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FWA’s Youth Writers Program Forges Ahead

January 27, 2013

Today, we’re hearing from Amber Garr, the leader of the FWA’s Youth Writers Program. The YWP is an exciting and growing part of FWA, and will feature its own youth writers conference at this year’s FWA conference. Amber’s here to tell you all about what the YWP is up to.

Last year, the FWA Youth Writers Program (YWP) began moving forward with leaps and bounds. After establishing the leadership team under the guidance of Leona Bodie, a plan was made, goals were set, and a mission was developed. I am proud to report that our youth membership has grown in the last several months and we intend to keep this trend going in 2013!

Part of our mission declares that we are determined to see young writers, regardless of their age or socio-economic condition, achieve more in school and in life through membership in the YWP. We quickly realized the need to reach a broader audience while taking advantage of the tools now available to tech-savvy youth writers. This led to the development of a website specific to the program and member access to a private online critique forum. In addition, two wonderful FWA members began youth chapters at opposite ends of the state. Kimberly M. Smith heads up the Jax Youth Writers in Jacksonville, while Caryn DeVincenti leads the West Boynton Teen Writers Group in Boynton Beach. Darrell House represents the YWP during his travels to schools all over the state, spreading the word and recruiting new members.

Our president, Chrissy Jackson, recently spoke to 100 children and five teachers at Bay Elementary School and an additional 120 children and nine teachers at McMullen-Booth Elementary School. This was part of the Cross Creek Chronicle project supported by the Florida Writers Foundation (FWF). The outcome of this award is a book comprised of writing by K-6 graders in Pinellas County Schools. The purpose of Chrissy’s visit was to spur the students to write something to enter, and to do so, she developed the “How to Write a Short Story” presentation for students and a tutorial for teachers, both now available to share on our YWP website.

But wait…we’re not done yet! We are ecstatic that our YWP members will be able to attend a special one-day youth workshop in 2013 to be held in conjunction with our annual conference. The day will be filled with information about youth publishing opportunities, the art of critique, agent pitches, and editing advice. In addition, our youth RPLA winners will be announced at the Saturday luncheon in front of the entire organization. Yes, I said youth RPLA winners! Thanks to Jim Thompson, we are offering a special category this year for authors under age 18. And more importantly, the grand prize winner will receive the Candice Coghill Award in memory of an original YWP guru and our official muse. The winning entry will be published as an Amazon short and the writer will have another valuable achievement to add to their resume!

Like the title said – we are forging ahead! You can find out more about the YWP at http://floridayouthwriters.org  or by sending us an email at youthwriters@floridawriters.net. There is always a need for volunteers, so please don’t hesitate to contact me should you want to be a part of this growing program.

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3 Comments
  1. January 27, 2013 7:44 am

    Amber, keep up the good work! Candice would be pleased to see the progress the program has made and the happy faces of the kids it reaches.

  2. January 27, 2013 2:02 pm

    It’s great to see this program growing. Encouraging young writers to pursue their dreams is important.

  3. February 13, 2013 8:50 am

    Candice inspired me to come up with the Youth Writers component of the RPLA and I am happy to be working with Amber in helping the program others developed grow.

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