Meet the 2019 Camp Director

Summer Ink is excited to introduce our new Camp Director, David Blake. David currently teaches 8th grade ELA at Pollard Middle School in Needham, and he has over 20 years of classroom teaching experience. David is also a veteran Summer Ink Senior Counselor and is looking forward to his new role as our Camp Director. Keep reading below for more information about David and his plans for the 2019 season!

 

What’s your best memory of being a Summer Ink Senior Counselor?

My first summer with Summer Ink provided me with my best experience. There have been many more since, but having come from a classroom setting, my very first day at camp was so memorable. Gone was the classroom, the school anxiety, the grades, and here were a group of young people who ranged from enthusiastic writers to reluctant ones—and they were all writing! The structured writing prompts really empowered the campers to write intensely focused, surprisingly personal pieces of writing. It was a revelation, really. Here we had a group of young people eager to cast off whatever preconceptions they had about writing, and in a “classroom” without walls, reinvent themselves.

What’s your take on how Summer Ink helps students improve their writing?

I think it comes down to two things. Our campers only retain the parts of themselves that advance the creative process, while showing a willingness to allow that there is a writer inside them—as there is in all of us. What they cannot rid themselves of is a desire to express themselves. It is an adolescent imperative to communicate how they experience the world. We’re just here to provide them the path to do that in a really concentrated manner.  

What do you like to do when you’re not teaching?

When I’m not teaching…I’m learning—learning how to be a better teacher, writer, cook, landscaper, dad. I love learning. It’s kind of an obsession. On a less serious note, my sons have been playing Magic: The Gathering card game, and it reminded me how much I love games—so I’ve been YouTubing the heck out of effective MTG deck-building. If it’s a weeknight and the Red Sox are playing, the game is on in the house. I really wanted to say something fitness-related, but I’m afraid that would just be fiction. I’m never in better shape than after my Summer Ink sessions!

What are you most looking forward to at camp this summer?

Reuniting with Summer Ink staff and campers who were with us last year, and welcoming all the new faces that will be with us this year. It’s really quite wonderful to see our returning campers after a year’s growth—as people and writers. Just thinking of all the wonderful adventures we’ll go on this summer, and the writing that will be born out of those adventures, has me wishing we were starting tomorrow.

What’s the last book you read? Any thoughts?

I recently re-read J.R.R Tolkien’s The Hobbit. My school has given us the opportunity to teach an “elective” English class next year and they were gracious enough to say yes to anything we wanted. I remembered the book from my adolescence and had read it several times throughout the years, but as a parent now I was struck by how great a role model is Bilbo Baggins. Here is an as apparently ordinary fellow as one could be, and he continue rises to the challenges before him. Though high fantasy, the message that each one of us is capable of great deeds is one we shouldn’t get tired of hearing.

How about a funny journal prompt? (Be creative!)

I’m not sure about the funniest. I think writing humor is the most difficult. I usually gravitate to prompts that present writers with opportunities in settings they know really well and emotions they are comfortable with, so they can incorporate details they know best while flavoring it with just the right amount of embellishment. So maybe something like “Tell me about a time when you tried something new and succeeded—or failed, but knew you felt committed to improve.” In fact, that might be just the kind of prompt that gets a session at Summer Ink off on the right foot.

Finally, tell us something about you that people wouldn’t know by looking at you.

I’m just as likely to be lost listening to a Puccini opera as I am to lose myself in three hours of video games (after my kids go to sleep, of course).

Summer Ink will not be holding its summer program in 2024. We will update our site when the program is back. Thank you for your interest; please email info@summerink.org with any questions.
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