Get them started early: Adroit Journal's Summer Mentorship Program for Young Writers

by Kelsey Beyeler

The Porch is proud to partner with the Adroit Journal to help promote its 7th annual Summer Mentorship Program for young writers. This program was created for high schoolers to experience the processes of writing, revising, and editing their creative works with the help of accomplished mentors. Using an online platform, mentors meet weekly or bi-weekly with their students to provide individualized guidance in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. There is no formal instruction or curriculum between students and mentors, but rather a more relaxed, organic correspondence that honors the communal and collaborative nature of creative writing. And the best part? It is completely free for all participants!


Although the Summer Mentorship Program does not create a competitive atmosphere, many of its past participants have gone on to submit their writing to scholastic and international writing competitions. Over 150 of its writers have been recognized by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, and 11 have received the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award. Students of all calibers are encouraged to participate, whether they are experiencing the writing process for the first time or refining their skills with intent to submit a piece.

The program begins June 23rd and concludes on August 3rd. Applications will be open from March 15, 2019 until April 15, 2019 at 11:59pm Pacific Standard Time (PST). Interested students can click here to check out the 2019 Mentorship Information Booklet, and can click here for application guidelines.

If a young person in your life is interested in creative writing but not yet old enough to enter the Adroit Journal’s Summer Mentorship Program, click here to learn more about The Porch’s Camp SLANT, a summer writing camp open to 5th - 8th graders!

Introducing Camp SLANT, or, The Importance of Having Fun

by Joe Kane, Youth Programming Director for The Porch

Growing up in a small city in Michigan, I often felt like the only writer for 100 miles in any direction. I was interested in writing, but I had no idea how to get started or who to talk to about it. Not even my friends who were bookworms seemed excited about creating their own stories. I remember sitting at the kitchen table after my parents fell asleep and watching moonlight transform the colors in the poplar trees outside. Even small breezes set the leaves shimmying, and they made an excited paper sound that filled our quiet house. It all seemed very important, and I wanted to write something important about it. Struggling to find those words left me frustrated, but I figured that that was how I was supposed to feel because writers needed to suffer for their art.

I have since learned that, in my sleepy Michigan hometown, many of my classmates were also aspiring writers who thought that loneliness was part of the job. It turns out that feeling is pretty common. Even in metropolitan areas with vibrant literary communities, like Nashville, young writers often feel like they are the only poet or novelist for 100 miles. Well, that stinks, so we are doing something about it.

This June, in addition to our monthly programs for high school students, SLANT is hosting a creative writing summer camp for aspiring writers in grades 5 – 8. Over the course of five days, campers will get to explore the fun side of writing in a room full of peers who share their interests. Established local authors will help campers learn key elements of writing poetry and fiction, as well as provide creative prompts to help the words start flowing fast. There will even be a song writing day with a special guest instructor. Campers will write hard, have fun, and discover the joy of being part of a writing community.


I still occasionally try to find words that seem important, but I’ve noticed a curious phenomenon: the poems and stories that resonate most strongly with readers (also the ones most often accepted for publication) are the ones that I had fun writing. It’s true: having fun with your work is not only conducive to happiness, it can help you become a better writer.

Help us make the “lonely writer” a thing of the past by spreading the word. Do you know an aspiring writer in grades 5 – 8? Perhaps a young person who always has their nose buried in a book, or who won’t leave home without their journal? Share this post with them, and send them our way!