Joey and Jose are Montgomery boys with the long days of summer on their hands and minds. When their parents suggest that the local public library will host a writing camp, the two guys do not jump for joy; but they do agree to sign up when they hear that the camp is being sponsored by North Carolina State University. They are young Wolfpackers. Little do they know that the county 4-H agent, the librarians, and the writing instructors will be on their side, not just in athletics but also in keeping writing skills sharp and clear during the long hot summer when school is in recess.
So off to the writing camp go Joey and Jose. How exactly will this activity work? They and the other middle school boys and girls get paper and pencils, plus access to computers. All like being with classmates they have not seen recently. So the camp is both about writing stories and being cool and busy among friends. The instructors, one from the local school system and the other from NC State, understand both objectives of the camp as viewed by the two boys and their friends. The two weeks take off at a fast pace. A story a day for each young writer. Joey and Jose were right in the thick of creativity as their writing skills improved. The pace of the campers picks up when the group decides to turn the mounting collection of stories into a large paper quilt that might hang on the wall in the writing room of the library.
As the paper quilt grew, the satisfaction of the youth did also. But where would there be a wall large enough to hang the finished creation? The librarians and other adults helped the boys and girls decide what to do. The final decision was to turn the huge quilt into several smaller ones. Each of these quilts would be shown at the public celebration on the last day of the camp. Parents and other citizens would see what the young writers had accomplished. Every story had a title and a signature as well as a beginning, middle, and end. Some of the stories even had a surprise ending.
At the celebration on the last day of the camp, Joey and Jose were selected to announce the plan for what to do with the quilts of stories. Since students from all of the middle schools in Montgomery County were in the camp, when school opened in the fall a quilt from the summer writing camp would hang prominently in each middle school lobby.
The changes in the attitudes of the young writers like Joey and Jose made everyone proud of what the public library and its collaborators had done that summer. The two boys felt more prepared than ever as they dreamed of going to NC State in four or five years.
Libraries change lives!