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Young Authors Camp

For over 72 years Cranbrook has offered the community the opportunity to share in the Booth family's vision to develop and nurture the creative and performing arts. Founded upon the principle that all young people can benefit and enrich their lives from exposure to music and art, Young Authors Day Camp has been a treasured part of the Schools' programming and community outreach. True to Cranbrook's earliest traditions celebrating the joys of scholarship, Young Authors Day Camp was established to encourage exploration of language crafts in a truly creative environment.

About the Camp

(coed, entering grades 2-8 in Fall 2023)
General Information
Campers experience being authors, illustrators, editors, and published writers while strengthening their love for creative writing. Each week focuses on a new and different theme that takes campers on a journey through different genres, including science-fiction, fantasy, horror, mythology, poetry, and graphic novels. Young Authors are grouped by grade level for sustained independent writing and developing significant works with peer input. Language-based games, small group story writing experiences, and creative writing adventures add to the unique writing experience Cranbrook has to offer. Each week campers select, edit, revise, and publish a piece for the annual Young Authors Anthology. Each week ends with an Authors Share where campers share a piece of their writing with the group. Throughout the summer, we may also have the opportunity to explore the Cranbrook House and Gardens, in addition to receiving a historical tour of Saarinen House.

Important Note: Young Authors Day Camp is not a summer school or a remedial or English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) program. This camp is writing-intensive and encourages and inspires young writers to try new techniques while encouraging creativity and having fun.

A Day in the Life
Each day begins with a whole-group-themed writing prompt to get the creative minds flowing. In their respective groups, campers then focus on the weekly themes through daily mini-lessons, art projects, and literacy games that guide campers through language study, story organization, and character development. Daily lunch and recess allow for refueling and brain breaks. Campers go on daily afternoon writing adventures to explore and get inspired by Cranbrook’s beautiful campus. Some of our favorite spots are Magic Tree, Japanese Gardens, The Kingswood Courtyard, Crying Zeus, Snake Rock, and Triton Pools, to name a few. Swimming, art projects, and author and illustrator visits help bring balance and create a fun and nurturing environment for our aspiring young authors.

Basic Daily Schedule
  • Drop-Off, welcomes, daily writing prompt
  • Introductions, rules & expectations, snack time, ROCKSTAR
  • Swim, if scheduled
  • Lesson 1: First writing lesson/themed writing prompt
  • Bathroom and wash hands
  • Lunch
  • Recess
  • Bathroom break
  • Writing Adventure & Lesson 2
  • Bathroom break
  • Lesson 3: Last writing lesson/themed writing prompt
  • Nominate ROCKSTAR of the day
  • Dismissal 
Week 1: The Art of Storytelling
Have you ever wondered what makes a good story? In a fun and creative setting, we dive into the basics of the creative writing process through morning prompts, daily mini-lessons, writing adventures, and literacy games. Campers learn to organize a story through beginning, middle, and end while focusing on character building and telling the story from their perspective. Campers choose a favorite piece from the week to edit and revise through both self and peer revision, ending the week with a final and published piece for the annual anthology and an opportunity to share their work at our Authors Share. Week 1 may feature an author visit to promote and inspire our creativity. Campers listen to a presentation by the author and have an opportunity to ask questions.

Week 2: Famous Authors and Characters
Week 2 focuses on famous authors and their characters-- Jeff Kinney, Judy Bloom, Beverly Cleary, Roald Dahl, J.K. Rowling, and Suzanne Collins, to name a few! We immerse ourselves in their works, studying different genres and paying close attention to their characters through morning prompts, daily mini-lessons, writing adventures, and literacy games. Campers choose their favorite character to feature in their own story and embark on an adventure with that character. Campers edit and revise through both self and peer revision, ending the week with a final and published piece for the annual anthology and sharing their work at our Authors Share. Week 2 features a camp-wide dress-up day where campers and staff are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite character. The group with the most participation wins a special prize!

Week 3: Building a Story with LEGOs®
If you like to play with your words, this week is for you! While continuing to strengthen and develop our storytelling ability through morning prompts, daily mini-lessons, writing adventures, and literacy games, campers embark in a hands-on component. Campers build their way to seeing their works come alive using LEGO®s to render their characters, scenes, and events from their stories. We begin the week with a wild and wacky collection of mini-figures, and campers will use their imagination to create characters and stories for their chosen mini-figs. We also use LEGO®s to develop and write about our dream house, where reality's "normal" rules do not apply! Campers will later have the opportunity to create stories and poetry using LEGO® word bricks. Campers edit and revise through both self and peer revision ending the week with a final and published piece for the annual anthology and sharing their work at our Authors Share.

Week 4: Greek Mythology
Titans, gods, monsters, creatures, and mortals influence our writing as we study the legends and myths surrounding Greek Mythology. Characters like Zeus, Ares, Athena, and Cyclops appear in our morning prompts daily mini-lessons, writing adventures and art projects as campers work towards creating their own mythical story. Groups create protagonists that battle monsters, discuss a hero's journey, learn about origin stories within Greek mythology, and then create their own story. Campers edit and revise through both self and peer revision ending the week with a final and published piece for the annual anthology and sharing their work at our Authors Share.

Week 5: Caption This!
Campers focus on illustration while examining famous artworks, wordless picture books, and storybooks to see how the author or artist uses pictures to communicate to their audience. Campers witness firsthand how an illustration portrays the story’s setting and the character’s feelings and emotions. They learn how to capture their audience, bringing them into their story. Campers write perspective pieces and detailed descriptions about well-known works of art such as The Nighthawks, Girl With the Pearl Earring, the Mona Lisa, Starry Night, and more throughout the week. Campers peruse wordless picture books and graphic novels, creating captions and stories to go with the images. They learn how character development in writing is like painting: there can be many layers before the product is complete. After self and peer editing, campers have a piece and an illustration to publish in the annual anthology and show their work at our Authors Share.

Week 6: Thinking in the Box: Comic Heroes and Villains
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to visit Gotham? What does Batman do in his free time? How would it feel to fly like Wonder Woman? What does the Hulk like to eat for breakfast? We answer these questions as campers join in on a literacy adventure through comic books and graphic novels. Each day, campers participate in morning prompts, daily mini-lessons, writing adventures, and art projects that inspire and motivate them towards writing and illustrating their very own comic strips. At the end of the week, campers select their favorite piece to revise and publish in the annual anthology. Campers also share their comics during our Authors Share. Week 6 features a camp-wide dress-up day where campers and staff are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite superhero or villain. The group with the most participation wins a special prize!

Week 7: Out of This World!
Do you like to look up at the stars? Have you ever thought about going to the moon? Outer space is a mysterious and intriguing place that campers explore through morning prompts, daily mini-lessons, writing adventures, and art projects. Campers choose their favorite piece from the week to edit and revise through both self and peer revision ending the week with a final and published piece for the annual anthology and sharing their work at our Authors Share.

Week 8: Spooky Stories
We all know the thrill of hearing a good scary story! This week, campers explore mysterious and creepy things while they listen to----and compose----spooky stories. Just like the tales spun in the Scary Stories and the Goosebumps series, campers will read a variety of classic scary tales, focusing on characters, setting, plot, descriptive details, and suspense. After gaining insight on what makes a good spooky story, campers work in groups to create their goose-bump-inducing tale. They perform their tale at the end of the week for Authors Share.

Weekly themes subject to change.

Lunch, Snacks, and Allergies
Lunches and snacks are included in tuition and are provided by Chartwells Dining Services. They are a nut-free organization that caters to Cranbrook Schools during the academic year. Special arrangements can be made for campers with food allergies. Lunches are served in the Cranbrook Kingswood Middle School for Girls – Kingswood Dining Hall.

Open Swim
Campers swim at Cranbrook's Williams Natatorium. Swim tests are conducted on the first day. Campers who fail or prefer not to take the test are supplied with life jackets and remain in the shallow end of the pool. Campers are allowed to retake the test at any time. The Natatorium staff includes a full-time and certified pool manager, certified lifeguards, and our trained camp staff who serve as lookouts.

At a minimum, Cranbrook’s COVID-related protocols will comply with applicable State of Michigan mandates and align with Oakland Country Health Division and the American Camp Association.
Available Options
The following options can be combined to meet your needs. For example, you can choose morning Transportation Service and afternoon Extended Care. Logistical information for these additional options are provided in the Parent Welcome Packet emailed to registrants closer to the start of camp.
Extended Care
Extended Care is available beginning at 7 AM and ending at 6 PM. Afternoon care includes a snack. Campers enjoy activities, games, and open time outside and in the gym. Extended Care is located at Cranbrook Lower School Brookside. Campers are bused to/from camp each day. Extended Care is also a nice option for families with multiple children attending more than one of our camps to reduce the number of pick-up points; parents/guardians simply pick up and drop off all children attending Extended Care at Brookside.

Transportation Service

Transportation Service is available to shuttle campers to and from specific stops in Birmingham (8:10 AM / 3:45 PM), Rochester Hills (7:45 AM / 3:45 PM), Royal Oak (7:50 AM / 4:05 PM), and Troy (8:10 AM / 4:10 PM). Times and locations are subject to change. Campers who are not picked up in time will be transported to Extended Care.

After Camp Activities
After Camp Activities include Chess and Coding. Space is limited. These activities are located at Cranbrook Lower School Brookside. Campers are bused from camp each day. Pick-up is at Brookside.

Communication & Photos
Parents/guardians are emailed a newsletter each week that includes a recap from the prior week, highlights for the following week, and updated group lists. Daily camp photos are posted on a secure website for you to see each day. Enhanced options include saving favorite photos, facial recognition with push notifications when a photo of your child is uploaded, posting to social media, emailing a photo to family, customizing photo gifts, and ordering high-resolution digital downloads or prints.

Why Cranbrook Schools Summer Camps?
Cranbrook Educational Community, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, is one of the world’s leading centers of education, science, and art. Comprising a graduate Academy of Art, contemporary Art Museum, House and Gardens, Institute of Science, and PreK-12 independent college preparatory Schools, Cranbrook welcomes thousands of visitors, students, and campers to its campus each year.

Founded by Detroit philanthropists George and Ellen Booth in 1904, Cranbrook’s 319-acre campus features the work of world-renowned architects such as Eliel Saarinen, Albert Kahn, Steven Holl, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, Rafael Moneo, Peter Rose and sculptors Carl Milles, Marshall Fredericks and others. Critics have called Cranbrook "the most enchanted and enchanting setting in America" and in 1989, it was designated a National Historic Landmark.

Cranbrook Schools Summer Camps operate under Cranbrook Schools in a dedicated department named Special and Summer Programs. This year-round department focuses solely on summer camps, after-school programs, school rentals, and the school store. The dedicated full-time staff in the department spend the entire year preparing for camp. During the summer, over 1,800 campers from 20 states and nine countries come to Cranbrook for their summer experience. The campus, its facilities, the highly skilled and committed service departments such as Cranbrook's 24/7 security department, and all of Cranbrook's employees, residential faculty, and guests create a wonderful environment for children to learn and have fun. 

Each camp includes a dedicated Director, Assistant Director, Office Administrator, Instructors, and Counselors. Each age-aligned group has one or two counselors who remain with their campers throughout the day and take them to each of the instructional areas. The camps are accredited by the American Camp Association and licensed through the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
 Tuition and Fees
  • Tuition
    • Full Session (8 weeks): $2,850
    • Half Session (4 weeks): $1,550
    • Partial Session (1 week): $430
  • Fees
    • Cancellation Fee: $50 per week prior to 21 days of session start date. No refund within 21 days.
    • Rush Enrollment Fee: $35 per session within 21 days of session start date
    • Late Payment Fee: 10% of balance 21 days prior to session start date
  • Discounts
    • Early Enrollment Discount: $100/$50 off Full/Half sessions. Use code EARLY23 until 4/1/23.
    • Multi-Session Discount: $30 off each additional session. Applied automatically.
  • Financial Aid
    • Aid is available based on calculated need and availability of funds.
    • Awards range 0-50% of tuition and 0-100% of Extended Care; Excludes fees and other options.
    • Awards are funded by Cranbrook and other camp families.
    • To donate, visit our donation page.
    • To apply, complete the Parents' Financial Statement. Use SSS Code 9339.
  • Tuition Includes
    • Lunch
    • Morning and Afternoon Snacks
  • Options Available:
    • Morning Extended Care: $75 per week
    • Afternoon Extended Care: $95 per week
    • Transportation Service: $50 per way per week
    • After Camp Activities: $125
    • Camp Merchandise
    • Monthly Payment Plan: $0
Questions? Contact Special and Summer Programs at summer@cranbrook.edu, (248) 645-3674, or use our Contact Us form.

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Dates, Times & Locations