Duke Youth Voice
Students Share Work without Fear of JudgmentMonday, June 25, 2012 By Gena Weinberg
The Reader's Forum took place in the Lecture Hall of White Building on Duke campus daily from June 17- June 28, 2012 . Various young writers shared their prose and poetry, written during their stay at Duke Young Writers Camp. The Reader’s Forum was created to encourage campers to share their work and ideas. Readers Forum lasted from 4- 4:30 each day. Each camper had a maximum of two minutes to share their work. At the beginning of the campers experience many were hesitant to share their work. But by the third day, the number of students sharing went up from nine to eighteen. Some wrote about the loss of a family member, while others like lower campus Sean Cooper took a different route and wrote about tacos. The leader of the Reader’s Forum was Mitch Cox, the camp academic director. The forum started out with the counselors dancing, followed by Cox announcing that the forum was starting. The forum took place towards the end of the day, a chance for writers to relax and enjoy others' work. On the first day, one camper chose to share about how the fear of heartbreak can affect how someone loves. By Day Four, Reader’s Forum was separated into two groups, the younger campers and the older campers. A group of eight or so wrote a story about a boy named Max Phoenix in Disney World during the split forum . This gave campers a chance to share more appropriate work for their age group. “Depending on the work written that day is usually what makes a reader want to share, or not share,” one Delia Harris, an upper camper, explains to a group of lower campers. Writing is what motivates the entirety of the camp, and the Reader’s Forum just adds to that. One factor that doesn’t affect who shares is age. The age of campers sharing vary from age eleven to age seventeen. What makes it easy to share? Upper camper Natalie Soler says, “No one is judging you, we all support one another.” Despite the varying ages, everyone attending Young Writers Camp claps for one another. “We show each other respect,” Cox told the campers on the first day. Campers followed Cox's lead and made each other feel comfortable and welcome every day at Forum.