Never too young to write
By Anthony D. Alonzo Post-Tribune correspondent October 18, 2012 2:36PM
Marcia Ritchea (right), a librarian at the Hageman Branch of the Westchester Public Library in Porter, Ind., leads a discussion of the Elite Young Writers' Club on Oct. 8, 2012. | Anthony D. Alonzo~For Sun-Times Media
AT A GLANCE
Call 926-9280 for more information about the Elite Young Writers’ Club.
Updated: November 20, 2012 10:44AM
Several Porter County youths find themselves at a major intersection of creativity and friendship, thanks to a library-sponsored club for writers.
A core group of six girls meets weekly at the Hageman Branch of the Westchester Public Library in Porter as part of the Elite Young Writers’ Club.
They draw ideas from spirited discussions while forming new social bonds.
After just two meetings of a group that morphed from a journaling club, characters and story lines are developing for a centerpiece project.
“Our story is about a girl who goes into a library and picks out a book,” said Eleanor Boyle, a seventh-grader at St. Patrick School in Chesterton. “The book (sends her) into a fantasy world, and my job is to come up with the reason she’s in the library and what draws her to that book.”
Boyle said another benefit of the club was the chance to befriend students like Elise Brack of Chesterton Middle School and Hannah Burney of Willowcreek Middle School in Portage.
Even small groups of motivated people can make an impact on society.
Based on the enthusiasm displayed, club coordinator Marcia Ritchea is encouraged.
“The girls are all in here because they want to be here,” said Ritchea, a Hageman librarian who said her son is into creative writing in college. “This is hard because it’s a collaboration; you have six or seven brains going, and now, (they) have to make up one story. It’s exciting.”
Ritchea said each member’s input is important. She offers adult guidance, but the girls’ collective creativity drives each meeting.
Although the members’ ideas tend to reflect their experiences as teen and pre-teen girls, they said boys are welcome to join.
“I came here and saw this piece of paper that said ‘creative writing’ and I thought just like that, ‘I want to go,’ ” said Hannah Green of Porter. “It’s really fun because we get to meet different people with different personalities, and you get to know them a lot better.”
Green said she based some of her current reading, such as “Old Yeller” and “Hunger Games,” on advice from her older brother.
Ritchea said members will create a story that will be bound for each participant to take home. Although the library cannot publish it, Ritchea said she would suggest online resources for reaching a broader audience.
Discovery Charter School students Penelope and Madison Prokuski — sisters who are 12 and 11 — said their attitudes toward the club changed from a “mom signed me up” motivation to their recent assessment that they “found it really interesting.”