2023 Summer Camps

Each July, the Missoula Writing Collaborative offers three unique summer camps for young writers: Words With Wings, Rattlesnake Writing Workshop, and the all-new Cracking the College Essay. Each camp takes place on the beautiful University of Montana campus and is led by MWC writers. Scholarships are available upon request. Please contact MWC Programs Director Rose Dickson for questions and scholarship inquires at [email protected].

Scroll down to learn about each camp. Ready to register? Sign up at our registration page below. We look forward to writing with your student this summer!

Words With Wings (Grades 3-8)

At Words With Wings Summer Camp, kids entering grades 3-8 spend their days immersed in writing activities under the guidance of a skilled instructor. In the afternoons, campers take their notebooks outside and find writing inspiration on field trips and on the University of Montana campus.

Our week culminates in an outdoor poetry reading on campus on Friday at noon. After camp, each camper will receive a copy of the 2023 Words With Wings anthology (with their own writing inside!) and the chance to read at the Montana Book Festival in September 2023.


Week 1: July 10-14; Week 2: July 17-21 (Campers are welcome to attend both weeks, but please note that programming and activities will be the same.) Half-day and full day sessions are available.

Words With Wings Half Day Session

Each morning we’ll meet on the University of Montana campus to write, share and play with words. Each student will receive their own writing kit (notebook & pencils) and will work closely with a Missoula Writing Collaborative instructor. We’ll take our notebooks outside to write around campus and have lots of time to explore the world of words together.

The half-day session takes place from 9am to noon each day. The cost is $170 for one camper or $330 for two siblings.

Words With Wings Full Day Session

The full day session offers an opportunity for students to build on their morning experience. We’ll explore Missoula and its varied ecosystems by foot and bus. These excursions provide guided opportunities for developing writers to observe and write about the world around them. This year we’ll visit and learn about:

  • The Clark Fork River with the Watershed Education Network
  • Explore how movement can be translated into poetry with Turning the Wheel
  • The Moon-Randolph Homestead
  • The UM planetarium

Other on-campus afternoon activities will include playrwriting, sorbet-making, and more! The full-day session takes place from 9am to 5pm each day. The cost is $275 for one camper or $525 for two siblings.

Rattlesnake Writing Workshop
(Grades 9-12)

The Rattlesnake Writing Workshop is a week of creativity, focused writing, and literary exploration for teens entering grades 9 through 12. 

This camp will take place from 12:30 to 3:30 each day, meeting on the University of Montana campus and branching out to explore Missoula’s museums, library, bookstores, and more. Instruction will focus on poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, with the option to explore other genres as well.

This camp is for anyone with a passion or interest in writing, whether you are just starting or have been penning stories for years. Each day you’ll write, read, and revise your writing.

Dates: July 17-21 from 12:30-3:30 on the UM campus. Cost is $170.

Cracking the College Essay
(Grades 11-12)

Cracking the College Essay is a new camp for rising 11th and 12th graders to craft a polished college admissions essay. Participants will conquer the blank page, receive individual help, and leave with a polished essay they can use and revise for a variety of applications.

Cracking the College Essay will be taught by Rose Dickson, who taught English and Creative Writing for eight years at Loyola Sacred Heart High School. As a part of her Senior English curriculum, she guided students through the process of writing personal essays for college admissions. Rose is excited for the chance to help other Missoula students brainstorm topics, craft a memorable essay, and polish it for submissions to the colleges of their choice.

Cracking the College Essay will take place on July 10 – 14, 2023, from 12:30 – 3:30 on the University of Montana campus. Cost is $170.