Spartanburg summer camp aims to develop empathy in teens

June 27, 2017

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – A new summer camp in Spartanburg is teaching teens about empathy.

It’s the first ever Writing For Empathy camp being held at the Chapman Cultural Center.

The week-long camp gives teens in grades 8 through 10 a safe space to express themselves through creative writing.

The camp includes teens from across Spartanburg County and the hope is being exposed to diverse experiences and backgrounds will open their eyes to new perspectives.

Students are working on everything from poetry to fiction and journaling.

The camp is free for students thanks to grants from the South Carolina Humanities and Arts commissions.

Camp Director and novelist Michel Stone came up with the idea for the camp after the church shooting in Charleston.

She hopes these students can take what they learn this week and use it in their everyday lives.

“Writing can be a really cathartic activity. I think particularly for teenagers that’s really something powerful to tap into. I hope they leave here feeling more confident about writing, more comfortable in creating their own writing and just to see the world from a different lens than they did when the camp started,” Stone told 7News.

At the end of the week all of the students’ work will be compiled into an anthology to be presented to their parents.

This is the first year for the camp and Stone hopes they can bring it back every summer to teach more teens these valuable lessons.

To be part of the camp, students can nominate themselves, parents can nominate their kids or teachers can nominate their students.