Camper Creative Writing Corner
What does a lonely young girl growing up on a remote farm, a yoga teacher who wants to be able to tell exciting stories, a bullied teenager, a 37-year-old woman whose only goal in the world is to become rich, and a 72-year-old police officer named George have in common?
First, they are all fictional characters who appeared in poignant short stories written by several Teen and Collegiate girls at Jay and Mindy’s cabin this weekend. Secondly, all of these protagonists, like all main characters in compelling short stories, experience conflict and pain. Thirdly, all of these characters experience profound change and growth after spending a summer at Timber Lake.
This weekend, I had the gift of combining two of my favorite things in the whole world: Timber Lake Camp and Writopia Lab. Writopia Lab is a non-profit organization that fosters joy, literacy, and critical thinking in kids and teens from all backgrounds through creative writing. On July 4th, I had the opportunity to take a Writopia workshop to my home away from home.
As I looked around the room at this group of imaginative and bright writers, I was struck about how eloquently they were able to articulate their experiences at camp through fictional characters. Undoubtedly, Timber Lake Camp improves lives. After time, each camper walks away with a stronger sense of self, increased confidence, and greater ability to make and maintain friendships. It happened to me. It happened to my friends. It happened to my sisters. It happened to my cousins who are current campers and counselors at camp. And now it was happening to Jess, a fictional teenage girl in this short story developing in front of my eyes by the Teen and Collegiate girls.
All of the stories included the magic of TLC. I asked these campers to explore their fictitious characters in whatever way they wanted and they all chose to bring this eclectic group of characters together to experience the life-changing experience that happens during a summer at Timber Lake.
The campers didn’t stop at short stories. They also wrote plays, musicals, and poems. Though their writing ranged from serious dramas to hilarious comedies, from realistic fiction to fantasy, all were marked by originality, honesty, and camp spirit.
In all works of great fiction, a character undergoes a transformation. This weekend I got to witness character transformations in countless stories. I also got to witness the ongoing transformations that take place at TLC. These transformations are also character transformations. For Timber Lake is a place where self-esteem flourishes, happiness radiates, and long-lasting friendships are made.
Danielle Sheeler, Alumni