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Writing camp takes youngsters on tour
Writing Camp

Writing took young students around the world over the past couple of weeks … but they never left Escalon.

The Great Valley Writing Camp drew participants from Escalon, Ripon, Oakdale and beyond for a two-week program, hosted at Dent Elementary School.

“It has been amazing,” said coordinator Sally Hale. “I see such growth in these kids and they’re so happy to be here.”

The program was offered for those as young as four-years-old, in transitional kindergarten, up to those entering the seventh grade. More than three dozen kids took part and there were several teachers and coaches on hand as well, said Hale.

Among the countries featured during the camp were Ireland, Greece, Mexico and Australia, with different age groups ‘visiting’ the various countries through food, language, learning about famous people and fun facts.

“The littlest ones did California, learning about Escalon and Monterey, we also had a group that learned about Italy, Japan and India ... it was amazing stuff,” Hale said.

Some food from the different countries was sampled and the main focus of the entire camp was writing – writing for fun, writing to learn and learning to write.

On the final day of the camp, June 22, when it was opened up to family to come and see the wide variety of work the campers had done, it was also ‘tourist’ day so the campers could dress as a tourist and visit their various countries.

“We had 17 teachers,” added Hale. “Most were from Escalon.”

Isabella Grant, 10, will be going to El Portal as a sixth grader in the fall.

“I liked learning about all the different countries,” she said. “My favorite one was Australia because I have a pen pal that lives there and I wanted to find out about where she lives.”

Van Allen second grader Emily VandePol, 7, said “making new friends” was her favorite part of the camp experience.

Andrew August, from Ripon, will turn seven on July 11 and he said he enjoyed the camp as well.

“I liked learning about all the countries and my favorite is Japan because it’s an island and they make a lot of stuff I like, like Nintendo,” August said.

The camp provides structured learning in a positive environment, Hale noted, and campers and teachers alike seem to have enjoyed the experience again this summer.

Sharing Stories
Olivia VandePol of Escalon, 9, reads some of her work to her sister, seven-year-old Emily VandePol, during Friday’s wrap up program at the Great Valley Writing Camp hosted at Dent Elementary over a two-week period.