Noble Central students earn scholarships to attend writing camp

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Three students at Noble Central School have received scholarships to attend a camp for young writers, something the camp co-ordinator calls “an anomaly,” and something their teacher says speaks to their talent with words.

Kayla Cole received the Leanne Scholarship on the strength of her poem titled “Deal Mom and Dad; Graycie HeavyShield received a scholarship from a private donor; and Hayden O’Brien was awarded a scholarship from CBC’s “Heartland” writer, Mark Haroun. The Leanne Scholarship is named for Leanne Palylyk, a young writer who was killed in a collision involving an impaired driver in 1988.

The Noble students will attend the YouthWrite Peak Experience at Kamp Kiwanis June 28-July 3. The camp is for writers aged 14 to 19. Kamp Kiwanis is located west of Calgary.

Noble Central teacher Desiree Lamb said she recommended all three students for scholarships because she sees how “truly talented they are.” Two of the three students, Cole and O’Brien, also recently competed in a poetry slam competition in Calgary.

Gail Sidonie Sobat, YouthWrite co-ordinator, said the scholarships are awarded based on excellence in writing, honest desire to attend the camp and financial need, as well as the strength of the letter of reference for the individual.

Each scholarship is work $575.

She says YouthWrite is an inclusive, multi-disciplinary writing camp that offers young writers the chance to work with instructors from many facets of the performing, visual, musical, dance, film, and written arts.

The camp provides “a safe place for young people to take artistic risks, to build confidence, and to hone important skills in thinking, speaking, listening and writing.”

“We focus on building literacy, critical and creative thinking, and youth leadership skills so essential to the 21st Century,” Sobat said in an email. “Throughout our history, many of our participants have gone on to study journalism, communications, English literature, creative writing, playwriting, filmmaking, screenwriting, to name only a few, and have found work in these professions”

The students at camp will have their choice of four of 16 courses to attend during the day. A mentor works one-on-one with each writer during camp, and writers have a chance to perform their work through the day. There are also typical camp activities such as nature walks and campfires.

The society that offers YouthWrite camps also now offer JustWrite, a camp for adult writers, including teachers who enjoy writing. The adult camp is hed at Edmonton’s Bennett Centre.

For more information on YouthWrite camps, visit the website at For information on the camp for adults, visit