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From Trail to Notebook: Adventure Writing Camp for Girls

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Climb a mountain, go rafting, explore a dense jungle; then write about it and share the story with the world. Most adventurous souls wouldn’t mind this job description. And now, Nederland-based author of The Source of All Things: A Memoir, Tracy Ross, is laying the groundwork for America’s next best adventure writers. Starting July 21, Ross and a handful of other Colorado women journalists/photojournalists (Jayme Moye, Michelle Theall, and Julia Vandenonever) are instructing girls, ages 11 to 13, on the ways of the writing craft.

“I came up with the idea for a girls adventure writing camp this past February on a late afternoon skate ski,” Ross, a National Magazine Award winner and contributing editor at Backpacker magazine, says. “I have been wanting to do something like this since I started to have some success traveling and writing stories—really doing adventurous journalism.” The mom of three says that the idea to share her writing profession began percolating when her two oldest kids’ classmates seemed to be enamored with the idea of adventure writing as a real job.

For five days, the girls will intertwine their pursuit of adventure with the power of the pencil. Days will begin at Salto Coffee Works in Nederland with a quick free-writing session. Then, it’s off to the trails, the creek, or just a grassy field. Wandering in the wild will offer the campers a chance to engage all of their senses and employ their reporting skills. “We’ll talk about different types of writing, my writing, and the writing they want to do throughout the week,” Ross says. “It’s most important for the girls to grasp the different parts of a story, how it comes together.” The actual writing can be any style—journalism, creative non-fiction, poems, and beyond.

At the week’s end, the campers will put their creations on display in a public reading for peers, parents, family, and friends at Salto. Ross’ hopes for the campers are simple: “I want them to take away the appreciation for their ability to write. I want them to know that they can do what I do.”

Camp details: The group capacity is for 10 girls, ages 11 to 13 (there are still a few spots left). Camp starts (8:30 a.m.) and ends (3:30 p.m.) at Salto Coffee Works in Nederland. Tuition is $450 for the week, with lunch included. Scholarships are available based on need. Call 303-956-4238 to register.

Follow editorial assistant Lindsey R. McKissick on Twitter at @LindseyRMcK.

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