I have seen advertisements for ‘Writers Retreats’, many times in online groups and local publications. Never did I think I would participate, let alone speak, at such an event. But here I was along with a room full of enthusiastic young writers.
The Retreat was called “Right to Write, Writers’ Retreat, 2016”. It was put on by the Oak Hill Young Writers’ Club. The quiet town of Sabattus Maine Is the home to the club. Melissa Ayres is the point person and leader for this band of excited writers.
Tom Block, a talented illustrator, Steven Powell gifted writer and myself, also a writer, were the guests for the day. I received a spirited introduction from one of my young fans who had read my book. ‘It does not get any better than that.’
After the introductions, the young writers were split equally between the three of us. Along with the kids were several parents and dedicated volunteers. I was able to discuss my book, and engage the kids about why they like to write, and some of the techniques I employ in my writing. The groups would rotate through after 20 minutes or so, giving each of us guests a manageable group to talk to.
Each time I have participated with the Young Writers’ Club, I have come away with a deep respect for the efforts of not only Melissa Ayres, but the whole community. The event was sponsored by local businesses who believe in promoting and encouraging their kids. Reading and writing are the foundations of education, and this town supports them.
I am honored to be invited as a speaker to this retreat. I would like to list the businesses that sponsored this event. Debbie Strout CPA, Percy’s Hardware, Sabattus Knights of Columbus, Sabattus Auto & Truck Sales, and Maine Family FCU. The support that these businesses show are what will make the future for these kids much brighter.
My hope is the vision this group has will take off and inspire more towns to form their own youth writing groups. Many of the kids told me things like, ‘I love to write, and I have several stories started, I just cant figure out which one to finish first.’ One of the writers club member has sent me several drafts of her first novel. I did not have half her talent at this age.
The final gift I received was from a writer who presented me with a drawing she made during the day. Having no children of my own, I do not get very many hand made drawings. I will find a suitable frame for it as a memento of my experience.
Thank you again Oak Hill Young Writers Club. You hav made my dreams come true.