoes, because we’ll also explore Portland to check out some public art and the farmers’ market as a feast for our senses, bringing the experience of all that we see, smell and hear, back to enrich what we create.

Dates: August 12-16
Time: 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: The Telling Room, Suite 200
Ages: 6-10
Cost: $325

SORRY, THIS CAMP IS FULL!

Please email rachele@tellingroom.org to add your name to a waiting list.

 

 

QUEER COMICS CAMP

This fiction camp will teach young writers how to write a Marvel-style script and create queer characters accurately and appropriately. We’ll challenge young writers to think visually and incorporate diverse characters into their writing practices. While some will stick to just writing and reading, others may want to draw, color, and design comic strips or begin their full-length graphic novels. We’ll study current graphic novels with LGBTQ characters such as Drama by Raina Telegamer and Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. Students will have daily writing prompts and take walks outside to experience Portland and be inspired by the city. We’ll all be working towards a finished script by Friday to exhibit and/or publish online with The Telling Room. Please bring comfortable walking shoes, a packed lunch, and your favorite notebooks, pens, and art supplies.

Please Note: This camp is open to ALL YOUTH, but our goal is to provide a SAFE SPACE specifically for LGBTQ+ teens and their “straight but not narrow” friends. We will ask all writers to approach discussions and writing prompts with curiosity and kindness towards these communities.

Dates: August 19-23
Time: 9:30 am-3:30 pm
Location: The Telling Room, Suite 201
Ages 14-18
Cost: $325

REGISTER HERE

 

 

TALL SHIPS WRITING RETREAT: ON BOARD SCHOONER HARVEY GAMAGE

Join us for a transformational week aboard a tall ship! You'll write with one of our veteran teaching artists, learn the ropes (literally) from the ship's crew, and eat three incredible meals a day. The Harvey Gamage will set sail to and from Rockland with 12 lucky Telling Room students on board. Don't miss this unique opportunity to think, write, and learn on the ocean.

Dates: August 19-23
Time: 9:30 am-3:30 pm
Location: Rockland
Ages 13-18
Cost: $1250

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 19-23
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

Please email nick@tellingroom.org for more information.

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