Luck was on Maddy Mullins’ side when the 11-year-old from Fayetteville attended Young Writers Camp June 19-23 at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
The camp for writers in third through sixth grade happened to coincide with a planned visit to her grandparents in Little Rock while Mullins’ parents were traveling to celebrate their anniversary.
“I loved camp,” Maddy Mullins said. “It was a lot of fun. I liked being creative through all the writing activities.”
Each day started with participants writing about a prompt, such as finding a talking dog on the front porch. They also worked in small writing groups, and read in front of other participants. Campers created a writer’s notebook and composed poems about their heritage. In addition, they developed original characters, turned them into stick puppets, and wrote a skit about them.
“This has been a full, fun-filled week of writing,” said Pam Maisen, director of Young Writers Camp. “Each day we were able to use our imagination, expand our vocabulary, and explore various ways to make writing come alive. Many stories, friendships, and lasting memories were created this week.”
Young Writers Camp is one of many summer camps that UA Little Rock hosts to explore skills in musical theatre, writing, computer coding, robotics, basketball, volleyball, swimming, soccer, and more.
The culmination of the camp was an anthology, containing a story written by each of the 2o campers. During the closing reception on Friday, June 23, campers excitedly shared these anthologies and read their stories in front of a room packed with proud parents, grandparents, and siblings.
Dent Gitchel, assistant professor in the rehabilitation counseling program at UA Little Rock, said his daughter, Lilah Gitchell, couldn’t wait to go to camp.
“Her self-confidence in writing has grown,” Gitchel said. “She’s always been creative. This week, she’s been working to develop her stories at home. She’s always borrowing my phone, opening up the notes app, and working on her stories wherever we go.”
After attending the camp, Lilah has found her future career.
“I want to be a writer when I grow up,” she said.
Students who participated in the camp include:
Fajr Abdeldayem, fourth-grader from Little Rock
Lucy Ayres, fifth-grader from Little Rock
Zamari Ball, third-grader from North Little Rock
Mohamed Eltahway, fifth-grader from Little Rock
Sarah Finzer, fifth-grader from Little Rock
Lilah Gitchel, fourth-grader from Little Rock
Omar Kamel, third- grader from Little Rock
Youssef Kamel, fifth-grader from Little Rock
Brendyn Keith, sixth-grader from Little Rock
Maeher Kumar, fourth-grader from Little Rock
Thomas Mayfield, sixth-grader from Little Rock
Jermaine Morris, fourth-grader from Little Rock
Hayden Muffoletto, fifth-grader from Bryant
Maddy Mullins, sixth-grader from Fayetteville
Nam Nguyen, fourth-grader from Little Rock
Salma Sadd, fourth-grader from Little Rock
Yusuf Sadd, third- grader from Little Rock
Dishant Sharma, sixth-grader from Little Rock
Ava Tillery, fifth-grader from Little Rock
Ruthie Vincent, fourth-grader from Little Rock
In the upper right photo, Maddy Mullins reads her story during Young Writers Camp at UA Little Rock. Photo by Lonnie Timmons III/UA Little Rock Communications.