How we spent our summer vacation

This was an incredible summer at 826 Valencia. We launched a new summer program for our middle school youth leaders, hosted a bigger and better than ever Exploring Words Summer Camp in partnership with the Exploratorium, and held our first ever Young Authors’ Workshop at the Tenderloin Center.


Diego making ice cream (and writing about it!) at Exploring Words

Exploring Words Summer Camp 

This annual summer camp hosted forty students, most of whom are enrolled in our school-year programming, entering third through sixth grade. The five-week journey was held in partnership with the Exploratorium, with the mission of improving students’ curiosity, confidence, and skills through an integrated science and writing curriculum. Students explored weekly themes through both writing activities and hands-on science experiments, including topics like brain plasticity and the five senses. Their writing from the summer, which includes personal narratives, poems, songs, skits, stories, instruction manuals, sales pitches, and recipes, will be publishing in the forthcoming chapbook, This is the Wild. 

Youth leaders

Students from Exploring Leadership get ready to host a culmination ceremony.

Exploring Leadership Summer Camp 

This year we launched a new camp for our middle school school students. The program was designed to build leadership among our older students and give them a space to reflect, grow, and imagine their futures. Through team-building exercises, discussions, and written reflection, students developed their leadership skills and learned how to effectively tutor younger students using growth mindset, active listening, and conflict resolution skills. In the final two weeks of the camp, our young leaders joined the Exploring Words Summer camp as tutors. The younger students loved being tutored by their slightly older peers, who demonstrated tremendous growth throughout the summer. 


YAW students Martina and Edward with tutor Louise

The Young Authors’ Workshop 

Young Authors’ Workshop is a two-week intensive writing camp for high school students. Over the course of the program, the young authors, the majority of whom attend our partner high schools, explored a variety of forms, from poems to short stories to personal narratives. They also participated in daily “workshop groups” in which they shared aloud their writing from the day and got valuable feedback from their peers and tutors.  The workshop culminates with a reading for friends and family and the publication of a chapbook collection of the work the students are most proud of. This was the first year that this annual program took place at our new Tenderloin Center, where writing and workshopping in the treehouse was a favorite activity! 



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