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Students, Teachers Enjoy Great Valley Writing Camp
Teacher Cassie Gregory explains the country of origin of several popular board games as students in the Great Valley Writing Camp enjoy trying their hand at checkers, tic-tac-toe and more. Times Photos By Marg Jackson

With a final day ‘open house’ to showcase the wide variety of work they had accomplished, students and teachers alike learned some new skills at the Great Valley Writing Camp.

Hosted at Dent Elementary School over a two-week period, coordinator Sally Hale said there were more than 40 students, in three separate grade-level groups, working with more than a dozen different teachers.

Students were divided up into kindergarten through second grade, with 12 students in that class; 14 students at the third grade level; and 16 students in fourth through sixth grades.

This was the second year the camp was hosted in Escalon, through the Great Valley Center. Several local service clubs helped provide some scholarships for students to attend as well, said Hale.

“Lions, Masons, Kiwanis, they have all been very generous,” she said.

From craft projects to short stories, learning about the origins of games and hearing from guest speakers, the students enjoyed an intensive two weeks of ‘camp.’

“I like to write poems,” said Izzy Johnson, 8, one of the young attendees.

The students met Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., with teachers on site from 8:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., earning credits for teaching the class.

“Most are Escalon teachers,” Hale said, though teachers from around the county also came in to assist. “We’d like to expand it, go K-8 next year.”

Hard at work, twin brothers Trenton and Tony Epps, 10, were in a group with Theo Harp, 9, and Isabelle Titsworth, 8, on Thursday as they worked on a craft project to take home. All the work was on display during the open house, as well as available on a special camp website and Facebook page. High school student assistants were given the task of keeping the social media presence up to date.

Hale said the best part about the camp – even though temperatures hit the triple digits last week – was that everyone was engaged the entire time they were there.

“Not once did the kids ask what time it was, when was it time to go home?,” she explained.

Teachers working at the camp received credit through CSU Stanislaus.