I’m Ella Mercer. I recently participated in the One Voice Nashville Building Bridges camp. It was an incredible experience, one that I will never forget! I enjoyed every bit of it, and I also learned a whole lot! If you are looking into participating, here are some things you need to know:
You will learn a lot! I took 13 full pages of notes in 5 mornings! The best thing is, they weren’t the boring notes your teacher forces you to copy off the board; they were fun and interesting. My notebook that was given to me on the first day of camp is full of pages with notes on things from What is In my Heart? to Interview Ethics. We also talked about editing skills, and learned how to use GarageBand to edit our interviews. The finished products were all wonderful!
You don’t need to be a people person, have a special talent, or know anyone in the camp to have a good time. All you need is a love for writing and/or journalism. We had a free-writing period at the beginning of camp each morning to get our creative juices flowing. Afterwards, we would have a break. Both times really helped us get to know each other better. We soon found out that we all had at least one thing in common: we loved to write! This helped us become much closer. Once break was over we would go into our socratic seminar-like sessions where we took most of our notes. We learned everything we needed to know about narrative journalism, listening, improv-ing questions, and how not to mess up someone’s story.
Lastly, you should know that this camp is not a let-down. Everyone got to interview who they wanted. Mary Margaret Randall (creator of One Voice Nashville, and our instructor) scheduled last minute interviews with a lawyer, a doctor, even a singer/songwriter! She did an incredible job of making our interviews really something.
All in all, Building Bridges was an amazing experience for me. The learning, the people, and of course, Mary Margaret, made this camp really special. If I get the chance, I will definitely participate again.
(Ella is front row, sitting down).