How much would I have to give?
You can give:
EC$100 to cover a participant for a day
EC$250 for half a week
EC$500 for a full week
“Thanks a million for making this camp possible and investing in the future writers!” – 2013 participant.
When and how do I give?
You will need to pledge your contribution by May 31st 2015 after which, assuming I’ve amassed enough pledged funds to make this viable, your name will be added to the list of pledgees on this site. Pledges can be made beyond this date but pledges made up to this date will determine whether or not I proceed. If I do not proceed, pledgees are not obligated to give anything. You do not pay at the time of pledging. Pledged money will only be collected once both registrants and venue are confirmed. This will be at least one week before the start of the workshop. Per the 2013 experience. this is likely to be mid-August (N.B. this is not set in stone – August was weird for some last time and depending on the numbers maybe I’ll do two sets one in June or July, one in August). Bottom line, it’ll be over the summer; provided I have the funds freeing me to make it so. When the time comes, you will need to make arrangements via money transfer if off island or by cash or cheque directly if on island.
How many participants will there be?
Participants will be selected based on expressions of interest and the strength and promise of a submitted writing sample (the guidelines and deadline for submissions will be given once sufficient funds are pledged giving some assurance that this programme will be happening).
The Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project hopes to offer:
10 spots to teen writers (13 to 17)
10 spots to children (8 to 12)
2 spots to participant-assistant interns* (18 to 19)
*participant-assistant interns will be assigned one to the children’s and one to the teen’s workshop and will be expected to assist with the supervision and supporting activities while participating in and benefiting from group writing activities. This is ideal for a young person with a genuine interest in writing as it will provide them an opportunity to be mentored by me and to receive a recommendation letter for possible use in their job or college applications on successful completion of their duties.
“The camp was a good use of one week of my vacation. I wish it was longer and I would come again” – 2013 participant.
What’s the proposed schedule?
The children’s sessions will run in the morning (9-12) and the teen sessions (1 – 4) in the afternoon over the spread of at least one week.
What’s in it for me?
I’ll tell you what I told the sponsors I approached directly in 2013.
Children without finances deserve opportunity as much as children/teens with finances, but the reality is that when it comes to this particular opportunity, as a working writer, I cannot afford to do this for free (not without backing) and some of the children/teens who most need it won’t be able to pay.
I hope you’ll see it as an opportunity to support youth development, community development, and the creative arts.
Also if you pledge, I will shout you out here on the blog (https://jhohadli.wordpress.com) and on my facebook (http://www.facebook.com/JoanneCHillhouse); if you follow through on that pledge, you will be included in the thank you video I’ll post to my youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/AntiguanWriter) when the programme wraps; and anyone or any entity covering a full week (i.e. EC$500) will be included in any missive I issue to the media on this project unless they specifically request not to be (I know and appreciate that some prefer to give anonymously).
I do want to make one thing clear. If you decide to do this, you’re not doing this for me nor are you buying me, my opinions, my heart, or my soul. You are investing in my services so that I can make them available to young people who need and/or want to access said services. So, only give if you feel what I have here has value and is something you’d want to actively support. No hard feelings if you don’t feel that way. No doubt you’ve been burned before and want to be careful about where you spend your money; I have been burned before (and made to feel ah kinda how) and am exceedingly careful about how I try to raise money for the projects that I do whether profit or non-profit. I try not to promise what I can’t deliver; I do not want to set up false expectations. Mutual respect always, between you and me, between me and them.
That said, if you do give, you’ll have my commitment to work hard, and the appreciation of both me and the participants in the Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project 2015.
“I would sincerely like to thank the sponsors of this camp for not only giving me, but also the other participants a chance to be a part of something so great. It was truly a help to me and this experience inspired / encouraged me to continue writing as well as share my writing with others. I acknowledge that this experience could not have been possible without them and I would like to thank them very much. I do hope that if possible, they could continue to make projects like this a success.” – 2013 participant.
Who are you again?
I know, I know, what qualifies me to do this. I don’t claim to be an authority on all things writing; I am a student of this craft and continue to learn every time I read another author, participate in another workshop, or teach one of my own. Living is growing. And I have grown in the knowledge of some things; and I’m trying to pass some of that on. That said, I am the author of several books including one book taught in schools here in Antigua and Barbuda and one which was a finalist for the Burt Award for Young Adult Caribbean literature; have run a youth writing programme for more than a decade (which is crazy to me, because where did the time go); have taught media, communications, and writing to young people; have served as a literary judge locally and regionally and an international workshop fellow assisting with critiques of works in progress by other writers; have coached and mentored other writers; work and live as a freelance writer and editor, workshop facilitator and writing coach. So, that’s some of what I bring to the table but mostly I bring my genuine love for the literary arts – I hope it’ll be catching and participants in the Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project (2015 edition) come to love reading and writing as much as I do. Yeah, I think that’s worth something because I hope to help participants to flex those muscles and build those skills, but mostly I hope to help them open up their curiosity and imagination, and in questioning and understanding their world, use their words (i.e. their voice) and realize that the creative spark within them can be a transformative force.
Why are you doing this?
I’m going to be honest with you, I’m nervous about doing this – but I’ve never let nerves stop me before and I’ve never let the mistakes I’ve made in the past (and I’ve made them!) stop me from finding new and creative ways to press on. So, two years on from the first Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project, and continuing on from the Jhohadli Writing Project through which I’ve been offering writing workshops to adults since the start of the year, I’m pressing on.
But the question was why, right?
Well, years ago, I wanted to be a writer and there were no programmes here in Antigua and Barbuda to help me access my voice, work on my craft, see the possibilities. I started Wadadli Pen (a non profit) in response to what I saw as a lack that persisted even when I was a young writer who had finally published her first book. While I have been able to offer workshops through Wadadli Pen, the programme’s main focus has been an annual writing Challenge meant to motivate and showcase new writing out of Antigua and Barbuda. This process does not allow for much instruction in the craft of writing, though judges have been prompted to give specific feedback to shortlisted writers, and said writers given the opportunity to improve their pieces before submitting for final review. All involved in Wadadli Pen have limits on how much time they can contribute.
Additionally, I have by invitation or by my own initiative voluntarily engaged with many schools over the years. But there’s only so much you can do during a fleeting school visit. The Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project of 2013 enabled me to focus on giving one on one attention to young writers or people who just wanted to improve their writing skills while engaging in a fun summer diversion, without the worry of dividing my time between them, and working on or hustling other gigs (did I mention I freelance for a living?). For the duration, I was a self-assigned writer in residence (unfortunately we don’t officially have one of those here) and working with the Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project was my gig.
I am doing this because I’m driven to create opportunities, for myself, for others, and realize that where there is a need, and there is, creative minds can make a way.
Any other questions?
I’ve tried to anticipate your concerns. I hope I have. If not, I’m sure you’ll let me know.
If you wish to support or find out more, Contact me. Meanwhile, help me spread the word. But do so before the end of May; I’m giving it one month to see if this idea has legs. Let’s go!