An Overview of YouthWrite Peak II Experience 2019

 Ages 15-19: July 7-12, 2019 at Kamp Kiwanis, Bragg Creek, AB


Course selection will open in June and will be based on order of PAID and COMPLETE registrations. If you want your favourite courses, please complete your registration ASAP!



Prepare your application documents - Info Sheet



For ages 8-11, please see our River Valley Daycamp Experience 2019


For ages 12-14, please see our Peak I Experience 2019

 Never been to Kamp Kiwanis? Visit this page for the address and a link to Google Maps.


Cost: $650 


(Price includes: tuition, supplies, meals, snacks, accommodation and entertainment.)

PLEASE NOTE:  We strive to make YouthWrite affordable to every applicant. YouthWrite Society Canada, our granting agencies, donors and sponsors subsidize 50% of the FULL costs to attend camp for ALL YouthWriters.

YouthWrite fees include 12 hours of daily instruction/activity led by highly qualified instructional and supervisory staff, round-the-clock supervision, three meals a day + snacks, all supplies and accommodation. Each participant receives a complimentary copy of YouthWrite: the Magazine.


Our Fabulous Instructors (Updates continue!)

Ghada Alatrash is a Syrian-Canadian.  She holds her PhD in Educational Research from the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary.  She is currently teaching at Mount Royal University.  Her research speaks to the lived experience of the Syrian Diaspora in Canada. She is the author of Stripped to the Bone: Portraits of Syrian Women and she has been invited to speak on her book as a TEDx speaker.  She is also a Globe and Mail opinion columnist. Ghada has an MA in English Literature from the University of Oklahoma. She has also been profiled in several media including CBC, PBS, BBC, Aljazeera,and Gulf News, among others. 


 On Identity - During our week together, explore and write about the topic of "identity."  We will consider identity through different lenses, and critically think, altogether, about how our identities have come to define us as human beings in this world.  We will hear human stories and voices that teach us about other ways of knowing the world, and consider the forces that have come to shape our own ways of knowing and our identities.  We will write it all in poetry and/or short stories.



Aaron Coates is a director, writer, actor, and the Associate Artistic Director of Cowtown Opera.  He studied acting at Mount Royal University and at École Philippe Gaulier in Paris. His writing credits include: Pratfall,The Pants, On a Twitch, The End of the Rope (shortlisted for the Writers Guild of Alberta Award for Drama), and the libretto for the opera Annie Davidson. Aaron spent nine years with Dirty Laundry, Calgary’s improvised soap opera, where he directed over 150 episodes.


Eye Say - Discover characters by taking a walk in their shoes! We’ll improvise to find out what makes someone tick and then write from that experience. Where’s the story going to go? You’ll be in charge of it. Through the creation of an improvised soap opera, we’ll dream up a vibrant group of characters and take them on a rollicking adventure.

The Unter Dynasty! - In the Okanagan Valley, boat-sharing service UNTER has been a major success. The Enderby family has become rich and are now living the life of their dreams. But when you’re at the top, someone always wants in—or wants to take you down! The children are vying for control of the company, the CEO is fighting a new competitor, and family friends are not what they seem. Will the Enderbys stay afloat or sink into the murky darkness?



Laurel Deedrick-Mayne is an Edmonton writer whose debut novel, A Wake For The Dreamland won the Alberta Readers’ Choice Award (ARCA) in 2016, the Whistler Independent Book Award (WIBA) in 2018 and has been on Edmonton’s Best Seller List for 80 weeks. A late bloomer to publishing but a life-long third generation letter and story writer, Laurel celebrates the ‘love that dared not speak it’s name’ while paying tribute to the generation who took the time to hang on to family letters, clippings, stories and poetry — all those ‘treasures’ that inspired A Wake For The Dreamland.  Laurel is also a supporter of YouthWrite through her workshop, “Writers of the Lost Art”, offering young people hands-on experience in letter writing and mailing using multiple mediums from quill and ink to typewriters.


Writers of the Lost Art -  Forget texting, Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook messaging. Explore the old-timey lost art of handwriting letters to loved-ones, strangers, the famous or infamous. There’s nothing like sending and receiving something in the mail or discovering long-lost letters in an old attic trunk, in a bottle or behind the walls of an ancient house.  Bring your favourite pen and at least four (4) postal (mailing) addresses. We’ll use old typewriters, quill and ink, a variety of paper (maybe we’ll even make our own) wax seals, postcards and postage stamps. Oh yes, and we’ll also look at how integrating letters in your fiction can be a wonderful way to shape character, develop plot and add tension or mystery to your work.



Kris Demeanor is a songwriter, poet, theatre and film artist who has released seven recordings of original songs, most recently Entirely New Beasts. Kris was the inaugural Poet Laureate of Calgary (2012-14) and co-edited with Dymphny Dronyk The Calgary Project, a compilation of poetry by Calgary writers.  HIs most recent publication is the instructional manual How to be an Asshole of Calgary. In 2015 Kris was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award as best supporting actor for his role in the film The Valley Below. Recent work includes Making Treaty 7, a multi-disciplinary show featuring First Nations and non-aboriginal artists illuminating Alberta's history, writing songs for CBC’s The Irrelevant Show, collaborating with Ian Tyson on two songs for his latest record; and Shelter From the Storm, a songwriting project with clients of Calgary's Drop-in Centre. This past October, Kris debuted his one-man show of music and monologue, Russell: Straight Up, a comedic take on the enabled white male.


Lyrical Miracles - If you write poetry, stories, or spoken word, you’re already a songwriter! A beat and a melody can be the perfect delivery system for creative language, and you don’t have to know how to play a note on an instrument to write an amazing song lyric. Feel a level of comfort and confidence in the world of marrying lyric with sound, and celebrate your individual voices as well as experience the singular joy of musical collaboration with others. (If you've got an instrument, bring it along!)


Wally Diefenthaler loves his ‘76 VW Westphalia almost as much as he loves teaching. More importantly he loves learning, teaching, thinking, and living the dream. A long time social studies teacher, Wally has been around long enough to remember the ‘60s, revile the ‘90s and embrace the present. Along the way he's had time to think, talk and write about how he arrived at this moment. How do we know who we are and what we could become? We stop, look and listen to our world to find our place in it. It’s the journey not the destination.

I see my light come shining                                             

From the west unto the east

Any day now, any day now

I shall be released. - Bob Dylan 1967


Thinking Critically! Acting Thoughtfully!-  How do we address issues of injustice and privilege? What can we do to increase awareness about environmental concerns both locally and globally?  Let's begin by thinking and talking about questions and issues that we face in our personal and public lives. How do we foster hope and courage to meet the challenges that seem overwhelming to us? How do we act thoughtfully to make meaningful change? Let’s take the week ahead of us to reaffirm who we are and think about where we are going and what we want in this beautiful world. Let’s look, listen and write! Let’s dance!  Let’s create beautiful words! Let’s have fun! 



Jacqueline Guest, international award winning author of nineteen novels,has stood on an iceberg, flown a kite in a hurricane, ridden an elephant and dodged hungry lions all while on the job as a writer!  Her fast-paced novels have topics that range from deadly video games to comic book superheroes and mysterious meteorites!  She has over twenty years of experience working with students of all ages and has taught reading and writing workshops across Canada, the US and as far off as Africa. In 2017, Jacqueline was awarded the Order of Canada.


Building Your Story from the Bones Out

When it comes to great stories, there is a system that ensures success with teachers, editors and publishers.  Join Jacqueline to discover how this mysterious system works.  This is the juice – it’s the same system Jacqueline uses to create her novels.  Every writer needs to keep their early works for posterity, which means, yes! We will be building TIME CAPSULES and stuffing them full of your excellent essays, perfect poems and adorable doodads!



Mary Pinkoski is a Canadian poetry slam champion, the 5th Poet Laureate of the City of Edmonton, and the 2019 Edmonton Public Library Regional Writer in Residence. Her writing finds rest within the forms of poetry, prose, creative nonfiction, and nonfiction. Mary’s work has appeared in numerous anthologies, magazines, and journals, and she has performed on stages across North America and Europe. These days Mary devotes most of her time to using writing to contribute to community-building initiatives. When she not writing creatively, Mary is completing a PhD at the University of Alberta in the Faculty of Education.


Big Magic & Tiny Tenderness: Writing in Small Sacred Spaces - Some of the most profound writing comes in mysteriously small packages: the haiku, the one-minute slam poem, micro-fiction, the Twitter novel, the graffiti, the margin notes.  Setting for ourselves new daily limits in form/space, our class will focus on experimenting with writing the vast in the tiniest of spaces (the matchbox, a piece of bark, the back of a postcard). We will look at the mystical masters of short form writing and take our prompts, cues, and spaces from their words.





 Pam Rocker














Rachel Ann is a fun-loving, full-time yoga teacher in Calgary. She is recognized with Yoga Alliance as an ERYT-500 and has traveled far and wide to deepen her understanding of yoga. She has done over 800 hours of training and continues to explore the bio-mechanics of yoga and functional movement. Rachel loves to laugh until it hurts and lets loose on the dance floor. She dances like no one is watching and some of the best advice she ever got was to just 'be herself.' She's silly, outgoing and free in all aspects of her life.

Yog-A-Venture Within - Come fly high on your mat and explore your inner world as we embark on a journey. A journey to the most amazing place you will ever visit. A journey to your inner most being! Move, dance, yell, laugh, write, meditate and travel into the unknown to unveil the majestic and unlimited YOU!! Feel inspired to bring a blanket, pillow, eye mask if you have one and of course your willingness to dive in head first.



Loren Spector is a Calgary visual artist and printmaker, whose work has been exhibited both locally and internationally.   She is an art teacher, a reckless skier and freestyle golfer, and mom to two energetic children who keep her on her toes.  She looks forward to her time at YouthWrite as a highlight of the summer, because of the creative young people she gets to work with there.


Identity Express - Bring your favorite words, sayings, slogans and lyrics to this session, and we will bring them to life in a visual art context. In this studio class, participants will examine their own self-identity while creating small and beautiful paintings that illustrate and are illustrated by text. This is where visual art meets writing, as your words inspire mixed-media images. Bring painting clothes, a head full of ideas, and a photo or two of yourself. Oh ya, and bring that fearless imagination, too!



Thomas Trofimuk is an Edmonton writer who does not come lightly to the blank page. He has four novels out in the world (The 52nd Poem, Doubting Yourself to the Bone, Waiting for Columbus, and This is All a Lie) and has just completed a fifth. He’s a long-time teacher atYouthWrite who is obsessed with fonts, who knows exactly what he’s feeling at all times and wants you know it, and is a world-famous-spasmodic-dancer who without a doubt trained with the Bolshoi Ballet Company.


Imagine this or What to do if you wake up at 3 a.m. and there’s a five-ton elephant standing in your bedroom.”  Take a guided exploration of the exotic world of “Anything Can Happen,” where a fool is King, his advisors are all chimpanzees that read only Dostoevsky, the sky is green every second Wednesday, and everything is a lie. Produce a small collection of imagined stories by week’s end. 




Joshua Whitehead is a Two-Spirit, Ojibwe-Cree member of Peguis First Nation (Treaty 1). He is the author of full-metal indigiqueer and Jonny Appleseed which was nominated for the 2018 Giller Award. Currently, he studies Indigenous Literatures and Cultures and creative writing at the University of Calgary (Treaty 7).

Writing with the Body - Survey your body in hopes of finding stories that may be written on the skin or in the blood. The best stories are written sensually with all of our senses intact. Think about the ways our bodies have been disowned, disempowered, or dislocated in all of the ways the world asks us to disregard our bodies (i.e. through race, queerness, disability, trauma, gender, sex, sexuality, age, etc.). Instead, you'll celebrate the body as kin, perhaps a writing partner, in thinking about the kinds of narratives singing from within the folds, scars, bends, sagging of our bodies. Take your scenes and expand them in ways that are more language based through a game I like to call "language diving."


Spyder Yardley-Jones is a quiet guy who keeps to himself.  He's a visual artist who paints, cartoons, sculpts and does all kinds of art stuff.  He's been teaching at YouthWrite forever, and get this: the big lug works at the Art Gallery of Alberta as an art handler.  Spyder illustrated an award-winning graphic novel and causes trouble with his art shows. He's ok in my books, that bald, bearded, tattooed so 'n so.
Legends of the Mask - Mask making is back! Create and write your own legend. Then using supplied recycled materials, make a wearable or wall-mount mask of your legend. Feel free to bring specific material you feel will enhance your mask.


Our Special Guest...


Brandon Wong


And of course...

The Amazing Peak II Supers:


Elena Belyea is thrilled to be returning for her sixth summer at YouthWrite! Elena is a queer playwright, performer, producer, arts educator and Artistic Director of Tiny Bear Jaws, a little theatre company with teeth. Her plays have been produced across Canada and received numerous awards, including first place in the 2015 Wildside National Playwriting Competition with Cleave (also included as part of the Playwrights Guild of Canada's Surefire List). Elena was also the recipient of the Tarragon Theatre's 2018-2019 Emerging Playwright AWard and is a graduate of the University of Alberta as well as the National Theatre School of Canada. She's gaga for Gail!


Headshot credit: Laurence Philomene






Nick Carter (Lead Super) is a filmmaker and writer based in Toronto and Edmonton who’s returning to YouthWrite for a sixth glorious summer. Most recently, Nick has finished production on a bird-calling and slug wriggling short film entitled A Present For Your Presence and is currently developing a number of original shorts and features. Gail is someone he likes and admires very much. 


Anna Cooley (Lead Super) first came to YouthWrite as a camper in 2000, started as a Super in 2009 and is thrilled Gail has invited her back once again! Anna is a filmmaker who writes, directs, designs and shoots. Her love of collaboration has taken her around the world this year, shooting documentaries about Whisky in Scotland, Dogs in Morocco and Goats in Italy. Anna co-founded Erratic Pictures, a production company that makes films and explores the potential for storytelling using virtual reality. She is on the board of the Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers where she also runs the Summer Media Arts Camp. She has a dog named Lola who is the best.







Jenny Hill just graduated from U of A with an elementary education degree. In addition to her time at YouthWrite last summer, she worked as a travel guide leading trips throughout the Canadian Rockies. Her Education practicum took her to Jasper, Alberta and she absolutely loved being in the mountains. Jenny also worked in a French immersion school as an EA and took a reading assessment and diagnosis class at university and spent 6 weeks in a grade one class helping students who struggle with reading. It was so rewarding and beautiful to see students starting to read and write their own wonderful stories. She just spent a blissful time in Honduras but is excited to rejoin the YouthWrite team where she hopes to be Gail's favourite.
Joey Lucius is a writer and performer from Edmonton. He is a Canadian Comedy Award Winner and Canadian Screen Award nominee for his work on YTV’s That’s So Weird. Joey also performed 11 seasons with the award-winning Rapid Fire Theatre. Currently, Joey is wrapping up a Bachelor of Education at the University of Alberta. He is so excited to be spending his summer with some amazing YouthWriters! Yeet! ...Did I use that right? Oh, yes, and Gail - did I mention how delighted I am to be working with Gail?


Miranda Martini is a musician and writer based in Calgary. She performed in and co-wrote music for the play John Ware Reimagined, which had its second run at Edmonton's Workshop West Theatre in 2017. When she's not busy working as part of the communications team for the Students' Association of Mount Royal University, she acts as Music Lead for Calgary Queer Church and sings in and sits on the board for Blend Vocal, a women's singing ensemble. As always, she’s excited to be back at YouthWrite which she attended as a camper from 2001 to 2005, so she loves Gail the most!







Morgan Moffatt is over the moon about returning for her sixth year at YouthWrite!  Having discovered the joy of the fine arts while attending high school, Morgan pursued a Bachelor of Education degree, minoring in fine arts, from the University of Alberta. After graduation, Morgan began her teaching career at the same school where Gail worked! She therefore loves Gail the most out of any other super. With 6 years of teaching under her belt, Morgan is enjoying life as a grade1 and 2 teacher in Vancouver. When she isn’t molding the minds of tomorrow, she enjoys reading, bird watching and long walks on the beach.







YouthWrite Coordinator:

Gail Sidonie Sobat  is a multi-award-winning teacher and author, with eleven books for children, teens and adults, and a number of educational and academic articles. She is the YouthWrite creator/ coordinator, an international presenter, an instructor in the professional writing program at MacEwan University and in the Faculty of Education at U of A, is The Writers' Union of Canada Regional Representative for Alberta, NWT and Nunavut, and was writer in residence with the Metro Edmonton Federation of Libraries (2015). Gail is a 2016-2017 Global News Woman of Vision and a 2017 Arts and Culture Citation Award recipient. She has moved thirty-two times in her life from Badlands to Siksika Nation Reserve to hideous suburbs to Istanbul to the Sunshine Coast to her writer’s garret in a century-old temperamental house. She adores all of her Supers equally, and loves YouthWrite madly!