Write, Organize, Correspond, Repeat

Happy March! Things have been ramping up in the Duquesne Summer Writing Camp department, and my responsibilities have continued to grow and expand.

I should mention first that our stream of applicants is coming in so nicely, and we have had a lot of interest from those applicants. As I said in my last post, my responsibilities have now extended to communicating with the campers and their parents to ensure we have all of the necessary documentation for them to come to the camp. Additionally, I’ve been working with John on accepting some applicants (yay!) based on the recommendation letters we’ve received on their behalf. Reading through the recommendation letters has required me to pay careful attention to what the teacher or mentor is pointing out about the student, and have discretion in accepting the students based on those recommendations. In reading them, I have to be critical and understanding, which are two things I learned in the English department, particularly in my writing workshop courses. We all come from different backgrounds with different stories to share, and when teachers write about their students, they’re sharing a piece of that student. Reading through the recommendation letters with that sense of understanding has allowed me to have a greater sense of the student’s background and how they’ll fit into the program.

Additionally, I’ve been corresponding with applicants and their parents to ensure we have all of the forms and permissions we need for the student to attend the camp. While these forms aren’t due for a while, I have to be sure that parents especially know what they need to complete for their child and in what time frame. This required me to compose another universal email that can be sent to all students and their parents, clearly outlining what we need. Getting to know this audience of parents made writing that email so much easier, and it’s made all correspondence with them much smoother as well.

Finally, I’ve been organizing each of the campers into a spreadsheet, listing out the information we have from them and what we still need from them. This has made the emailing process and correspondence so much easier, and I hope that it will streamline the process as we get closer to the camp. A lot of what I’m doing now is preparing for the later months, when a lot of different parts come together in finalizing and coordinating the camp. Organizing everything now will hopefully make that a lot smoother for everyone – especially the campers!

My main goal in all of my communications with the parents and students is to make this process as stress free as possible. I’ve encouraged all of them to reach out if they have any questions, and I look forward to helping them in any way that I can. It’s truly been a wonderful experience hearing parents support their children’s writing, and hearing why students are so excited about participating.

Happy Spring Break!

-Jamie Crow


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