Photograph of smiling Young Writers' Camp students in matching t-shirts

Young Writers' Camp

A letter from Mitch Cox, Duke Young Writers’ Camp Academic Director:

Dear Young Writers and Their Parents and Teachers,

Welcome to Duke Young Writers’ Camp, Summer 2019. If you’re new to Duke Young Writers’ Camp or Duke Youth Programs, you’ll want to read on about what our program has to offer middle school- and high school-aged campers. If you’re familiar with the camp, you may want to view the tentative courses listed on this website in December; full course descriptions will be online by mid-January.  In either case, Duke University Continuing Education Youth Programs Director Thomas Patterson and I have prepared an exciting curriculum.

Why do young people choose Young Writers’ Camp? Here are some reasons noted by past campers:

  • It’s not like school: Imagine a place where learning and fun are the same.
  • It’s a stress-free, nonjudgmental, open environment.
  • It gives campers freedom to write on topics and genres that interest campers.
  • It teaches “the rules” for writing, but also ways to break those rules.
  • Even its academic classes allow students to be creative.
  • It’s full of writing exercises that tease the mind and bond you with fellow campers.
  • It’s a place to find and make friends; it’s a place to find people like you.

Why should parents select this camp or teachers recommend it?

  • While campers use the term “fun,” we prefer the term “engaging.” Camp engages its participants intellectually, emotionally, physically:
    • A casual observer dropping into one of our classes might see young people acting out the lives and situations of student-generated characters, rapping and performing poetry and song, walking down Ninth Street in Durham and “listening in on” and recording conversations to develop an ear for dialogue, participating in a round-table discussion of their classmates’ work, taste-testing desserts as a review of the fare at the Mad Hatter Bakeshop and Café.
    • Field trips to local businesses, art museums, gardens, and dance festivals are a regular feature of our classes.
    • While campers are given class time for quiet writing, they also draft, revise, and edit collaboratively.
    • After an academic day of writing classes, many of our extended day and residential campers choose physical afternoon activities such as sports and drama.
  • While they are having “fun,”
    • Campers learn the basics of composition:
      • Show, don't tell. Show, don't tell. Show, don't tell. Whether you're writing a narrative, informational, or argumentative essay (Common Core English Lang. Arts Standards Alert!), this is the one rule everyone needs to know.
      • Write about what you know: even if one writes fantasy, one always draws on personal experience.
    • Campers learn to initiate, plan, develop, organize, and revise and edit their writing.
    • But do campers learn “grammar” parents ask?
      • While grammar is not the primary focus of our camp or classes, we do recognize the importance of editing one’s writing for errors.
      • In fact, as part of instruction, our teachers offer campers various editing tips.
      • However, the core “rules” of writing involve finding and developing a writer’s focus, purpose, and individual voice; learning techniques for developing and organizing one’s work; gaining a sense of the structure of various genres of composition; and fostering an awareness of audience.
      • Once campers come to see themselves as writers, then the mechanics and grammar have a context, begin to matter and make sense from within.
    • Many campers become more comfortable with public speaking.
      • We begin each morning with a writing activity in which the whole camp participates and at the end of which, 10 to 15 volunteers have the opportunity to share their writing orally.
      • During classes, instructors regularly invite campers to share their works-in-progress orally with classmates.
      • Every academic day ends with a time called Readers' Forum, where 15 to 20 volunteers share from their self-composed texts.
      • During the second week, a group of 15 to 20 campers are selected by their instructors to read from original works at the Regulator Bookshop on 9th Street in Durham, NC.
      • On the last night of camp, 35 to 45 campers volunteer to share their writing in a Readers' Theatre called Final Celebration.
      • While no camper is ever forced to read in front of other campers, instructors strive to create a nurturing environment that encourages campers to share work.

Our instructors are professional teachers who write and professional writers who teach.

Because our class sizes are small, our instructors are able to give concrete, specific oral and written feedback as to what campers are doing well and on what they need to work.

As I said previously, past campers noted how unlike school, camp was, not because they weren't learning about writing, about how to write, about how to write better. Rather, the whole experience of camp goes toward helping students see themselves as writers and as a community of writers. Campers learn from each other as well as their instructors and professional writers how to craft real writing for authentic purposes and audiences. In this way, campers make the rules of writing a part of themselves. Such internalization and such community building do not usually occur in schools. Young people leave our camp, seeing it as a second home, a place and people acknowledging each camper’s creativity and individuality.

I encourage you to examine the Classes section on this page for a full course list. Each session offers fiction and poetry writing classes as well as college admissions essay and journalism courses. Whether campers are taking Paper Cuts: Words that Wound and Win (an argumentative essay writing class) or Superhero Fiction, they are engaged in developing skills identified in the Common Core State Initiative of English Language Arts Standards; but more important, they are on their way to becoming lifetime writers.

I cannot wait for the summer and the prospect of meeting and working with young writers and their parents. Until then, have a wonderful start of this new year.


Mitch Cox, Duke Young Writers’ Camp Academic Director

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Important Dates for Session I

Sunday, June 16, 2019

  • 2:00 - 4:00 pm -- Check-in for Residential Students a the Blackwell Residence Hall
  • 5:15 pm -- Living Group Meeting
  • 6:00 pm -- Dinner
  • 7:00 pm -- Orientation & Evening Activities

Monday, June 17, 2019

  • First day of classes
  • 9:00 am -- 9:30 Day and Extended Day Students check in at the White Lecture Hall

Thursday, June 27, 2019

  • Final Day of Class
  • 7:30 pm -- Final Celebration (Readings & Reception) at White Lecture Hall. Parents are encouraged to attend!

Friday, June 28, 2019

  • Check out for Residential Students.
  • Must depart by noon.

Important Dates for Session II

Sunday, June 30, 2019

  • 2:00 - 4:00 pm -- Check-in for Residential Students at Blackwell Residence Hall
  • 5:15 pm -- Living Group Meeting
  • 6:00 pm -- Dinner
  • 7:00 pm -- Orientation & Evening Activities

Monday, July 1, 2019

  • First day of classes
  • 9:00 - 9:30 -- Day and Extended Day Students check in at White Lecture Hall

Thursday, July 11, 2019

  • Final day of classes
  • 7:30 pm -- Final Celebration (Readings & Reception) at White Lecture Hall. Parents are encouraged to attend!

Friday, July 12, 2019

  • Check-out for Residential Students.
  • Must depart by noon.

Important Dates for Session III

Sunday, July 14, 2019

  • 2:00 - 4:00 pm -- Check-in for Residential Students at Blackwell Residence Hall
  • 5:15 pm -- Living Group Meeting
  • 6:00 pm -- Dinner
  • 7:00 pm -- Orientation & Evening Activities

Monday, July 15, 2019

  • First day of classes
  • 9:00 - 9:30 -- Day and Extended Day Students check in at White Lecture Hall

Thursday, July 25, 2019

  • Final day of classes
  • 7:30 pm -- Final Celebration (Readings & Reception) at White Lecture Hall. Parents are encouraged to attend!

Friday, July 26, 2019

  • Check-out for Residential Students.
  • Must depart by noon.

Day Camper Schedule (all sessions)

9:30 am Day Campers arrive at White Lecture Hall on East Campus
10:00 am Morning gathering
10:30 am Free-writing
11:00 am Morning Class
12:45 pm Lunch in the East Campus Marketplace
2:00 pm Free-writing
2:30 pm Afternoon class
4:00 pm Readers' forum
4:30 pm Day camper pick-up from White Lecture Hall on East Campus


Extended Day Camper Schedule (all sessions)

9:30 am Extended Day Campers arrive at White Lecture Hall on East Campus
10:00 am Morning gathering
10:30 am Free-writing
11:00 am Morning class
12:45 pm Lunch in the East Campus Marketplace
2:00 pm Free-writing
2:30 pm Afternoon class
4:00 pm Readers' forum
4:30 pm Extended Day Camper to Blackwell Residence Hall
5:00 pm Afternoon activities for residential and extended day students
6:00 pm Dinner
7:00 pm Evening activities
9:00 pm Extended day students depart from Blackwell Residence Hall


Residential Camper Schedule (all sessions)

9:00 am Breakfast - Residential Campers
10:00 am Morning gathering
10:30 am Free-writing
11:00 am Morning class
12:45 pm Lunch in the East Campus Marketplace
2:00 pm Free-writing
2:30 pm Afternoon class
4:00 pm Readers' forum
4:30 pm Extended Day Campers to Blackwell Residence Hall
5:00 pm Afternoon activities for residential & extended day students
6:00 pm Dinner
7:00 pm Evening activities
9:30 pm Residential Campers in the Residence Hall
10:00 pm Living group meetings, free time
10:30 pm Middle School students in room, lights out, door locked
11:30 pm High School students in room, door locked
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Tentative Classes for Summer 2019 - This list will be updated with descriptions at a later date

Session 1 

 Session 1 Morning Middle School Classes
Instructor: Mark Alford Course: With Great Power: Superhero Fiction
What is the one thing that all great superheroes have in common?  They all need a great writer.  This class will explore every type of superhero fiction.  Thanks to a grant from Stark Industries and Wayne Industries, we’ll build the finest heroes and super teams.  Lexcorp and Oscorp have each funded opportunities for us to make the deadliest villains.  Plus, we won’t just write prose, but also comic book panel style and we’ll take a look at what it takes to write the storylines for video games.  Remember, with great power, there must also come great storytelling
Instructor: Matt Arnold Course: Fan Fiction: For FANactics Only
Fan Fiction: For Writing FANatics Only! Have you ever experienced a story that was so real, so meaningful, so filled with awesome characters, that you couldn’t stop thinking about it? That you kept on wondering ‘what would’ve happened if…..?’ Have you wanted to fill in those blanks yourself? Well, this is the course for you! Go ahead, and take an existing world, be it sci-fi, fantasy, action, video game, or other, and mold it to your image – want to know the consequences if Luke Skywalker missed when he fired at the Death Star? Do you wish vampire hunter Blade would go after Edward? What other adventures does T’Challa get up to when he leaves Wakanda? What does Sauron do for fun? Well – quit waiting for the authors to answer these questions – write it yourself!
Instructor: Christy Bechtel Course: Characters in 3D: Observe and Imagination
A writer’s greatest tools are observation and imagination.  In this class, we will create well-rounded, dynamic characters by going out into this great, big, beautiful world of ours.  Students will use their senses to observe the vibrant characters in the real-world to then create unforgettable, believable characters for their stories. Students will participate with independent writing, paired and group writing, as well as analyzing excerpts from texts, films, and music.  Writers will draw inspiration from their observations and then let their imagination take over. Where will your observations take you?
Instructor: Sarah Dudley Detective & Mystery Fiction: Secrets, Sleuths, and Suspense
Whether you’re a fan of the intellectual Sherlock Holmes or the hardboiled Sam Spade, there’s something about a mystery that appeals to us all. We’re fascinated by the unknown and uncertainbut at the same time, we crave the “a-ha!” moment when the author lets us in at last. In this course, you’ll learn to become that brilliant author, drawing your readers in or keeping them at a distance, twisting and turning your way through a narrative
Instructor: Emma Duvall Ariadne's Thread: Myth and Plot in Fiction
As writers, we often feel pressure to create a fantastic, original new plot for every story we write.  However, for thousands of years, storytellers and writers have been recycling the same plots over and over again, and even much of the ‘new’ fiction that we read is actually based on very old stories and myths.  In this course, we will examine how we can use myths, tales, and legends to inspire our own writing about contemporary subjects.  We will look at myths themselves and modern-day versions of myths, and we will think about how myth teaches us about plot in fiction.  We will also look at photographs, antique letters, and everyday objects to challenge and stretch our ideas of what constitutes a myth and how myth can be used in our own fiction writing.
Instructor: Maureen Sherbondy Course: Multi-genre Writing: Finding the "Write" Form
It takes a little practice to find the “write” form—and to change one genre into another. In Multi-Genre Writing, we’ll experiment with science fiction, fantasy, narrative, and poetry, and we’ll work on various writing exercises that mix and overlap genres. How about fantasy-mystery? Or graphic-poetry? We’ll turn short stories into plays, narratives into comics, news stories into fiction and poetry.
Instructor: Bridgett Wiley Course: Got Poems?
Do you like to write Sonnets, Haikus, or Free Verse?  This workshop will help you explore different types of poetry writing, including the pre-writing process, post writing, and presentations of your poetry. We will also analyze classic poems looking for patterns, and key elements of good poetry writing.  Whether you like Edgar Allen Poe, “The Raven,” or Maya Angelou, “Still I Rise,” or you prefer your own poetry, there will be something for all. 
Session 1 Afternoon Middle School Classes
Instructor: Mark Alford Course: Myth, Magic, Monsters: Making a World
Become a god and take your seat on the pantheon.  Together with your fellow deities you will create the world around the small port town of Redemption.  Communally, you will design the magic system that this world operates on as well as the political conflicts, the world history, and the monsters and creatures that inhabit it.  Then design characters that will interact with the other characters created in the class.  Along the way, we’ll explore elements of fantasy fiction and what it takes to write convincing and intriguing fantasy stories. 
Instructor: Matt Arnold Course: Science Fiction & Fantasy: Astonishing Technology, Magical Worlds
What is about these genres that make them so compelling, so incredibly readable? Is it in the characters? In their adventures, escapes, and loves? Is it the magical worlds in which they’re set, with their mind-bending magic and astonishing technology? Is it in the action-packed plots, with their devious villains and all their nefarious schemes? The answer is, of course, it’s all of this - and more - which gives sci-fi and fantasy their astounding holds on the imagination. In this class, we will be exploring these worlds by learning from ‘the masters’ of the genre: reading and analyzing how they do it, and then writing our own stories – creating our own magical, wondrous world together!
Instructor: Christy Bechtel Course: Horror Fiction: Fantastically Frightening Fiction
Do you want to horrifically horrify your readers? Students will construct a horror premise, develop dynamic characters who may or may not fall during the chase scene, and tell a truly terrifying tale.  “It was a dark and stormy night.”  Snoopy started off well.  Where will horror fiction take you?  Writers will draw inspiration from both their imagination and real-world scenarios by experiencing Duke’s campus and the surrounding Durham community via field trips. Students will participate with independent writing, paired and group writing, as well as analyzing excerpts from texts, films, and music to create truly terrifying stories.  Join us for a terrifying journey into Horror Fiction!
Instructor: Sarah Dudley Course: A Hero(ine) for the Ages: Adventure Fiction
What do Spiderman, Harry Potter, and Rey the Jedi have in common? They're all called into adventures! In this course, your heroes and heroines will hear that call, face obstacles, and (maybe) save the day. Their fates are up to you - Will she slay the dragon? Will he escape his destiny? Can they survive the perils and traps of your world? Campers will create adventures and workshop together to hone their stories into fierce and challenging journeys and quests. You'll fill your worlds with monsters and mentors, pitfalls and paradise, villains and victory - and in the process, create an adventure for the ages.
Instructor: Emma Duvall Course: Masks and Personas: Character in Fiction
When we think of character development in fiction, we often imagine the character from the inside out: what are the character’s ambitions, secret dreams, and innermost thoughts?  However, many of the most successful characters in fiction are made so by their expertly crafted personas.  The persona or ‘mask’ that a character shows to others—including the character’s habits, quirks, and mannerisms—is often just as revealing as the thoughts in the character’s head.  In this course, we will explore how to build character from the outside in.  We will study the development of masks and persona in fiction, photography, and film, and we will use our findings to inspire our own fictional characters.
Instructor: Maureen Sherbondy Course: Paper Cuts: Words That Wound and Win
Influential leaders more often times win with words than weapons.  After this argumentative writing course, you’ll no longer be accused of fallacious reasoning, for you’ll learn how to write like a victor as we explore the craft of argumentative writing.  This course will expose you to debate and speech, along with personal essay writing and even poetry! Come discover the alchemy of argument.
Instructor: Bridgett Wiley Course: TV Writing: Where the Magic Begins
Have you ever had a good idea for a good television drama, comedy, reality show, or YouTube video?  Whom would you contact?  If they ask you to write a screenplay for the first show, how would you begin the process?  In this workshop, you will answer all those questions while viewing some of the latest, Emmy-winning TV shows and exploring how their writers got their start.  Students will also complete their own screen play and practice pitching their ideas.
Session 1 Morning High School Classes
Instructor: Michael Beadle Course: Wordsmithery
Welcome to the realm of word magic, where you can play with puns, wrestle with rhymes, and sling some slang. We’ll delve into word museums, idioms, riddles, and the language of world-building in fantasy and sci-fi stories. Along the way, we’ll write poems, stories and songs that show how human language continues to expand and re-invent itself. 
Instructor: Tracie Fellers Course: Writing Women: Into a Sweet and Thorny Place
In her novel Beloved, Toni Morrison depicts the world of women as a “sweet and thorny place”—and in this course, we’ll explore the varied contradictions, complexities, experiences and discoveries to be found along the path to womanhood. We'll unearth the power of our voices and draw inspiration from powerhouse writers, past and present, like Morrison, Margaret Atwood, Emily Dickinson and Angie Thomas. And we’ll hear and honor the voices of girls and women who traditionally have gone unheard and unheralded. Our territory: friendships between girls and growing up; rebellion and discovery; shattering polite silences, defying expectation and more. We’ll celebrate the bond we share as we shape our thoughts, revelations and reactions into journal entries, personal narratives, social commentary, poetry and fiction, culminating in a group choral piece that will be performed during the final camp celebration.
Instructor: Scott Michaels Course: Journalism
Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Campers enrolled in Journalism will get a crash course in interviewing, news writing, editorial writing, copy-editing, page layout, and design. We will collaborate to create an online newspaper, complete with news, sports, and features articles, as well as editorials, columns, and cartoons. In addition to honing their writing skills, campers will have the chance to bring their perspective to local or global issues and voice their opinions. Come get the full journalism experience (press pass not included).
Instructor: Ormad Moore Course: Experimental Fiction: Different Voices, Different Perspectives
Writing in the voice of various personalities and from different perspectives is part of the magic of fiction. You’ll do just that in this class through experimenting with voice and POV. From first-, second- and third-person to reliable and unreliable narrators, we’ll explore the power of choosing the POV and narrative voice that make your work vivid and memorable, whether it’s a fledgling short story or novel excerpt you’ve been working on for a while. This class will equip you to write authentically from different identities and employ versatile narrative points of view, like the subtle and powerful close third person. 
Instructor: Barry Peters Course: Dark Fiction: Living on the Edge
Living on the Edge. Beneath our civil society and behind the masks we wear, darkness lurks -- political, social, ethical, spiritual. All those things we don't talk about in polite society, we'll write about ... stories that explore characters who harbor their own deep, dark secrets and how they navigate a world that has a dark side of its own. As a result, our fiction will embrace, as one critic wrote, "a healthy confusion of pleasure and disquietude."
Session 1 Afternoon High School Classess
Instructor: Michael Beadle Course: Poetry Performance
Love the idea of sharing your poetry but terrified of being in front of a big audience? Maybe you have some experience at the open mic, but you need to polish your skills. In this class, you’ll work through the process from page to stage as we compose poems, edit and revise them, and then present these verses with poise, pacing, projection and attention to detail so your words become memorable and meaningful.
Instructor: Tracie Fellers Course: Writing College Admissions Essays: Standing Out, Getting In
The college application process can make you feel like you’re in a maze that’s daunting to figure out, let alone find your way to the best possible position for admittance to the college of your choice. But the college admissions essay can help put you in that spot. By showing admissions officers who you are beyond the statistics (test scores, grades, class rank, etc.), the essay offers a prime opportunity to set yourself apart from thousands of other applicants. Creating effective and compelling personal narratives —stories with a point — is the goal of this course. Through daily writing activities, students generate material they can mine for memorable college admissions essays. In addition, students practice with actual application questions, role-play admission interviews, and hear from a college admissions consultant who provides insider advice and tips about the admissions process. 
Instructor: Scott Michaels Course: Creative Nonfiction: From Flash Scenes to Memoirs
You may not know it, but you’ve already got great stories that need to be written. We will hone the skills required to make your piece pop with pizazz. Class members will delve into character development, creating stellar scenes, drama and finding humor as we mine life experiences.  We’ll work on flash essays, memoirs, and short stories. The goal is to help you find your voice to write prose like a pro.
Instructor: Ormand Moore Course: Flash Fiction
If you’ve ever wanted to write a story but didn’t feel like slogging through lengthy exposition, patient character development, and long narrative arc, then Flash Fiction is your class. We will explore ways to drop your reader right into a vivid place and intense experience. Our experiments and discussions will yield insights into this vital form of storytelling that is a visceral as poetry and as world-creating as fiction. Bring your memories, your instincts for striking diction and images, and your eraser.
Instructors: Barry Peters Course: Bizarro Fiction: A Logic of Its Own
Sometimes, 2 plus 2 does equal 5 ... at least in the world of Bizarro. We’ll use elements of the absurd, the surreal, and satire along with pop culture (and traditional story elements) to produce subversive, weird, humorous, but most of all entertaining and thought-provoking stories. We will be inspired by reading published Bizarro reading, by art, and by the news stories of the day. 


Session 2

AM Middle PM Middle
Superhero Fiction   Myth-World Alford
3rd Character Fiction   Horror Fiction Bechtel
Dark Fantasy   Detective Fiction Schwartz
Multi-genre Writing   Adventure Fiction Hurd
Poetry   TV Writing Wiley
Setting-Atmosphere   Paper Cuts Dudley
AM High PM High
College Essays Couch Performance Poetry Couch
Writing Women Prillaman Finding Your Voice Prillaman
Experimental Fiction: Diverse Characters Lam Wordsmithery Lam
Journalism Beadle Creative Nonfiction Beadle
SF-Fantasy Hurd Bizarro Fiction Turnwald


Session 3

AM Middle PM Middle
Superhero Fiction Alford Myth-World Alford
Paper Cuts TBD Scene Building TBD
Detective Fiction TBD Adventure Fiction TBD
Character Factory Lam 3rd Character Fiction Prillaman
Horror Fiction Turnwald Multi-genre Writing Turnwald
TV Writing TBD Poetry TBD
Fan Fiction TBD Science Fiction TBD
AM High PM High
Writing Women Prillaman Wordsmithery Lam
Writing for Multimedia Yeoman Creative Nonfiction Yeoman
Journalism TBD Flash Fiction TBD
College Essays Couch Experimental Fiction Couch
Experimental Fiction Lowman Performance Poetry Lowman
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Mark Alford, Photograph of Mark AlfordB.A., UNCW; MAT-E, UNCW

I believe that good writing comes from reading and noting how good authors have handled their craft. I love reading, but my preferred book is anything with action in it, be it spies, knights, wizards, or superheroes. I received both my degrees from UNC Wilmington and have taught high school English (9-12) as well as a few middle school and community college classes for the past 18 years. If I'm not teaching, reading, or writing, I'll be found coaching swimming or playing with my two boys or my daughter.

Krupal Amin, B.A., UNCCH; M.A., UNCC; Ph.D., Ohio State UniversityKrupal Amin

Krupal Amin teaches at North Carolina School of Science and Math in the humanities department; she teaches courses such as American Studies, East-West Studies, and Women's Studies. Previously, she's taught at UNCC and OSU. Her interests cover a wide range of U.S. multiethnic literatures from the early 1900s to the present; her research focuses on contemporary Asian American and African American coming-of-age novels. 

Matt Arnold, B.A. from San Francisco Conservatory, M.A. from Duke UniversityMatt Arnold

Matt works at Carolina Friends School, where he teaches English and Philosophy. After working in schools in San Francisco he moved to Lebanon and taught at the International College of Beirut during a very eventful period, and eventually decided to make the Triangle home. He recently was a recipient of the Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching. Dedicated to activism and volunteerism, he has been working with the Whitney Plantation in Louisiana to expand their outreach to teachers, creating their K-12 education program in the process. He and his husband live in Durham, where they enjoy yoga, gardening, swimming, and the dog, three cats, and many chickens and fish with whom they share a home.

Michael Beadle, Photograph of Michael BeadleB.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication, UNC-Chapel Hill

Michael is a poet, writer-in-residence, and author living in Raleigh, N.C. He is the author of three poetry chapbooks, a poetry CD, and three books on historic photographs of Haywood County. Michael’s poetry has been published in journals and anthologies such as The New Southerner, Sow’s Ear, Great Smokies Review, and Kakalak. His lastest chapbook, Primer, was a finalist in the 2016 Cathy Smith Bowers Chapbook Contest and is set for publication in spring 2017. Since 1998, Michael has been performing original, contemporary and classical poetry for audiences of all ages in schools, festivals, libraries, churches, restaurants and a variety of public venues. As a touring writer-in-residence, he teaches creative writing workshops for students and teachers throughout North Carolina. In 2012, he served as a poet-in-residence at the NC Zoo in Asheboro. He also serves as the student poetry contest manager for the NC Poetry Society and has served as an emcee for the NC Poetry Out Loud high school recitation finals.

Christy Bechtel, Photograph of Christy BechtelB.A. in English, Ashland University

Christy Bethel grew up in Ohio. Currently, she mentors beginning teachers for Durham Public Schools. Prior to mentoring, Christy taught seventh-grade English for Durham Public Schools where she was elected Teacher of the Year by her colleagues in 2013. In addition to her being a self-proclaimed English nerd who enjoys reading and writing, Christy also loves the beach and her whippets, Emma and Star. 

Mitch Cox (Academic Director), B.A., Wake Forest; M.A., Duke University

Mitch is the Academic Director for all three sessions of the Duke Young Writers’ Camp. A thirty-four-year veteran educator, he teaches sixth, seventh, and eighth grade English Language Arts at the Durham Nativity School during the schoolyear.He is a published poet and essayist.

You can contact the Academic Director at

Emmalea CouchPhotograph of Emmalea CouchB.S. from from Appalachian State University in Secondary English Education

Emmalea Couch is a Durham native. She teaches English I and English IV at C. E. Jordan High School. In addition to teaching, she coaches basketball and co-advises FCA. Emmalea participates in a biweekly writers’ meet-up in Durham and thoroughly enjoys the process of brainstorming and revising in a supportive group of talented writers. Her other hobbies include reading (especially YA dystopian novels), cooking, kayaking, bowling, and strolling through and volunteering in downtown Durham. This will be her third year as an instructor at DYWC.

Currently in her twelfth year of teaching language arts, Justine holds certification from Duke University in teaching Academically & Intellectually Gifted students and has co-taught the class “Poetry and Pop Culture” at the Duke summer TIP program. She has earned the title 2009-2010 Teacher of the Year at Sherwood Githens Middle School and has been a member of a Durham Public Schools’ Educational Action Research Team that traveled to Mexico to teach and learn about the culture. Justine loved her experience as a Capital Area Writing Project (CAWP) Fellow at NC State University where she learned various writing activities and methods of conducting writing workshops with students. Justine has started her school’s Creative Writing Club and publishes a literary magazine with her students annually.

Sarah Dudley, B.A. in English from VCU; M.A.T. from UNC-Chapel Hill

Sarah Dudley is thrilled for another summer at Duke Young Writers Camp. She began her writing life with a memoir penned at the tender age of six. Since then, she has scribbled her way through the years, eventually landing a job teaching English – pouring into young minds while looking out for the few students who can appreciate droll commentary. When not holed up in her classroom den at Wakefield High School, Sarah enjoys reading poetry, mysteries, dystopian YA, and science nonfiction. Strengths include sarcasm, daydreaming, and napping.

Emma Duvall, Photograph of Emma DuvallB.A. in Philosophy and Poetry, Sarah Lawrence College

Emma Duvall was born and raised in Durham, North Carolina.  She attended Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, for her undergraduate degree, and she is currently working on a PhD in Comparative Literature at UNC Chapel Hill.  She is interested in the relationship between poetry and philosophy, with a particular focus on ancient Greek texts.  Her poetry has been published in The Sarah Lawrence Review and The Cliffhanger, and she received the Stanley and Evelyn Lipkin Award for poetry in 2014.

Tracie Fellers, Photograph of Tracie FellersB.S., Northwestern University;  M.A., North Carolina State University; MFA, UNC-Greensboro

I am a Durham native and freelance writer and editor who started my career writing for daily newspapers in North Carolina and Virginia. My recent work includes essays for Walter magazine and fiction in the literary journal Obsidian. Now an adjunct lecturer in the mass communication department at N.C. Central University, I also have taught writing and literature at N.C. A&T State University, Guilford College, Bennett College and N.C. State.  As a fiction and nonfiction writer, I am convinced that stories are essential to our lives — and that has everything to do with my approach to teaching writing. Whatever the genre or focus might be, I encourage my students, often writing with them, to delve into what matters most to us as human beings: their desires, fears, hopes, secrets, dreams. My fiction has appeared in Obsidian, Long Story Short: Flash Fiction by Sixty-Five of North Carolina’s Finest Writers, and roger;  I have published creative nonfiction in 27 Views of Raleigh, an anthology, and the journal Sing Heavenly Muse!  I’ve also been honored to receive awards for my fiction from N.C. State and the National Council for Black Studies. 

Alexa Garvoille, B.A., Yale University; M.A., Duke University; M.F.A., Virginia Tech (currently enrolled)Garvoille

Alexa comes to DYWC with ten years of experience teaching ninth grade English and four years leading the Creative Writing Program at Durham School of the Arts. Currently enrolled in the Creative Writing MFA program at Virginia Tech, Alexa has spent her career championing the writing of young people. She has worked with middle school students to collaboratively write and publish a YA novel, coached teen spoken word poets, published five anthologies of memoirs written by high school freshmen, and advised award-winning student literary magazines. Alexa is passionate about developing strong resources for teaching creative writing to young people. When she’s not writing, Alexa likes to make puns and read poems to her dog, Byron Lord Beagle, who would rather be counter-surfing (were he not so short).

Lauren Hunter, M.F.A., New School University; B.A., Vassar CollegeLauren Hunter

A poet, editor & educator from Durham, North Carolina, Lauren worked with the team at Telephone Books, an experimental translation press, as their Managing Editor. Lauren was also the co-founder and co-curator of Electric Pumas, a New York City reading series/web presence featuring multidisciplinary art by women. She fulfilled a lifelong dream by touring nationally in support of her debut collection, HUMAN ACHIEVEMENTS, which was published by Birds, LLC in 2017. Her disembodied voice can be found inside the Poetry Jukebox in NYC’s East Village. Lauren attended a single session of DYWC and credits it as being one of the absolute best experiences of her life. She’s psyched to return this summer as an instructor!

Sara Hurd, B.A., in English, University of Virginia's College at Wise; M.A.T. University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

"The world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before," said Neil Gaiman, and he was right.  These are the words by which Sara believes all writers and artists live and breathe.  She is excited to return DYWC and work with the amazing staff and students to help make the world a brighter place!  By day, Sara teaches 7th grade Language Arts to the brilliant young minds of C.W. Stanford Middle School in Hillsborough.  By night, she is a Jedi Master and Mommy Supreme to one seriously adorable ginger child.  An unabashed fangirl, in her rare but treasured free time, you might find her cosplaying the likes of R2D2, Luna Lovegood, The Joker, or some other fantastic character from any of her numerous fandoms, and geeking out with her fellow fanpeople.  She has a strange habit of repeatedly picking up heavy objects and setting them down, which she's convinced gives her super strength.  She's also an absurdly enthusiastic baker and loves to throw parties for friends and family!  If she gets a moment to sit still, she'll likely have her nose buried in a book--historical fiction, dystopia, memoir,  realistic young adult lit; you name it, she probably reads it.  She might also be penning poetry and random thoughts in her journal while sitting atop a mountainside she's just trekked...OR she might just be curled up on the futon, binge-watching her latest Netflix obsession and sipping a hot beverage.  A true Hufflepuff at heart, she just loves living, sharing, and creating with others. 

Ting Lam, Photograph of Ting LamB.A. & M.A.T., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

I believe one of the most important skills as a writer is to be a good observer and listener. Careful observation, introspection, and reflection lead to concrete descriptions and dynamic narratives. My classes at DYWC often ask students to bring in various skills outside of writing as inspiration: art, music, and technology. These days, I teach high school English in Chatham County, write poetry, and participate in NaNoWriMo. Other days, you can find me chasing phantom runners, going on sketch crawls, and training to become the next Jedi master. I’m so glad to be back at Duke Young Writers’ Camp!

Alec Lowman, B.A., Princeton University; M.A.T., Duke UniversityAlec Lowman

Alec Lowman is a Durham native and a graduate of Princeton University's program in creative writing. More importantly, he is a proud DYWC alum. After many summers as a camper and several summers working on the residential side, Alec is thrilled to be returning to his home as an instructor. During the year, he teaches English at Jordan High School. He writes poetry, fiction, and to-do-lists.


Scott Michaels, Photograph of Scott MichaelsB.A. from the University of Michigan in communications and journalism; teaching certification from NC Central University

Scott began his career in print and radio, then transitioned to television for more than 10 years.  While working as a TV news journalist, Scott developed, wrote, produced, photographed, edited, and reported stories for the evening news on a daily basis.   In his tenure in television, he won awards for Best Use of Medium and Best Spot News Coverage.  Always looking for a new challenge, Scott left TV to become a teacher.  Over the last 15 years, he has taught reading, writing, English/Language Arts, broadcast journalism, and AVID to elementary through high school students with the bulk of his experiences in middle grades.  Outside the classroom, he has become a legendary, middle school soccer coach, leading his team to 6 district championships in 8 years.  In addition to teaching and coaching, he is a small business owner - managing the social media and marketing for the business and is a contributing blogger to the website.  After living in New York, Vermont, Nebraska, and Michigan, Scott has called Durham, North Carolina home for 19 years where he and his wife raise their three mid-sized kids.

Ormand Moore, Photograph of Ormand MooreB.A. and M.A.T. from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Ormand teaches English to 11th and 12th graders at Durham School of the Arts.  Before that, he taught English at Chapel Hill High School for eleven years.  He holds to the contention that listening to audiobooks is, in fact, reading.  When looking for a place to live, Ormand believes that where the bookshelves would go is absolutely the first and most important consideration.  He enjoys rolling on the floor and laughing with his two young sons and watching funny cat videos with them.  He’s excited to be back for his fourth summer at DYWC.

Sarah Paterson, B.A., Elon University; M.A.T., Duke UniversitySarah Paterson

Sarah is so excited to be back and teaching at DYWC -- the place where her own writing career started! After receiving a degree in Professional Writing from Elon University (and working many years as a YWC counselor), she spent a few years as a communications writer and interactive media designer in Raleigh. She missed working with energetic teenage writers and now she’s back in the classroom, teaching English at Northern High School in Durham. Sarah loves off-kilter short stories, eye-opening nonfiction, and any reality TV show where people make dessert.

Barry Peters, B.A. in English, Ohio University; M.A. in English, Wright State University  

Barry began writing professionally in high school as a sportswriter for local newspapers. After college he worked as an award-winning sportswriter and editor in Connecticut and Ohio, covering everything from Little League to the NBA. For the past twenty-eight years he has been a high school teacher. In addition to journalism, Barry has published poetry, fiction, and essays. He is a winner of The Nebraska Review Award for Fiction. Barry lives in Durham and teaches in Raleigh.

Caitlin Prillaman, Photograph of Caitlin PrillamanB.A. in Creative Writing, Oberlin College

Caitlin is a novelist, playwright, poet, and educator from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. During the school year, she works as a teacher, tutor, and academic coach at Carolina Friends School. She teaches creative writing classes to middle school students, but also works one-on-one with both middle and high school students in subjects ranging from writing to math to history and beyond. She also works extensively on her own projects, including the Lightspeed Theater Collection, in which she has developed multiple high-quality, age-appropriate scripts for middle school theater programs. She also happens to be an alum of the Young Writer’s Program at Duke, where she spent many wonderful summers cultivating her love of storytelling. She is thrilled to be back on campus as an instructor.

Leslie Schwartz, B.A. and M.A.T. Secondary English Education: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 

Leslie Schwartz is excited to return to the Duke Young Writers' Camp this summer! Leslie works as a middle school ELA teacher by day and runs a lot at night. She likes to complain about this running. On any given weekend, you may find her curled up with a burrito and a good book. Lately reading a lot of nonfiction, she is still a Potterhead at heart and will be a Gryffindor until she dies. Favorite authors span the likes of Luvvie Ajayi, Jane Austen, Diana Gabaldon, and pretty much anyone snarky. Leslie lives in Raleigh with her husband, but they are too lazy to have any pets or kids. She'd name the houseplants, but they never live long enough.

Maureen Sherbondy, B.Photograph of Maureen SherbondyA. in Psychology, Rutgers University; M.F.A. in Creative Writing, Queens University of Charlotte

Maureen is a fiction writer and a poet. Her short stories have appeared in The Stone Canoe, The Cortland Review, Southeast Review, and other literary journals. Her short story collection, The Slow Vanishing, was published by Mint Hill Books. Sherbondy teaches English at Alamance Community College. She has also taught creative writing classes at conferences, middle schools and high schools. Check out her website at

Jackie Turnwald, B.A. in Creative Writing & Psychology, Miami University; MAT-English, Duke

Jackie Turnwald is an Ohio native who has taught for 15 years ranging from Fulbright Teacher in South Korea to our very own Durham Public Schools.  Having traveled to 30 countries on five continents she has come to believe that only a truly engaged mind can experience the world.  Ultimately, she believes in encouraging students to develop their communication skills through the artful use of language, a robust knowledge of literature, and the emotional intelligence that gives us all the ability to connect.  At the end of the day she returns to her husband, her Belgian Shepherd, and their ever multiplying numbers of chickens.

Bridgett Wiley, B.A. in Political SciencePhotograph of Bridgett Wiley, North Carolina Central University; M.Ed. in Educational Leadership, Grand Canyon University

A good book can take you places!  At least that is what I have found to be true.  When not reading, I enjoy teaching World History at one of the finest high schools in North Carolina.  I instill in all my students the love and joy of reading and writing and the way it can open doors of opportunity.  “Good readers become great thinkers and writers.”

Akida Yates, B.S., North Carolina A&T State UniversityAkida Yates

My name is Akida Yates and the 2018-2019 school year marks my eleventh year in the field of education. I am a 1998 graduate of North Carolina A&T State University with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. I am originally from Greensboro, NC but started my teaching career in Atlanta, GA, where I taught for 5 years in the Dekalb County School System. Currently, I work for Guilford County Schools at Eastern Guilford High School where I teach Essentials for College Math and Honors Advance Functions and Modeling.

My interest with computers began at an early age with a love for playing video games. I would often play the games at the highest level and attempt to recreate more difficult challenges along the way through my home computer or gaming system. I was always interested in how to interject changes to improve the experience of games. Many ideas that I used to dream about as a kid have become commonplace and the reality of the most popular games that we see and use today. Whether at the video arcade or at home with my personal computer or game system, I have always had an interest in artificial intelligence and intrigued by the programming aspect of it. I am very excited to be a part of the summer staff at Duke and to help campers enjoy and have a great gaming and programming experience.

Barry Yeoman, Photograph of Barry YeomanB.A., New York University

I am a freelance magazine journalist whose work has recently appeared in The Washington Post, The American Prospect, Texas Monthly, Audubon, Saturday Evening Post, and many other publications. I also produce long-form radio documentaries and nonfiction multimedia projects, including The Gutbucket King, a biography of the New Orleans bluesman Little Freddie King. I have been an instructor at DYWC for two decades, mostly working with older teenagers. My classes are highly interactive and often involve physical activities. They require significant engagement from every student, including stretching their writing styles and reading aloud in class. I am a particular fan of book- and magazine-length narrative nonfiction. Favorite recent books have included The Immortal Life of Henriette Lacks (Rebecca Skloot), Behind the Beautiful Forevers (Katherine Boo), and How to Survive a Plague (David France).


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Living Options

Residential Campers

Residential participants in the Young Writers' Camp will live on Duke’s East Campus for the duration of the program. They will live in Blackwell Residence Hall, an air-conditioned residence hall on Duke's East Campus and eat their meals in the campus dining halls. They are expected to have the independence and maturity to make responsible decisions for themselves about their health and safety, and to interact cooperatively with other members of the program community.

Day Campers

The drop off and pick up location for all day campers will be White Lecture Hall. All day campers must check in on Monday morning between 9:00 am – 9:30 am am. At check-in, day campers will pick up class assignments, camp T-shirt, writing supplies, and other important camp information and other important camp information.

Tentative Daily Schedule for Day Campers

9:00 am – Drop-off at White Lecture Hall
12:45 pm – Lunch (included in tuition)
4:30 pm – Pick-up at White Lecture Hall (unless otherwise specified)

Transportation for Day Campers

Day campers and their families must arrange transportation to and from campus every day. Please note that classes begin promptly at 10:00 am am and end at 4:30 pm pm Monday through Friday the first week, and Monday through Thursday the second week. Staff members are not available to supervise day campers before the designated drop-off time or after the indicated pick up times.

If the camper will not be attending class for any reason on a particular day, please call the administrative office at (919) 684-2827 by 8:30 am to leave a message with the Duke Youth Programs staff specialist.

Extended Day Campers

All extended day campers must check in on Monday morning at White Lecture Hall between 9:00 am – 9:30 am am. At check-in, day campers will pick up class assignments, camp T-shirt, writing supplies, and other important camp information, and other important camp information.

Tentative Daily Schedule for Extended Day Campers

9:00 am – Drop-off at White Lecture Hall
12:45 pm – Lunch (included in tuition)
6:00 pm – Dinner
7:00 pm – Evening activities
9:00 pm – Extended day campers depart

Please note that classes begin promptly at 10:00 am am and end at 4:30 pm pm Monday through Friday the first week, and Monday through Thursday the second week. Campers participating in the extended-day option will return to the residence hall with the residential students. A counselor will be assigned to supervise this group of campers.

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What to Bring


  • Sheets: extra-long twin set or two regular flat sheets, pillow, pillow cases
  • Warm blanked or heavy comforter (can be chilly in dorm)
  • Sweatshirt or jacket for inside dorm
  • Casual clothing: light cotton is recommended (summer weather in Durham is hot, usually 80-90 degrees, and humid). Please include:
  • Towels, washcloths
  • Clothes hangers (if you want to hang clothes)
  • Toiletries - fragrance free and don't forget sunscreen!
  • Alarm clock
  • Quarters and laundry detergent, if needed (instructions on doing laundry might be a good idea too!)
  • Favorite athletic equipment: tennis racket, etc. (We furnish Frisbees, nerf-balls, and other outdoor and indoor toys & games)
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen - fragrance free!
  • Bee-sting kit - for those allergic to bee stings

Leave at home

What to leave at home: Neither the Program nor Duke University assumes responsibility for broken, lost, or stolen personal items.

  • Expensive sound, photographic, video or computer equipment
  • Refrigerators are prohibited

What we provide

  • 3-Ring Binder
  • Pens
  • Program T-shirt
  • Transportation from/to airport ($35 one way; $70 round trip)

Cell phones

Parents: Please read!

We know that parents and children value the ability to be able to call each other at a moment’s notice. For that reason, we do not prohibit cell phones at camp.

Parents are responsible for setting clear guidelines for cell phone use with their student.

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Coming & Going

Registration and Orientation – Day Campers

All Young Writers' Camp day camp participants must check in at 9:30 at the White Lecture Hall. (1st Session: Monday, 6/17; 2nd Session: Monday, 7/1; 3rd Session: Monday, 7/15). At check in, campers will pick-up a camp T-shirt, writing supplies, and other important camp information and other important camp information.

Day campers should be picked up at the White Lecture Hall by 4:30.

Registration and Orientation - Extended Day Campers

All Extended-Day Campers should check-in on Monday (1st Session: 6/17; 2nd Session: 7/1; 3rd Session: 7/15) on the front steps of White Lecture Hall at 8:30 am. At check-in, campers will pick up a camp t-shirt, notebook, and other supplies. Campers should be picked up on the front steps of White Lecture Hall by 4:00.

The classes will meet in White Lecture, Friedl and East Duke.

Registration and Orientation – Residential Campers

All Young Writers' Camp residential participants must check into the Blackwell Residence Hall between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm on registration day (Sunday (1st Session: 6/16; 2nd Session: 6/30; 3rd Session: 7/14)). Participants will NOT be able to check in prior to 2:00 pm.

Parents/guardians are invited to visit with staff members and to ask any last minute questions. Please note that there are no structured activities during the check-in period, but residential staff will be in the residence hall to help students get settled in their rooms and encourage campers to begin getting to know one another in an informal setting.

Prior to dinner, students will meet with their Living Group Counselor. After dinner, campers will participate in a camp-wide orientation session, addressing schedules, expectations, rules, and activities to build the camp community.


If driving – All participants arriving by car must plan to complete check-in at the residence hall on Sunday by 5:00 pm.

If arriving by train – Students traveling by train should plan to arrive at the Durham Amtrak Station on the appropriate Sunday between the hours of 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm.

If flying – Please make arrangements to arrive at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport on the appropriate Sunday between the hours of 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm.

Transportation will not be available before 1:00 pm or after 4:00 pm.

If a camper arrives before 1:00 pm, s/he will have to wait until 1:00 pm to be transported to campus. Please accurately record your flight information on the transportation form you receive from our office. If the airline changes your flight schedule, please notify us immediately.


The cost of the airport shuttle service is $35.00 from RDU to campus; $35.00 from campus to RDU. ($70.00 round trip).

Unaccompanied Minors

If your child is flying, it is necessary to check with the airlines whether or not your child will be considered an "unaccompanied minor." Each airline has different age classifications. If your child is classified as an "unaccompanied minor" it is imperative that you record this information on your travel form or give this information to the Duke Youth Programs Office at (919) 684-2827 or email Failure to do so will result in a fee of $30 one way.

Airlines require the name, address and telephone number of the person(s) who will meet the student who is traveling as an unaccompanied minor. We cannot provide that information to you at this time. A staff member of the Youth Programs will contact you 2 - 3 days before the departure date to notify you of the name(s) of the staff members (wearing Duke Youth Program staff T-shirts) who will meet your child at the arrival gate. You then must give this information to the airline with which your child will be traveling. Please ensure that Duke Youth Programs has the correct contact information where you can be reached during those 2-3 days before the camp begins.

For Campers Not Considered Unaccompanied Minors

A staff member, who can be identified by Duke Youth Programs staff T-shirts, will meet participants at the baggage claim area.

If you are delayed – On arrival day, if your flight is delayed, or you are delayed in your journey by car and will not arrive by the requested time, please call (919) 684-2827. If you reach ananswering machine at that number, please leave a message; messages will be checked regularly.


Participants must check out of the residence hall before noon on Friday. Participants who are flying home must schedule flight departures from the Raleigh-Durham International Airport between 8:00 am and noon. Shuttles will transport participants to the airport during this time frame only. “Unaccompanied minors” will have a staff member escort them to the departure gate.

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  1. Click on the green Register Now button.  
  2. To check availability in the camp for the appropriate category of camper, click on the exclamation point next to the appropriate tuition profile (example: Day Camper - Fee).
  3. Add the camp section you want to the shopping cart and then select the appropriate course fee. When you begin the checkout process, you will be asked to create a new user account, if you do not already have one.
  4. You must select the Youth Participant option when creating a new student account. Youth Participants must have the parent or guardian's email, phone, and address as the preferred contact information so please have a parent or guardian help you register. 
  5. The Youth Participant profile requires a date of birth, a grade level, and a youth email address.  If you do not have a youth email address or do not wish to enter one, you can enter that of the parent or guardian.
  6. Returning campers should log back into the system with their username and password from the previous summer. If you do not have your login information, please click on the "forgot username" and "forgot password" links from the Student Login Portal of our web site, or call the registration’s office at (919) 684-6259 to obtain your login information. 
  7. You will receive email notification of your registration and payment.

By Mail

Please print out this registration form, complete it, and send it with a check made out to Duke University to:

Registration - Youth Programs
Duke Continuing Studies
Bishop's House Room 201
Box 90700
Durham, NC 27708-0700


The full payment is due at time of registration.  You can also pay a $300 non-refundable deposit and the balance by May 15, 2019.  If an account has an outstanding balance after May 15th, the registration will be cancelled and the non-refundable deposit is forfeited. Registration after May 15th requires full payment at the time of registration, which includes a $300 non-refundable deposit.

Withdrawal/Cancellation Policy

Session I:  June 16 - June 28, 2019

Withdrawal Date Refund
Before May 10 100% of paid balance; $300 nonrefundable deposit forfeited
May 10 – May 25 75% of paid balance; $300 nonrefundable deposit forfeited
May 26 – June 9 50% of paid balance; $300 nonrefundable deposit forfeited
After June 9 No refund

Session II:  June 30 - July 12, 2019

Withdrawal Date Refund
Before May 25 100% of paid balance; $300 nonrefundable deposit forfeited
May 26 – June 9 75% of paid balance; $300 nonrefundable deposit forfeited
June 10 – July 25 50% of paid balance; $300 nonrefundable deposit forfeited
After June 25 No refund

Session III:  July 14 - July 26, 2019

Withdrawal Date Refund
Before June 8 100% of paid balance; $300 nonrefundable deposit forfeited
June 9 – June 24 75% of paid balance; $300 nonrefundable deposit forfeited
June 25 – July 9 50% of paid balance; $300 nonrefundable deposit forfeited
After July 9 No

If a medical condition necessitates the participant’s withdrawal from the program, Duke Youth Programs will refund the paid balance minus the $300 deposit fee. The request must be submitted in writing by the dates below to In the subject line please indicate Refund Request. The medical condition must be documented by a physician as one that prevents participation in the program.

Session I May 30 - June 13
Session II June 14 - June 28
Session III June 29 - July 12

If a medical condition necessitates the participant’s withdrawal from the program while in session, the program will refund housing and dining costs on a pro-rated basis. There will be no refund for course tuition, fees, or the $300 deposit.  

If a participant is dismissed from the program for failure to comply with the stated and published policy, the parent/guardian is responsible for all expenses, including but not limited to airfare and change fees, hotels, and meals. In the case of a dismissal, no refunds will be issued.

Duke Youth Programs reserves the right to cancel or not hold a session or program if the minimum enrollment requirements are not met or for any reason beyond Duke Youth Programs' control. If the minimum enrollment requirements are not met, registrants will be notified one month in advance and receive a full refund of the deposit and paid tuition. For reasons beyond Duke Youth Programs' control, refund decisions will be made based on recommendations from Duke University. 

Participants who wish to change their registration from one session or program to another may do so only if space is available in the desired program. The initial non-refundable deposit will be transferred, but participants will incur an additional transfer processing fee of $50. We will not be able to make any transfers between sessions or programs if there are less than two weeks remaining before the beginning of desired camp.


Registered participants will receive an email from Duke Youth Programs with attachments to print and complete. Please return these required forms as soon as possible or by May 3, 2018.

Additional Services

Shuttle Services

On arrival and departure days, Duke Youth Programs provides shuttle services to and from RDU airport. The cost is $35 to or from camp one way and $70 to and from camp both ways. An invoice for these services will be included in the transportation confirmation letter that will be sent to you before camp begins. These charges are due before the start of the session in which your child is enrolled.

Special Needs

Individuals with disabilities or other special needs who anticipate needing reasonable accommodations should contact the Director of Youth Programs at (919) 684-2827 or at the time of registration. 

Written requests for consideration for reasonable accommodation and appropriate paperwork must be received 30 days in advance of the program start date. Each request for reasonable accommodation is reviewed on a case by case basis by the Student Disability Access Office (SDAO)

Duke Employee Discount

Duke Employees are eligible for a discount with our programs. In order to receive the discount, the employee must register through contacting our registration office at (919) 684-2827. The discount cannot be applied after the participant is already registered. The discount rates are:
Day Camper: $150
Extended Day Camper: $75
Residential Camper: $100
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Frequently Asked Questions

Where do I live?
Who supervises me? 
Who are the instructors?
What if I arrive at the residential dorm outside the designated check-in times?
What if I am flying as an unaccompanied minor?
What if I do not have room to pack my bed linens?
What if someone wants to visit me?
What if my parents need to contact me?
What if I want to bring a laptop?
What if my parents want to send me money?
What if I need medical attention?
What if I do not have health insurance?
What if I need to cancel?
What if I need financial assistance?
What if someone wants to send me something in the mail?
What will I eat?
What if I lose my meal card?
What if I am unable to attend class?
What if I am having difficulty retrieving my medical records?
What if my travel arrangements change?
Is transportation to and from the airport or train depot provided?
What happens on the weekend?
What if I need directions?

Where do I live?
Participants in the Young Writers' Camp live in Blackwell Residence Hall on East Campus. All other camp participants are housed in Randolph Residence Hall on East Campus.

Who supervises me?
Our residential team of undergraduate and graduate students, and professional educators will supervise residential campers. The Director of Residential Life has experience working in an academic environment and counseling 10-17 year old students. The Director of Residential Life supervises the undergraduate and graduate counseling staff. Each counselor has a living group of 10-12 students. These staff members are on or near campus 24 hours a day and supervise the students in the evenings and on weekends. The Director of Residential Life and the program counselors are on call 24 hours a day.

Who are the instructors?
The instructional staff is comprised of professional educators, university staff, freelance writers and other well qualified individuals. They are committed to inspiring and challenging their students.

What if I arrive at the residential dorm outside the designated check-in times?
If your travel arrangements result in you arriving before or after the designated check-in time (Sunday between the hours of 2pm and 4pm), please call the Duke Youth Programs residential office as soon as possible(numbers will be provided to parents and participants prior to the Saturday before the start of camp).

Because residential staff is not required to be present until the start of registration, there is no guarantee that you will have access to the dorm if you arrive before the designated check-in time. As an alternative to waiting for the staff to arrive, consider driving to the local store to get last minute supplies or take a tour of Duke's West Campus.

If you arrive after the designated check-in time, call the dormitory for your program and provide an estimated time of arrival (phone number will be provided prior to the start of camp). The office will then contact the residential staff and put them on notice.

What if I am flying as an unaccompanied minor?
Please contact the Duke Youth Programs office at 919-684-2827 or email so we can document your child as an unaccompanied minor. Airlines require the name, address and telephone number of the person(s)who will meet the student who is traveling as an unaccompanied minor. We cannot provide that information to you at this time. A staff member of the Youth Programs will contact you 2 or 3 days before the departure date to notify you of the name(s) of the staff members (wearing Duke Youth Program staff T-shirts) who will meet your child at the arrival gate.

For departures, please schedule for your child to leave within our requested time-period (8 AM – 12 PM). If transportation service is requested outside of said period, we may not be able to provide transportation.

What if I do not have room to pack his or her bed linens?
Bed linens can be mailed to our office prior to the start of camp. Participants can also purchase linens at the local store.

What if someone wants to visit me?
Any leave of absence must be arranged in advance with the camper's residential counselor. Residential counselors can be contacted by calling the residential office (this number will be available at check-in). Campers must be picked up at and returned to the residence hall at the pre-arranged times.

Since our schedule is filled with recreational and instructional activities, we discourage long periods of time away from the program. These informal interaction times serve an important role in building community among peers and counselors.

What if my parents need to contact me?
Each residence hall will have an office where parents may call and leave messages for campers during the camp session. This phone number will be available at the program check-in. The residence hall office phone will have an answering machine if no one is present in the office to take the call. Messages will be checked regularly throughout the day. In the case of an emergency you may also call the main Youth Programs office at 919-684-2827, Monday-Friday 8:30am-5:00pm, or the Director of Residential Life (this number will be available at check-in).

What if I want to bring a laptop?
Though not a requirement, participants in the program can bring a laptop. However, the camp will not be responsible for loss or damage to the computer and equipment.

What if my parents want to send me money?
Parents should contact the residential office and leave a message with the residential director to discuss money-wiring options.

What if I need medical attention?
Parents will be called for advice and recommendations if the problem does not require immediate medical attention. If the problem is serious, the staff member will arrange for medical treatment at the Duke Student Clinic, Duke Hospital, or other nearby medical facility. When possible, staff members will contact parent(s)/guardian(s) before seeking treatment.

You will receive an email from Youth Programs with information about the Health Form, which will need to be completed and returned to the Duke Youth Programs office before the beginning of camp. It is imperative that all parts of the form are thoroughly and legibly completed. Youth Programs staff will refer to this form for contact information in the event of a medical emergency. Medical personnel will refer to this form whenever medical treatment is necessary; this form is the only guide a health care provider will have in case of an emergency.

What if I do not have health insurance?
Duke University requires all Youth Programs' participants to have health insurance. If you do not have health insurance you may purchase temporary health insurance through a local insurance agency. Assurant Health (short-term health insurance broker) is recommended by the programs. Please feel free to contact us for suggestions.

What if I need to cancel?
All cancellation requests must be made in writing emailing us at  In the subject line, please write “Cancellation Request”. For more information about the cancellation process, please see the cancellation policy.

What if I need financial assistance?
Duke Youth Programs sponsors a limited number of need-based partial scholarships. Please download the Financial Assistance Application or call the Youth Programs Office to request an application at 919-684-2827 or email Completed applications, along with all requested supplemental documents, must be received by February 16, 2018. Incomplete packets will not be considered. Applicants will be notified about award decisions by March 16, 2018.

NOTE: Duke Employees, if you are awarded financial aid then you will not be eligible to receive the Duke employee discount.

What if someone wants to send me something in the mail?
Mail should be sent to participants in care of our administrative office in the Bishop's House. The mailing address is:

Program Name
Camper's Name
Duke Youth Programs
Bishop's House Room 108
Box 90700
Durham, NC 27708-0700

Please understand that mail delivery to participants will take at least 2 extra days, as the mail must travel from the US Postal Service to the Duke Postal Service to the Duke Youth Programs office and then to the participant. Also, Duke mail does not deliver on Saturdays.

What will I eat?
All program participants eat in the campus dining halls. Camps that have classes on East Campus will have all meals in the Marketplace. Camps that meet on West Campus will have breakfast and dinner in the Marketplace and lunch on West Campus. Participants can choose from a variety of vegetarian and meat entrees, vegetables, breads, sandwiches, salad bar, drinks and desserts. Lunch for all campers (residential, extended and day campers) is included in tuition.

What if I lose my meal card?
If either the card or the key is lost or misplaced, the participant should notify his/her counselor immediately so a replacement may be issued and the lost card key deactivated to ensure the safety of residents. Participants are responsible for the replacement cost of each lost or damaged card key ($15) or room key ($100).

What if I am unable to attend class?
If your child will be absent for the day, please notify the Duke Youth Programs Office so we can inform his/her instructor.

What if I am having difficulty retrieving my medical records?
Please contact the Duke Youth Programs office for assistance in getting medical records.

What if my travel arrangements have changed?
Please contact the Duke Youth Programs office at 919-684-2827 as soon as possible regarding any travel changes.

Is transportation to and from the airport or train depot provided?
Duke Youth Programs provides shuttle services to and from RDU to campus and train depot stations. For airline travelers, the cost is $35 for one way and $70 for both ways.

What happens on the weekend?
Residential campers will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities that are organized by the residential counseling staff.

What if I need directions?
Click on the links below, click on the directions button on the upper left corner, and enter the address from which you're traveling.

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