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Writing Camp

Mercersburg Summer Programs Young Writers Camp

Uncover the expressiveness of the written word.

Build writing skills and unleash your creativity in a unique environment of like-minded wordsmiths with a passion for writing. Explore the beauty of poetic style and the power of your own voice on paper. Language is at the core of life, and our campers learn new and liberating ways to express themselves through the written word.

Our instructors are teachers and working writers—people who understand the challenges of the writing process. Our teaching assistants, who live with the campers in the dormitory, are drawn from the college ranks and are often students who are majoring in English or writing. Featured presenters also add depth to our young writers’ experiences by working with them, sharing their published works, and providing a constructive audience to student endeavors.

Writing Camp culminates in the production of a print or digital literary magazine, where new works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry are published by campers. This impressive volume is a keepsake of the unique Writing Camp experience.

Meet the Director

John David Bennett has been a member of Mercersburg’s faculty for 17 years, teaching AP and advanced studies English classes and several courses in the senior capstone program. He served for several years as the school’s dean of curriculum innovation and coached the softball team to a PAISAA state championship in 2012.

Before Mercersburg, J.D. taught English and coached debate at the School for the Talented and Gifted, a magnet school in Dallas, Texas, named the #1 public high school in the United States a total of nine times by Newsweek and U.S. News and World Report. He also served as the Dallas Independent School District’s Advanced Placement Lead English teacher.

J.D. is an avid storyteller, a former competitive swing dancer, a baseball aficionado, a linguistics hobbyist, a film buff, and a lover of books and poetry from the Iliad to last week’s NYT bestsellers.

Program Overview

Our 2024 theme is “Story Architects: Building Worlds, Crafting Characters, and Making Meaning.”By combining an exciting range of writing activities with traditional camp experiences, our participants have fun while also learning to think and write creatively.

Mornings at camp are dedicated to the exploration of specialty classes—such as fiction, poetry, and writing for the Internet—that are chosen by campers and taught by professional writers and teachers. Afternoons are open to thematic workshops and recreational activities that may include rock climbing, swimming, whitewater rafting, and a trip to Washington, D.C. The camp culminates with a student reading of new works in the Hale Studio Theatre or at a local coffee shop.

June 30-July 12, 2024

Open To:
Ages 11-16, coed

$1,800 (Commuter)
$2,000 (Residential)

Enroll Today!

A Typical Day

8-8:30 a.m.


9-11:30 a.m.

Classroom activities (poetry, short fiction, etc.)

12-12:45 p.m.


1-2 p.m.

Free writing

2-3 p.m.

Literary magazine

4-5 p.m.

Afternoon Activity (swimming, games, etc.)

5:30-6:15 p.m.


6:30-9 p.m.

Evening activities (campfire, movie night, karaoke, etc.)

9:15-10 p.m.

Dorm and lights out