These day camps are a far cry from the Kumbaya singing, potholder weaving, and vicious Red Rover playing I remember from summers of yore. No wonder Jessica Baloun, Camp Director for Third Place Books’ Young Booksellers Guild Day Camp commented, “So many adult bookworms half-jokingly told me, ‘If only you’d extend the age limit to 45, I’d sign up in a heartbeat!'”
Baloun, a Third Place bookseller for two years with ten years’ experience in education (including with Seattle Children’s Theatre) was galvanized by a Shelf Awareness article that mentioned the literary camps at BookPeople in Austin, TX. Drawing inspiration from “the strengths of our own wonderful bookstore,” Baloun designed a curriculum to let young booklovers experience exciting new sides of the book world. Campers become Honorary Booksellers and see behind-the-scenes at Third Place.
“I was fortunate to be allowed to use our resources – creative staff, available space, and an enthusiastic community – to make this idea a reality,” said Baloun. In addition to previewing books before they are on sale, Honorary Booksellers hone their writing and illustration skills. The campers work with Third Place Press‘s designer Vladimir Verano to print and bind their own books on the Espresso Book Machine, and they share their finished books at the store’s story time.
Third Place offered two sessions of half-day camps (August 5-9 and August 12-16) this first year, and they were nearly sold out before the first session began.
Village Books in Fairhaven, WA hosted a week-long half-day summer camp for booklovers August 5 -9, too. Christina Claasen, event coordinator for the store, shared enthusiasm for Camp Village Books, a summer tradition.
Village Books campers enjoy a different theme every day, plus field trips around historic Fairhaven. For example, Art Day included a visit to Bellingham artist Ben Mann‘s studio. What a fun way to explore the town– and the bookstore!
Village Books also shared information about Innovation & Literary DIGIVATIONS Camp Demigod (a.k.a. the world’s first overnight Camp Half-Blood, inspired by the Rick Riordan books) at Point Roberts. During the week-long camp where kids learn about Ancient Greece, science, literature, theatrical combat (from the sword masters involved in “Master & Commander”!) design and build labyrinths, make art, music and so many other cool things. As Lindsey McGuirk at Village Books writes, “It’s an incredibly extensive camp and the perfect way to end what’s already been an epic summer.” Week-long camps run August 11-18 and August 18-25.