Every fall, the University of British Columbia (UBC) School of Creative Writing recruits graduate students to become New Shoots mentors. We pair each mentor with a participating Vancouver School Board (VSB) secondary school teacher. In the course of their work, mentors encourage students to explore and have fun with writing. They share their own craft, inspire students to take risks, and create a fun variety of activities and prompts to engage the class.
Whether a student is already interested in writing or has never wanted to do it before, they benefit richly from the skills they build during these sessions. The program does not give assignments, homework, or grades; as a result, participants have a nonjudgmental space in which to find their true voices. As writers, we know that creativity comes from freedom without pressure!
Mentors adapt and work with their students to select areas of interest for everyone. These can include comics, playwriting, memoir, flash fiction, poetry, and many more. Mentors also select works by a diverse selection of writers to share with students.
Many teen participants find that ‘spark’ and continue to develop projects they began as writing prompts in class. All New Shoots students are strongly encouraged to submit their work for consideration to the annual anthology.
If you’re a VSB teacher or UBC MFA/MACL student interested in joining the program, please contact us!