From the parents of Ashley T.: The program was quoted by Ashley as being "the best two weeks of my life!" As parents, we felt comfortable entrusting our daughter to attend your writing program due to your excellent reputation, organization, and communication. The balanced academic approach, which included writing instruction and cultural activities, enhanced her overall learning experience.
Additionally, one of the strengths of the program was the selection of students that were able to relate to each other and share their passion for writing. The Teen Ink staff and chaperones created an atmosphere for positive interactions and developed camaraderie among the students that allowed our daughter to take risks and step out of her comfort zone. Out of this experience Ashley has developed more confidence, motivation and inspiration to pursue her life long writing goals. We feel that this unique, high quality writing program has made a significant impact on her life.
From the parents of Rachel C.: Based on the feedback I got from Rachel both during and after her time in New York I can wholeheartedly say the Teen Ink program was worth every penny we paid for it. Rachel received validation of her writing skills and valuable critiques that gave her a renewed passion to write.
She appreciated the various kinds of writing that were addressed - fiction, nonfiction, poetry, screenwriting, newspaper journalism - and was especially impressed by the prestigious writers she got to meet personally. The cultural aspects of the trip (theater, museums, etc.) were just icing on the cake. She was also highly complementary of your staff and the facilities at
the Julliard School. All in all, a job well done by Teen Ink
From the parents of Mia C.: I am so thankful for the Teen Ink Writing Program! My daughter has a renewed confidence in herself and her writing. She feels 'motivated' (her word) to continue honing her craft and see where it might take her. The girls she met also made a huge impact. Spending two weeks with a sorority of writers made her realize she wasn't an 'odd one out' and that there are dozens of other young women like herself with creativity pouring out of their fingers onto paper!
What I love most is how she took the initiative to connect other writers to discuss how they write, and what she can learn from them!!! She is no longer keeping her writing 'secret' but really open to input and collaboration. Wonderful stuff!
From the Parents of Emily B.: First I would like to thank you and all the staff of Teen Ink for all the hard work and support everyone put into the program to make this such a wonderful experience! It was an amazing opportunity for my daughter and one she will cherish for years to come. As parents, this program exceeded our expectations on many levels. Creative writing was (and is) the reason she applied for the program. The enrichment that Teen Ink included enhanced Emily's creativity and definitely gave her inspiration. The program has left a great impact on her. My daughter met some wonderful people, worked hard, had a lot of fun and came home with confidence and a vision regarding career choices! Wow...as a parent can you ask for anything more? :-) The updates you sent were great and well appreciated. Thanks again for all your time and effort. I know Emily looks forward to staying in touch with her new friends!
From the parents of Elizabeth E.: From what we heard back from Elizabeth, we were extremely pleased with the summer camp -- well worth the costs and Elizabeth's time! There seemed to be excellent organization and appropriate supervision. She loved the staff. What warmed my heart the most was to see the real growth in Elizabeth upon her return. She obviously had a lot of fun, but she was also challenged by the teachers -- and was appreciative of their efforts. On a personal note, I will never forget the look in her eyes when I picked her up at the airport. She couldn't wait to share the details of her NYC adventure. Frankly, we couldn't believe all that she got to do and see! I CANNOT thank you and your staff enough. You gave my incredible daughter a wonderful experience -- a gift -- she will never forget. BOTTOM LINE: ELIZABETH HAD A BLAST!
From the Parents of Linnea P.: We think you've created an outstanding program for these girls. Here are a number of the strengths of the program we've appreciated:
Great communication beforehand on what to expect and having the girls have some contact before they convened as a group. The location/accommodations seemed great and the suites seemed well set up. Linnea had lots of praise for the food.
Your attention to exposing the girls to a wide variety of writing genres has made a lasting impression on Linnea; I think she and the other girls now have a much better working knowledge of the different genres.
We had been tourists in NYC for several days before the program started, and we were all taxed by the traffic, the crowds, etc. But Linnea said that experiencing the city in doses with her small travel group each day made everything much more enjoyable. The opportunity to go to a number of shows was also incredible.
I was also impressed that the teachers used lots of great integration of what they were experiencing outside the classroom to what they were learning inside the classroom, which is a great way to teach.
Linnea also really enjoyed the authors and the editors who met with the class. The absolute highlight for her was the afternoon at the Times headquarters, so thanks much for those opportunities.
Open Mic night was also a hit, and I think it's a great idea to allow the girls the opportunity to share their writing with one another, and to do it twice, which virtually guarantees that the second time will be much richer as the girls better know what to expect.
From the parents of Cheyenne W.: I was very pleased with the program. We sent off our daughter worrying just a little about how she would fare on her own with so many different types of people. Well, we had nothing to fear. She has not stopped talking about the wonderful teachers, the classes and the events. She really loved the experience and especially feels like she has made some lifelong friendships. Thank you again for running such a wonderful program.
From the parents of Samantha F.: Thank you for allowing Samantha to participate in your NYC program. We appreciate the updates and the enrichment the program provided.
As a parent the program exceeded our expectations. Samantha was trying to determine if writing is the direction she wanted to pursue. This confirmed her belief. She thought the best part was being with peers that were not judgmental of her work and were willing to provide feedback and share insights. The outside of the classroom was just as important as the classroom itself. Confidence and believing in herself were the two biggest takeaways we noticed.
She spent her first night at home eading all her writings to us and sharing stories and picture. I do believe a number of the girls will stay in touch and I know that she has been chatting with some daily since the class.
Thank you to your team for trusting and believing in our daughter. Sam has thanked us over and over for allowing her to participate and enjoy the program. It will help with the challenge of completing the last year of high school and selecting a college. She enjoyed the instructors and all the guest speakers and the joy of using NYC as a backdrop for this once in a lifetime positive experience.
From the Parents of Kavya G.: Kavya isn't back home in Singapore yet, but I have only heard great things from her from whatever I have spoken to her.
She misses everyone and says its been the most brilliant experience she could ever have hoped to have at this age.
Thank you for giving my daughter this amazing gift of knowledge and friendship!
From the parents of Paige B.: From my perspective as a parent, this program was very well run and well organized. It was easy to get in contact with you and your staff either by phone or email, and my questions were always answered promptly. I liked the mix of sight-seeing/shows and classes/writing time.
Overall, the program was everything we hoped for and Paige will never forget it. She called me every morning and was full of excitement about what she had done the day before and equally enthused about what was planned for the coming day.
She knows she has grown as a writer and will be able to improve her work that is already in progress and has ideas for starting new pieces. The ability of the girls to start getting to know one another before the trip was very beneficial. I'm sure it helped eliminate that awkward time at the beginning of the program -- the ice was already broken! In fact, Paige says the people she got to know -- and she got to know everyone -- were the best part of the trip. Thank you for providing this opportunity to aspiring writers.
From the parents of Lydia W.: Many thanks to you and the wonderful staff of the Teen Ink Summer Program! Lydia was so thrilled to be included in the program. Her excitement truly began once she started receiving weekly emails during the month leading up to the arrival date. Each week she looked forward to getting an update about the activities, events, and participants. Creating the facebook page was a wonderful way for the girls to get to know each other a little bit before they arrived. The first day that we dropped off Lydia at the dorm, she was somewhat nervous, however, within the first 24 hours she called to let us know that she was already having an amazing time. From the writing classes, to the author visits, to the sightseeing, to the shows, she immersed herself in the program and loved every moment. For Lydia, I think that the most rewarding part of the program was getting to know so many unique, special and wonderful girls who all shared her love of writing. Although the program was only two weeks, she was able to build close and meaningful friendships and is looking forward to staying in touch with everyone. Lydia mentioned to me during her first day back home that she "felt homesick for New York" ...thank you for making her feel so at home and for providing her with an experience that she will always remember.
From the parents of Miranda M.: My daughter had a fantastic trip. She loved all the writing, all the tours and all the girls. This was her first trip away from home and family. May not seem like much but she doesn't like to even sleep over friends houses. Your staff kept an eye on her and even though she was initially homesick, she quickly regrouped. She wants to go back again next year. Thanks for including her. I would highly recommend Teen Ink to anyone with a teenage girl that loves to write. Miranda loved writing when she left and has showed no signs of slowing down.
From the parents of Melanie B.: Thank you so much for the fabulous program. I felt like it was such a good balance between serious training for budding writers, and various fun activities exploring New York City. My daughter had an amazing time! She came home saying, "All I want to do is write," and went on about how she learned a tremendous amount, not only about the art of writing, but also about the business side. She really liked that they were exposed to all different aspects of various writing fields. She was quite emotional when she came home, already missing her new friends and planning to keep in touch with many of them.
From the parents of Emily B.: There’s no way to express our gratitude and appreciation for the experiences Emily had last summer. It had a fantastic impact on her. She came home bubbling, chatting about new thoughts and concepts, reading sections from books she had purchased. She is blossoming and the time she spent with you all in New York has helped immensely to build her confidence and make her at ease with the journey of finding herself as a young woman. She’s doing well in school. She is opening up and reaching out for new experiences. We cannot thank you enough for the commitment you have to the development of children and adolescents across the globe. Writing opens the mind. Opens possibilities that would not exist otherwise. Emily loved her time with you all. My only concern is that it will be difficult to top next summer!
From the parents of Claire S.: We wanted to let you know how much we appreciate all that you and your staff did this summer for the teen writing program in New York. Our daughter, Claire, had a wonderful time and we are very grateful for all the hard work that we know went into making it such a successful program
It seemed like a perfect mix of writing opportunities, guest speakers/field trips, and cultural events. Claire spoke highly of the instructors for the writing classes and liked the mix of styles and modes (for example, screenplays and poetry as well as more “standard” writing instruction). She really loved the talks with the authors and the trip to the NY Times. She also told us how “inspiring” the trip to the Metropolitan Museum was.
For us, one of the most gratifying aspects of the two weeks was seeing how close Claire got to some of the other girls. They are still Facebooking (if that is a verb), and after getting used to not using the computer while at camp they were even inspired to hand write and send actual letters to each other! In her few other overnight camp experiences in the past, Claire experienced some significant homesickness and was relieved to get back to her friends at home. This time, she didn’t want to leave the program when it was time to go home, and she came home bubbling about all of her new best friends. We believe this difference reflects the skills and focus of your staff – to help the girls get to know and support each other right from the beginning and to then provide plenty of opportunities for the girls to bond further throughout their time together. We greatly appreciate your choice of counselors, and your staff’s efforts in this regard.
Again, thank you for having provided this wonderful experience for our daughter.
on Teen Ink's 2011 NYC Writing Program
From the Parents of Kat B.: My daughter, Kathryn, had the “time of her life” during the program in NYC. She thought the girls were some of the nicest, sweetest people she’s ever met. The balance between writing instruction and cultural events seemed to be perfect. The counselors and chaperones were extremely warm and caring. I think you did a fantastic job with the emails and facebook before the program started. This developed a community feeling amongst the girls that you were able to capitalize on once the program started. The housing and location was great. It gave Kat a sense of being part of larger artistic community. Most importantly, I think you were able to help Kat develop confidence as a budding writer. I think the experience may have been transformative for her to see that there are other girls like her in the world. In general, Kat is not easy to please and every time I texted her about how it was going, I received “awesome” and “amazing” in reply. Only area for comment would be the tightness of the safety oversight. She remarked that they were indeed very tightly monitored, but that’s what I want as a parent - particularly in NYC. Congratulations on a job well done!!!!
From the Parents of Emily K.: We are home safe and soundly and I can’t begin to tell you how appreciative we are for the incredible opportunities your program provided. While your explanatory materials seemed great, they can’t compare to the actual experience. My usually reticent daughter could not contain her excitement from her two weeks in NYC. For the first time, her work was actually edited and she found the feedback she received invaluable. More importantly, she learned there is a community of young women who may come from different parts of the country and have different backgrounds, but with whom she shares a common passion. Emily learned that she’s not alone in her love of books and words -- the greatest gift she could have received. While she came and left still wanting to be a novelist, her world was cracked open wide and she learned the many paths a love of writing can take you. Thank you for taking such good care of Emily -- she felt safe and happy -- as did we with her in your care.
From the Parents of Alex C.: First, let me say how much Alex really enjoyed the writing program and especially the opportunity to spend time with so many like-minded writers. I think that alone made the program worth it to her, but then add in the chance to see and experience New York City and it was phenomenal! We were very impressed with the detailed e-mails filled with advice and hints to make the packing process smoother and to keep us informed of the progress of the trip. The whole process was smooth and stress-free. You and your staff were most welcoming and left us feeling that Alex was in good hands. Every day since returning from NYC, Alex has regaled me with one tale or another of her adventures and I have enjoyed them all. I know she is in e-mail/letter contact with several of the girls and has been truly inspired by all she has seen and done. Thank you for giving her the opportunity to be so inspired!
From the Parents of Rebekah T.: What a field day this experience has been for my daughter! Thanks you to you and all your staff for the dedication, skill and preparation required to set such a delectable table for this group of young women. As with fine coffee, you have cultivated and brewed a writing program masterfully blended and seasoned with just enough sharp peppers and sweet spices to be alluring and fresh for young palates. At the same time you enhanced the appeal with heaping plates of Broadway’s favorites served alongside hefty slices of “Big Apple” pie -- a perfect balance in my book.
When Bekah first submitted her application I viewed this trip as an investment in her future, a way to increase her chances for college admission and scholarships. Now I see a bigger picture, how the relationships explored during these two weeks with your staff, the carefully chosen speakers and hand-picked classmates can develop into lifetime connections with untold impact far beyond our dreams for college. I did not expect that.
I was hoping you could boost Rebekah to the next level, past all of us who have previously fed into her education. You have accomplished even more. I had no concerns about her traveling alone by plane, and was confident you had provided arrangements for her arrival exactly as promised. In every way you provided the best possible New York City writing experience for all parties involved.
From the Parents of Hunter P.: From Hunter’s point of view, everything went perfectly and she had tremendous support and encouragement from the staff and other girls. She felt immediately bonded to the other students and feels that she has made new friends for life. She mentioned that she didn’t have any trouble with her stuttering. That means that the support and encouragement must have been wonderful and immediate. She now feels as if anything in the world of writing is within her reach. Thank you.
From our point of view, we are very grateful that she got this experience. I was a little worried that she would come back from the big city to the farm and want to change all of her goals. But, while she feels empowered to do anything, she didn’t want to sell her goats and was right back out the next morning with her farm activities. We feel that she had the time of her life and got a look at a life option that we are otherwise unable to share with her. Thank you for including her.
From the Parents of Jamie A.: Teen Ink certainly put together a first-class writing program for the girls. It was expensive, but I feel like Jamie got her money’s worth. It exceeded our expectations. Our daughter took away some great writing tips that I think will allow her to go to the next skill level in her writing. Very exciting! Being able to write 3 hours a day and take writing classes every day for 2 weeks was Jamie’s dream come true. Plus being in New York City and staying in the Juilliard dorms was Jamie’s definition of heaven. Getting to visit the NY Times was an unexpected treat and a highlight for Jamie.
She bonded with the other girls and made good friends. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that even with all those girls, there were no dramas. Not sure how you achieved that...! I really liked how you got the girls out into the City every day, exploring different areas, taking them to see popular Broadway shows and plays. Jamie loved them all. Thanks for taking such good care of the girls, keeping them safe and happy, exposing them to NY life and culture, and teaching them valuable writing lessons.
From the Parents of Jenna S.: Jenna had an “awesome” experience (her words) ... she loved the writing experiences -- especially the creative ones -- and really felt that she bonded with many of the girls. The only thing that didn’t wow her was the ballet, but the open mic night and Wicked were definitely some of the highlights. She really liked the teachers and chaperones and felt like she grew, both as a writer and as a person, from the experience. Thanks so much!
From the Parents of Erica M.: Thank you for giving Erica this fabulous opportunity!! I was so impressed and proud of her writing and experiences... This is a great program! Erica is still talking about it. The friendships she made will last a lifetime. Thank you,
From the Parents of Sami M.: My daughter had quote “the most amazing experience of my life”. She enjoyed the classes, the girls, the extracurricular activities, the location, etc. I can only think of wonderful things to say about the program. Sami was very excited and shared so much with us when we picked her up. She has also developed a greater appreciation for NYC. She shared many of the pieces she wrote during the program and not only can I see that her writing is getting stronger, she has also developed confidence in herself. This was an exceptional experience that she will carry with her for many years. I know she will be staying in touch with some of the girls. They are planning on sending a notebook around to each other.
Sami was glowing when she spoke about your staff. She said everyone was great and kept things going. Thanks you for keeping us informed, for your care and concern, for putting this wonderful program together and for giving Sami the most amazing experience of her life.
From the Parents of Liana S.: We are very happy to report how happy Liana is about this wonderful experience and amazing opportunity. This was definitely time well spent. She seems very happy and relaxed. She made a lot of good friends and seems to have matured in a very positive way. The travel by plane and other transportation went without a hitch!! We were please with the way you arranged for her to be picked up by a private car service and we were pleased by the whole experience. We want to thank you so much for providing this unique opportunity and for your attention to detail – which as greatly appreciated.
From the Parents of Elana B.: I just wanted to briefly let you know how much Elana enjoyed herself. Despite the trying first week (in regards to her writing), she had a wonderful time. She felt like she learned a tremendous amount in a short time period. The instruction was excellent. Central Park is now her favorite writing spot. She came home exhausted but fired up to keep writing and improving. On my part, I think you can’t be commended enough for the care and thought you gave to our children’s’ safety, enrichment and education. The variety of entertainment you selected was perfect. The guest lecturers were inspiring and the tours you planned were well researched. For us, the travel arrangements couldn’t have been better.
Additionally, on the ride home from the airport we stopped for lunch and went out for ice cream. Coincidentally the store owner saw Elana’s Teen Ink t-shirt and made a comment that he knew all about Teen Ink and it was the reason his daughter pursued her English career. He said that she also attended the Teen Ink writing program. Talk about small world!!
From the Parents of Sydney W.: I was thrilled with the feedback that I got from my daughter. She was so excited that one of her Teen Ink teachers was helpful in the editing of her poetry. The location and recreational experiences in NYC were rich and the perfect segue into her college experience. The program seems to have been the perfect launch to my daughter’s self-esteem and commitment to pursue her dreams. Thanks.
From the Parents of Yuki L.: Thank you very much for your arrangements and help on the successful summer program for Yuxi. After two days since she got home, she is still excited about Teen Ink and the life in NY. From what she talked about the experience, we know that she learned a lot from this program, and some of her experiences may have a positive impact on her college major selection and even future career.
From the Parents of Tonya D.: I just wanted to let you know that Taylor had a great time and we loved listening to all the stories about NYC. I think it was a wonderful learning experience for her, and I really appreciate the time you and your wife put into making this event happen. I would love to support Teen Ink and future endeavors any way I can.
on Teen Ink's 2010 NYC Writing Program
Haley's parents: We just wanted to thank you for allowing our daughter to experience such a fun and rewarding writing program. Although she was traveling alone from California, we felt confident from the start that she would be participating in a well-organized and quality experience. We really appreciated your attention to detail in the planning phase and your frequent updates during the Program. When she returned she reported that it was so wonderful to spend time with girls who were writers (and readers) just like her. Because of this shared interest they were able to enjoy a feeling of camaraderie and mutual interest throughout the two weeks. We feel very fortunate that you chose our daughter to have this wonderful opportunity!
Mady’s mother: The daughter I sent is not the one who returned home. She is missing her Teen Ink writing friends so much, but her talking about it is keeping her going. Mady said, " This has been the best 2 weeks of my life." She said she could be truly herself there and everyone loved her for her. Thanks to you and all the great teachers and chaperones for giving my daughter her best 2 weeks. She even did not want me to unpack her stuff as she wanted to save every piece of paper from her writing program. She said her classes, meeting the authors were very invaluable to her and she can use them as inspiration in her writing in the future. Although we are from NY and visit the city often, Mady enjoyed the city a whole lot more this time. She saw the city from a brand new perspective not just going into the "City" for a Saturday night dinner. She said she made close friends here in 2 weeks that she has not made in 12 years in her school. Just wanted to thank you and everyone from the summer writing program from the bottom of my heart for giving Mady the opportunity to be a part of this amazing. PS: Mady is already talking of returning next summer!
Jamie’s parents: We talked to Jamie during the program and she said things like "It's awesome", "I know this is where I belong", "We are all like family already". We can't tell you how much that means to us. Jamie has also let us know she is so inspired in her writing. She will never forget this experience, we know. It's really much more than the classes and the Broadway shows. To hear her talk about the other girls in the program as friends, family, really, is a wonder in itself. We are so thankful! We're glad open mic night went well. This is a big step...sharing her work. We could never have given Jamie these experiences without this program. Every fear or concern we had as parents have been put to rest. We have brought home a much more confident daughter. We won’t try to explain that, except to say we are so happy for her and appreciative to you and the staff. We hope you feel our genuine appreciation for all you have done for Jamie and the girls. The amount of money we spent doesn't come close to covering all she's been able to do.
Shelby’s mother: She came home more excited about reading and writing than ever, if that could be possible. She appreciated the helpful comments made by her teachers regarding her writing. However, most of all, the experience of being with peers, professionals, and educators who shared her passion for the "story," written or otherwise, presented was the highlight of Teen Ink NYC for Shelby. She loved going to the theater as well because, as you know, plays are yet another format for sharing stories. The chance to see so many Broadway and off Broadway shows was fantastic, and she cherishes the talk back experiences. One thing that we found especially delightful was that the experience was far better than the initial information suggested. Shelby kept receiving pleasant surprises such as the talkbacks, the interviews, the authors, the editor. Although these things greatly enhanced the experience, they were not advertised as guaranteed components. As a parent the program was a perfect fit for Shelby regarding her interests and her development. I did appreciate that your staff were taking care of the students logisitical needs (transportation, tickets, postcards, stamps, snacks, etc.) which enabled the girls to focus on their writing and experiences while in NYC. As an educator, I appreciate the wonderful benefits from having students meet professionals who are working in the field. It makes the professionals seem more "human" and that makes the profession become a concrete goal rather than an unobtainable dream. I am impressed with your approach. How I long to replicate the authenticity that you are providing in the classroom! Teen Ink is such a remarkable program.
Samantha’s mother: On the hour drive from the Portland airport to our home, I don't think Sam took a breath the entire way. She was positively raving about the experiences she had at the Teen Ink program. All the "shiny" things I knew she'd love (the plays and performances; tours and outings; talking with/listening to authors and poets) were wonderful and mind-expanding. But as I hoped, her favorite part was her writing classes, which she pronounced "my favorite three hours of every day." The experience far exceeded her expectations and ours in every respect. She returned with a new outlook and sense of her own potential as a writer and observer of human nature. She also was able to make friendships and connections that have broadened her perspective immeasurably -- in addition to the valuable lesson that there are other people in the world besides her who are curious; who are stimulated by intellectual engagement and the lively interaction of diverse perspectives. From my point of view as a parent, everything seemed to go as planned, logistically speaking, and the periodic email updates were great. I know a lot goes into planning these two weeks, and it is clear you folks really know what you're doing. Thank you for everything -- from the wonderful seats at every show to the attention you paid to the care and safety of our daughters.
Marina’s parents: Just wanted to thank you. Marina had such a wonderful time. She said that was the best "Sweet Sixteen" present in the world. She can't stop talking about the program. Thanks for everything!!!! Wouldn't change a thing - Thanks for giving Marina a memory of a lifetime.
Rosie’s mother: Just wanted to thank you for a fantastic program. We felt included in the preparations by giving the details of the chaperones and explaining the travel groups and supervision levels, and felt that we had sent her off to be in good hands, although with some trepidation! This is a girl from a very small town in Northern England who had never been on a bus or a train by herself and yet we sent her to New York, unaccompanied. It was certainly helpful that you spent so long on the phone with us in the early days, which gave us the confidence to put our trust in you! It was great to have the email updates and the photos to see what they were all doing and that was very welcome. Rosie has had such a wonderful time and learned so much, in terms of writing, culture, social interaction, city life, independence, all across the board. We could never have given her such a rich experience ourselves, and I know she will benefit from it forever. I am sure when she returns to school, she will be more confident in the classroom and have the edge in terms of writing in all subjects, not just English. It was such a privilege for them to go back stage on Broadway and to meet authors and editors, and we can’t thank you enough for organizing this for them. Rosie particularly found the class feedback helpful and the constructive way people critiqued each other’s work. She has gained so much from fitting in with a group of like-minded girls, the whole experience will stand her in good stead for the future. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the program to parents of budding authors. Once again, many thanks to you and all the chaperones / teachers.
Hannah’s mother: Hannah had such an amazing experience. We are so impressed with the program and all that it offered. She loved everything about it - staying at the Julliard, the teachers and classes and all of the excursions. She has fallen in love with NYC and sees herself either going to school or living there some day. Some of the things that really stood out for her - the trip to NY Times, meeting with casts after the various shows, getting a real taste of "college life" living with suite-mates and making friends from all over. She really enjoyed the staff...the whole thing was really right up her alley! The NY Times visit really opened her eyes to journalism. She also seems to have a better glimpse into her own writing style and feels that epic poetry may best suit her. We're so glad it all worked out and thank you so much for all your hard work and efforts in putting such an unbelievable program in place. I can't imagine the time commitment. Thanks again for everything!
Christina’s mother: Our daughter had one of the best experiences of her life; she was sad to see it come to an end. She loved the shows, the museums, the teachers, the writing time, the Strand bookstore (favorite place), the New York Times, etc. and, of course, all her new friends. She also really appreciated the time her teachers took to read her writing and comment on every page. She learned a lot from both of them. Christina definitely feels as though she has made lifetime friends. Thank you so much for taking such good care of her and all the other girls. It's a great program!
Allie’s parents: Our daughter had the time of her life. Thank you so much for all that you and your staff do. None of the girls will forget this experience! What really struck us was the fact that she's going to miss all of the sharing the girls have done - reading their work and praising each other. I know she felt at home with this group because of the passion for writing they shared – what a gift this has been for all of them. Allie was interested in absolutely everything you offered. Thank you so much for the opportunity for her to attend mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral - she mentioned to me when she signed up for services that her motivation was part faith-based, part curiosity as she knew you would arrange for something fabulous! You could not have topped St. Pat's! The program far exceeded our expectations! I was most surprised by how impressed she was with meeting one of the publishers of Penguin Books – which left her thinking she may want to pursue some type of career in editors – something she never considered.
Best of all was the writing experience. Writing has always been Allie's passion- but the program sparked a new interest and confidence in her work. I think the writing classes have given her a new perspective on her creativity. The friends she made in the program are priceless. She has already been corresponding with them on Facebook and missing them all. To spend two weeks with a fabulous group of girls from all over the world who share the same interests was amazing! We continue to hear great stories about them! Overall, this has been the experience of a lifetime and I want to thank you for all of the opportunities you provided because my daughter took advantage of each and every one.
Cynthia’s father: As a parent from Hong Kong, I would like to thank you again for all you and your colleagues did for my daughter during her stay in New York. I know she had a great time and it has really opened her eyes to writing and travel. So, again, I very much appreciate your devotion to them.
Bea’s mother: I just wanted to send a note to tell you what a delight and pleasure it was to meet you all and I immediately felt at complete ease when dropping Bea off on Saturday. All of your hard work and planning really shined through as we walked into the – it was wonderful! I also wanted thank you so much for making Bea's birthday extra, extra, extra special. It was already special just being on the program, but the cupcakes added that extra special touch. She had the time of her life and that it has surpassed all of her expectations and dreams. Congratulations on putting together such a wonderful two weeks!
Serena’s mother: It seems you all had a wonderful time, and the girls really had a treat. I am sure it must be hard but at the same time what they did will be something that will be with them for a lifetime. Thank you for all your updates, it was very comforting, especially for parents like me, far away in Tanzania, who have a child that has never been on her own before for so long, and in such a different culture.
Serena had a great time, an experience she will always cherish and fall back on as she goes through the rest of her academic journey. I will definitely spread the word in her school back in Tanzania. Serena loved her course work, and I must admit it was better than I thought. The experiences she was able to have in NYC was a brilliant education into the world of literature and the different avenues one could pursue in it. And what better place than New York to see it through. I as a parent am really glad that Serena was able to do this program, and truly am grateful that you allowed her this beautiful opportunity in life. What she has learned in those two weeks will most definitely help her along life’s journey as she embarks upon some serious career decisions. You can be assured that I will tell the school all about the program and its benefits, and hopefully you will get a whole lot more students from this part of the world.
Once again thank you, for taking on this challenge – it can’t be easy looking after 30 teenagers, but you did a wonderful job, and I am sure I speak for all the parents, that we are grateful for putting such a wonderful program together, and allowing our girls to be a part of it.
Helen’s mother: Helen had a blast! Thank you for making her two weeks in New York such a terrific experience. A flurry of stories came all at once, and now we're hearing more of the day-to-day information, all positive. Helen is a horribly picky eater so I was pleased to see her home with pink cheeks. Helen of course loved the plays and visits to NY's landmarks. Some of the art, in particular, made an impression on her, which was great to hear, having dragged her to museums all her life and never being sure what has sunk in. I think she found the 'open mic' nights to be the most revealing of the two weeks, and what she has spoken about most often. Same too for the New York Times visit. She found that fascinating. In short, Helen was completely jazzed by this experience, and thanks to you for creating this opportunity. Worth every penny.
Morgan’s parents: It was great meeting you and the staff and we left very confident, leaving Morgan in your care. She's enjoyed every "New York Minute"!
Your program is unique in several ways. It certainly fosters the talents of young writers and introduces them to the world of publishing, journalism and the arts. New York City became a living/learning lab for 32 aspiring writers. They were busy 24/7, between classes, guest speakers, walking tours, museums and Broadway shows. Our daughter's highlight was participating in a Q&A interview session with the editor of the New York Times. That opportunity left an indelible mark on her. Morgan is an avid reader and writer, which can be quite a solitary life for a teenage girl. It was important for us to let her see that there were other girls out there, just like her. Teen Ink assembled students from across the United States and outside countries. For Morgan, this experience didn't stop with meeting girls who shared her personal interest, she received a global perspective as well.
From the moment Morgan was accepted, the staff was always accessible by phone, and methodical with weekly e-mails. There were no questions that went unanswered. The Teen Ink Program is thoughtfully planned out and action packed. It takes a lot of hard work and coordinating of schedules to develop and implement a program of this quality. This has been a life-changing experience for our daughter. Within 10 minutes of arriving home, Morgan announced, "In order to be the best writer, you have to experience life, not just observe." She walks ten feet off the ground and is determined to shed her "shy shell." She is motivated and confident to begin carving out the life she wants and deserves. We are extremely grateful to the staff of Teen Ink. Simply stated, as parents, we could not have asked for anything more, the Teen Ink program was "more" and "than some"!
Danielle’s mother: Thanks so much for all your updates and picture. I really enjoy reading them. Danielle has expressed that she had an absolutely amazing time in NYC and is truly moved by all the girls she has met. She has enjoyed learning and sharing writing techniques with the other girls.
Kim’s mother: Kim, as I knew, had a fabulous time and loved the play [Race] and it really touched her as her uncle who died suddenly last year at 47 was African American and there was a definite connection there. I know she had a fabulous time every day and truly thankful for the opportunity she has been given.
Lauren’s mother: I just wanted to thank the Teen Ink staff for providing Lauren with the opportunity of a lifetime. She came home full of stories about the amazing sights she had seen, the wonderful people she met and the knowledge she had gained. I know she'll carry the memories of this trip with her always. As a parent I felt very comfortable that she was in good hands. I appreciated the updates and information provided. Once again, thank you and keep up the good work.
Kristen’s parents: My daughter, Kristen, attended the Teen Ink writing program this summer. She had an awesome time! At first my husband and I were hesitant to have our 16-year-old daughter go so far away. The weekly e-mails we received before the trip helped us to become more comfortable with this. We could easily tell that this program was highly organized. We were informed of all the details as soon as they became known. Kristen's favorite parts were the writing classes and the Broadway shows. Her writing has improved. In addition to e-mails about the trip, we also received e-mails during the program. It was great to hear how things were going. After sharing bits of information about her experience, we are now so glad that Kristen was able to be a part of this wonderful experience! Thanks for working so hard to make this a memorable time!
Madison's Parents: Madi's experience with the summer writing program was life changing for her. Academically she was challenged to think creatively and graphically express her thoughts through words in a way that was unique to anything ever presented before. Her exposure to other girls who love to write enriched her spirit and continues to motivate her daily. The friendships she made are lasting and true. She already misses the relationships you and your staff worked so hard to establish, but hopes to continue "facebooking" them and possibly having a reunion sometime in the future. As a parent, I thank you for making each step of the process (from applying to arriving) easy and manageable. Your continued updates prior to the session, and the communications provided during her stay were greatly appreciated. Your program has helped Madi define her personal goals and has given her a path to achieve them. For this, we thank you!
Aleka's Father: Aleka is still talking about her 2 weeks in New York. We would like to thank you, your wife and all the staff for a wonderful experience. My daughter has been at boarding school for over 7 years and has been interacting with girls from all over the world for all that time. For her to say that this group of girls was the most that she has ever had in common with is quite a statement.
She had an excellent experience at the writing course and was in fact sad that it was over so soon. Most importantly the pastoral care, the interaction with the supervising staff, the friendships formed and sense of security we had as soon as we had met and spoken with you was outstanding. Especially for those parents who are sending their child across the country or in fact from another country - we would especially like to point out that once we knew where she was, saw the level of security that you had arranged, and met you and the staff we did not look back and had no concerns whatsoever about leaving our daughter in your care.
The content of the program was outstanding, the work on the actual writing side was extremely useful, the extra curricular activities such as the theatre shows, the ballet and musicals, not to mention the museums and general sightseeing, were well planned and at the right dose.
An overall excellent time was had by all, and I would not hesitate to recommend this to any parent whose child has a serious interest in writing. Thank you once again for an outstanding experience,
Olivia's Mother: All I can say is "WOW"...Olivia enjoyed her two weeks in your program more than she has ever enjoyed anything, and that is saying a great deal. I feel that the program was amazingly well organized and carried out, and that the girls will remember it for the rest of their lives. I am sure that they will keep in touch, as they have forged many lasting bonds with the other girls in the program. I cannot thank you enough for allowing Olivia the opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful program, which I would highly recommend to any young lady who is passionate about writing. It was an incredible experience, filled with wonderful people, instruction, activities and supervision!
Katie's Mother: Thank you for all that you - and the program staff - contributed to make the Teen Ink Creative Writing Program such a success. My daughter had such a fantastic experience, and she learned so much about writing as well.
When Katie first brought the program to my attention, I thought that it sounded exciting. I knew from talking with you and from reading the online information, that the girls would have the chance to sample New York City and participate in the writing classes. However, the scope of the program was far more than I (or Katie) had imagined. For the set program price, Katie not only saw NYC from a walking perspective, but she was also able to experience numerous Broadway plays, a ballet (at Lincoln Center!), a city tour, the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island, Times Square, numerous museums and the Julliard campus. Katie especially loved the tour of the NEW YORK TIMES (meeting the editor was a big deal) and NBC News/30Rock. And, you had published authors visiting them during class along with a Penguin House staffer talking to them about the real world- getting published. From our perspective, the program was far more extensive than we ever dreamed. Katie came home with a real love for New York City and the experience has certainly broadened her horizons.
From what Katie told me, she learned so much about the creative writing process. The classes and assignments sounded well thought-out and challenging. I know that everything she learned in the classroom setting will take her a long way in her quest to become a professional writer.
From what I can tell the staff was all tremendous with the girls. They made the experience fun, exciting, interesting and most importantly, safe. I felt comfortable knowing that Katie was in good hands. This was Katie's big trip - her longest away from home and the first time that she had traveled by herself. It was a leap of faith, but it worked out beautifully, and we are so happy that she participated in the program.
From what Katie told me, everyone got along well and she especially enjoyed her roommate and her suite mates. The ice-breaker events are a good idea, and I liked the fact that you mixed up the girls so that they got to know almost everyone very well - rather than just sticking with one or two girls. I know that Katie feels has made friends that she will keep in touch with for many years to come.
Please extend our heartfelt appreciation to the rest of the TEEN INK summer program team...It was a truly successful experience for Katie, and we thank you for all you did.
Erika's Mother: John, as a parent you and your staff made me feel that Erika was in the best of care. I never had to worry about her welfare at all! Remember, my child had not once ever been away from home. You always reassured me that my daughter was special to you also. At first I was somewhat concerned, but soon all that disappeared. The program was Top of the Line, A+++++++. Thanks for showing Erika to a once in a lifetime event!
Melanie's Parents: Melanie had such a wonderful time in NYC and feels she really developed her writing skills. She can't say enough about the program and the new friendships she developed there. As parents, we feel that your program was very organized and all of our questions were answered either via E-mail, phone, or in person when we dropped Melanie off. We felt at complete ease with her being a part of the program and would highly recommend it to other parents that are contemplating sending their daughter for future workshops. From our perspective, we didn't see anything that can be improved upon and were very impressed with the Teen Ink organization and staff. Thank you for choosing Melanie to be a part of your wonderful program.
Letty's Mother: I want to say thank you so much. As a parent, I feel all my concerns and questions were set aside by the NYC staff. I had little reservations about sending Letty since there was so much communication with several of the adults before she left. Letty and I felt she was well-prepared for the trip and was able to enjoy every second of it, largely due to the excellent staff. She loved getting to communicate with the girls prior to the trip. And, she won't stop talking about all the writing she did, the experiences, and the goals she set while there. The emails I received during the trip were great; I especially liked the first day photo. I cannot think of any suggestions; everything was perfect. Thank you again.
Maria A.'s Parents: Once again the trip and the writing experiences were invaluable to Maria! She gets so much out of the experiences she has with the Teen Ink Staff and will talk about the trip for months to come. Through her participation in the Teen Ink Writing Seminars (both London and NY) I have seen her own personal writing skills grow tremendously! She will be attending Rhode Island College in the fall, majoring in English Literature and Secondary Education.
You will be proud to know that at her high school graduation in May '09, she was presented with the Rhode Island College Book Award for her passion and excellence in English Literature and Creative Writing. John, I sincerely would like to thank you and your staff for helping her to grow and develop her passion for writing. She is a very unique teenager, and we are proud of her and thankful to you for the part you played in helping Maria become the person she is today.
Thanks to everyone who helped her when she wasn't feeling well on the trip and especially to the group leader who cared for her when she suffered with a migraine headache. Your staff is very caring for the girls that travel with them. Thanks for everything, and I hope you have a wonderful summer.
Mollie's Mother: This is the first moment that I have been able to sit and reflect on what I have heard about the summer writing program. This also allows me to sit with how to best translate my appreciation to you all for giving Mollie the most transformative experience of her life thus far. The Mollie that arrived in NYC two weeks ago came home a different young woman. She was/is inspired in ways that she could not have been in a less intensive environment. She met with other young woman and professionals who shared her passion and helped her stretch beyond her comfort zone. In her writing, she learned ways of expressing herself that I don't think she ever envisioned. The process throughout the two weeks allowed Mollie to work with lightness, darkness, depth, and be creative using various writing styles.
Mollie LOVED everyone! To have our daughter leave her circle of friends at home for the first time and then, after only two weeks, witness her crying after leaving her "new friends" was profound. I remember telling John that Mollie wanted to immerse herself in writing, but did not have friends that were interested in that same pursuit. Now, she has like-minded friends to encourage her and that she can bond with in an entirely new way around her passion for writing. Speaking of love, when I think of what she told us about all of you, I cannot even begin to adequately express my gratitude. Whether it be caring for her when she had a blister, helping with creative prompts, travel leadership, "learning how not to use cliches" , guiding her so her imagination would flow or tending to the day-to-day needs, you were all amazing. You have kindled the fire of Mollie's passion and mentored her in ways that we have just begun to see.
Hannah's Mother: Hannah had a wonderful time at the program. She enjoyed the girls, the adults, the writing, the activities, the city - EVERYTHING.
We both loved the "getting ready" emails every week before the program started. It was a nice way to get information and build up the excitement. It sounded like the staff was excited, too, and that added to our anticipation. That way it was in manageable bits that we could address a little at a time - packing, getting a photo id, completing paperwork, etc. Plus, I always felt that if I had a question or concern, I knew how to get in touch with someone.
The Facebook / email sharing for the girls was perfect. That allayed a lot of possible anxiety - Hannah went there feeling like she knew the other girls already and just couldn't wait to meet them in person. She wasn't heading into the unknown on all fronts.
I felt good about the attention you paid to safety - in keeping the email/Facebook information secure, in the city - with the chaperones ALWAYS with the girls, in providing parents with contact numbers for all of the adults, and in letting the kids keep their cell phones for possible emergencies or for just needing to check in at home for whatever reason. It could feel scary to let your child, especially one who hasn't spent time in a city, go to NYC for two weeks, but I wasn't ever worried about her safety.
The theater activities were wonderful - Hannah loved Wicked and In the Heights in particular. Meeting RL Stine was valuable to her. As an English teacher myself, I love all of the handouts and writing exercises that Hannah has shared with me. She has been walking around with her Juilliard notebook and her Teen Ink pen since she got back doing all kinds of writing and using exercises she learned through the program.
I am so thankful that she had this experience. I can't imagine a more positive life-changing experience. I think Hannah is pretty great already - as a person and as a writer, but your program has given her so much in terms of confidence, friendship, experiences, lessons, and motivation.
Amelia's Mother: This program was a home run!! Amelia thoroughly enjoyed herself. In fact, this week she has been going through withdrawal. She misses the girls and the chaperones very much. She raved about them. She said they were all very nice and joined right in with the girls when the girls were singing or just playing around. The staff really made the girls feel welcome and accepted. She loved the send-off they gave the girls at the end.
She loved most of the activities. I think the New York bus tour was her favorite. She absolutely loved all the shows. She really enjoyed the brief about publishing, the NBC tour, the New York Times tour, and R.L. Stine. (She absolutely loved R.L. Stine!).
She liked the classes and the teachers. She was very impressed that one of the teachers had a book published. She says the classes were a lot of work but I'm sure the lessons that she learned in those classes will stay with her. She liked the fact that the two teachers had two very different styles and personalities.
Getting exposure to that wide a variety of backgrounds and experiences is absolutely invaluable. Thank you so much to you and your staff for providing my daughter with an experience of a lifetime. I know she will always cherish the memories of this trip as well as the friendships she's made. And thank you all for being so kind and wonderful. I would (and will) recommend this program whole-heartedly to anyone.
Congratulations on setting up such a well planned-out, well-rounded and entertaining program. I'm so happy we chose the Teen Ink program above the rest. There's no question that your program is the crown jewel of them all.
Lauren's Father: I was very impressed with your program. From the organization of the activities, to the ongoing communication with the parents, to the supervision of the girls - your program is exceptional. It was a wonderful experience for my daughter Lauren, who can't stop talking about it. The teachers and chaperones were outstanding - they really connected with the girls. Staying at Julliard was a treat, and its location couldn't have been better. Lauren made some wonderful friends - friendships she plans on maintaining. Having just girls at the program really benefitted our daughter who desperately needed a break from her four brothers. I wish I had some ideas to help you improve your program, but everything from our experience was extremely positive.
Anjali's Parents: Anjali has not stopped talking about the numerous experiences she had. She loved going to the shows and meeting each cast, she raved about the New York Times tour and just adored R.L. Stine. Penguin Publishing also was very helpful in providing information to each of them if they want to try to publish something in the future. She also raved about how well the girls got along. She said all the chaperones were great as well. She did enjoy the classes and definitely feels her writing skills have improved as a result of the program. My wife and I want to thank you for presenting this wonderful opportunity to Anjali. We feel she grew as a person and a writer from this experience. We know that organizing something of this magnitude took many hours and resources. We will be forever indebted to you for all your hard work. We send our sincere gratitude to all of the adults who assisted in making this a once in a lifetime opportunity for Anjali.
Maria R.'s Parents: I was very pleased with the Teen Ink New York trip Maria took. She has come home with more confidence and consideration. She seems happier and more self-assured. I am sure she would love to go back to New York next summer, with the same girls. She really liked them. I believe Maria really liked all of the activities and class time. She always wants more class time. I know she really enjoyed meeting R. L. Stine. We would like to thank the staff for taking very good care of Maria while we were separated for our first time.
Christine’s parents from CA: From the first phone call until the day we dropped our daughter off at the airport, we had not one concern in sending our daughter on this 2-week trip. When our daughter first applied we had trepidations about the flight and how the trip would be organized, but these fears were quickly put to the back of our minds. John did a wonderful job of keeping us updated with weekly emails and was easily accessible for any questions we had. We thought the itinerary was superb and we were pleased with how much our daughter would see along with the classes she would attend. Throughout the trip, John continued with the updates and sent along pictures so we knew what the girls were up to. Once our daughter returned, she was able to bring those pictures to life with her exuberance and enthusiasm for the experience she just had. Christine raved about all the activities, praised her teachers, and made friends she hopes to keep for years to come. We were thoroughly impressed with this program. As parents who are prone to worrying, we had comfort in the fact that we knew our daughter was in good hands. We were elated that our daughter was able to gain so much from this experience. This program went above and beyond our expectations and we are grateful our daughter had the chance to be involved in this fantastic trip. In the words of our daughter: Awesome! Two thumbs way up!
Alex’s mother from TX: Not only will this program be a memorable experience but a learning adventure in every sense of the word for my daughter. My daughter returned from her trip expressing enthusiasm and a focus about her writing like she had never had prior to the trip. All of the in-class and out-of-class activities supported the overall goal of the program as well as making it fun and eventful. As a parent I felt the trip was organized and appreciated the regular email communications from Mr. Meyer. I always felt that my child’s safety was a number one concern and priority of the staff. As a parent and a high school teacher, I would highly recommend this program to any parent who has a child with a keen interest in writing.
Julia’s mother from NH: The writing aspect: Fantastic! My daughter enjoyed both the more formal workshop style of one teacher and the freestyle writing and spirit of the other. She certainly grew as a writer and felt her work with the teachers greatly enhanced her character development. She was definitely inspired by the surroundings of London itself, but we also hear a lot of references to things said by the teachers. When she is not talking about the trip, she is writing!
The itinerary: All the adults in my daughter's life read the itinerary and referred to it as "the trip of a lifetime." Truly it was. Not only did the girls see an enormous amount and have access to special opportunities, like visiting the ambassador's residence, the inside tour of Parliament and the backstage tour of Les Miserables, they did so in a way that was not too exhausting so they could really enjoy it. The itinerary was clearly thought out, giving the girls adequate down time and writing time. The girls obviously benefited from the Teen Ink staff's prior experience in London. My daughter is a real theatre fan and to be able to see five shows in two weeks was fabulous.
Before the trip: We always felt well-informed and prepared.
During the trip: While I (Mom) would have loved to chat with my daughter, the cell phone access through the chaperones was a perfect way for my daughter to have the freedom of immersing herself in the experience, something she would not have been able to do if talking to me every day. I knew she could call if she needed to do so, and when there was the terror threat in London, I felt very comfortable calling the director to discuss the situation. My daughter was always accessible. Also, John Meyer emailed regular updates and kept everyone up to date.
Among the girls: The girls created a forum before the trip and communicated through it and via email. They were bonded before they even met, making it an easy transition from home to a bunch of new best friends. I would strongly recommend this trip. My daughter is almost 17, and she was definitely ready for this kind of experience.
Jamye’s step-mother from NY: I had reservations about how our daughter Jayme would respond to the structure and discipline of the London experience based on my knowledge of her anxieties, strengths, and weaknesses. She expected every other one of the girls to find fault with her talent, her appearance, and her personality (such is the fate of a 17 year old girl). She decided in advance (not one of her strong suits) that there would be no one there who "got her"; that her writing couldn't possibly hold mustard against all of the other "geeky" girls who would surely attend. She was very excited about going to London and possibly having something of value to write, but was in no way self-assured. One of the first things she said was that she made friends she would never forget. She told stories of their encouragement in the face of her reservation, their support of all she had to say. Such was the case, it seems, for all in attendance. No judgments, no unconstructive criticism. For those who wanted to stay into the night working, teachers availed themselves. For those who were content with daily workshops, so be it. Jayme came home bubbling over with stories of the sites, the adventures, the people, the stories she wrote that surprised even her. " I don't know where they came from, but they came...fast and furious!" she said. "John was there like the benevolent uncle, buying us ice cream and hot chocolate, taking pictures, providing a steady arm along the way. Stephi reminded me of you, Angelique," (I'm the step mom), she said, "quietly positive and keeping the whole thing running smoothly." I can't have asked for a greater compliment. Jayme has continued to write in her early days home and is even thinking of herself as a "writer." Even if she turns out not to be, she has a sense of herself as a powerful person with ideas to share that others find compelling, and that is essential for anyone's authentic voice to be heard.
Hilary’s mother from CA: Ever since Hilary was small, we knew she was unique. I remember her talking with her friends and wanting to discuss books she had read or movies and the hidden meaning or lessons --without much response from her friends. She is passionate about the written word and is truly gifted in this area. What a fabulous opportunity to be around "like minds," completely in her element and allowing the creativity to flow freely. What a gift to have such terrific teachers available to give feedback and positive learning experiences --to inspire them to reach further and to exercise their abilities as much as possible. Hilary has grown this summer, thanks to her experience in London with Teen Ink. She will have friendships that will surely last from this adventure and memories she will cherish forever.
Aleena’s father from ME: I have heard a great deal about the trip from Aleena and it sounds as if she indeed had a WONDERFUL TIME! From information that I gleened, all activities and lessons were valuable and very well planned. I am very gratful that you kept me informed throughout the preparation phase as well as throughout the trip. I appreciated the weekly emails and the change to daily emails while Aleena was abroad. I would wholeheartedly recommend your experience for anyone interested! Again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for providing such a grand opportunity and taking such good care of my little girl.
Maria’s mother from MA: I will be perfectly honest with you: when my daughter, Maria (16 years old) came to me and asked me if she could go to London with Teen Ink Magazine to learn how to write better, my first response was "Absolutely Not!" I didn't know these people and as I told John Meyer when I spoke to him, they wanted to take my daughter 3,000 miles away to another country and I wouldn't be there! Maria, being the persistent person she is, contacted Teen Ink and wrote me a persuasive essay, including the answers to many of my questions. I had never seen her more passionate about something, so I told her to apply and we'll see what happens. 1,500 applicants and only 28-30 are chosen! I remember thinking: "I'll be there to pick up the pieces when they tell her no." Meanwhile, I looked into the magazine further (you can too!) and learned about the remarkable reputation this magazine has with hundreds of high schools across the country. Maria did all the work required to apply for the Writing Program. She wrote the essays, got the recommendations and made sure they all got to the right people at Teen Ink. Then we waited. The day John Meyer called us on the phone will definitely go down as one of our daughter's happiest days! I watched her as tears rolled down her face when John told her she was accepted. We couldn't have been more proud of her! The communication about packing and what to bring was flawless! We received an entire package from the magazine outlining everything we needed to do to prepare for the trip. Packing for a 16-year-old girl traveling abroad for 2 weeks using only one suitcase is nothing short of a miracle, but it can be done! John Meyer emailed us every Friday, making sure we would all be ready. We were even able to send spending money for her ahead of time that was converted to the English currency. The girls were able to email each other and get to know each other prior to the trip and I was able to call and speak with the staff with any of my concerns. John Meyer & Kate Dunlop were fantastic as they answered all my questions. I remember laughing with Kate at some of the silly things you think about when you’re sending your daughter overseas for the first time ALONE! At the airport the girls quickly got to know each other and off they went. Surprisingly, I wasn't nervous at all! All the information and preparation that we were provided with prior to the trip allowed us to feel like our daughter was in good hands. Maria called us the day she arrived and three more times during the trip. John eailed us with the daily happenings and Maria even visited an Internet cafe to e-mail us at home. The Heathrow & Scotland airports were attacked with terrorist car bombings which made us very anxious at home, my first reaction was, "Honey, you're going to England and bringing her home", but our anxiety was anticipated by the Teen-Ink staff and communication with us was fast & flawless! We received e-mails everyday, sometimes twice a day and we were able to call & e-mail them! I couldn't have asked for more!!!!!!! As I got to know the Teen-Ink staff, I became confident that these people would do everything in their power to keep my daughter safe. Maria came home safely and took two days to catch up on her sleep (jet lag)! She had an absolutely amazing trip and still hasn't stopped talking about all she did, all she learned and what a fantastic experience she had. I am very thankful to Teen Ink Magazine and staff for providing my daughter with the opportunity to see the world and enhance her education. She wants to make creative writing a permanent part of her life and I'm sure she'll never forget Teen Ink Magazine. I know that I never will; they're an amazing group!!!!!!! Maria has already asked me if I think they would let her go with them again next year! I don't know if they will, but I would let my daughter participate with the Teen Ink Writing Program anytime!!!! We couldn't have asked for a better experience! It was everything we hoped and prayed it would be!!!! Thanks Teen-Ink!!!!! You did a "supercalifragalisticxpialidocious" job!!!!!!! If anyone has anything further they would like to discuss regarding our experience, I'd be happy to talk further!
Ebie’s mother from CA: Ebie came home from London with a new perspective on the process of writing. I think she realized that writing can be a collaborative process and that there is always room for editing and improvement. She also loved being with a group of writers; it was the first time in her life that she could share her thoughts and ideas and know that everyone understood her point of view. In addition to the camaraderie, she absolutely LOVED London!! She came home with countless pictures of historic landmarks, special occasions and especially her newfound friends. Ebie will remember this trip for the rest of her life I am sure. Thank you for sharing this truly remarkable experience with her.
Mari’s mother from CO: Before my just-turned-15-year-old daughter left on the 2007 Teen Ink London trip, I had complete confidence in the program’s chaperones to watch her carefully and give her not only an inspirational writing experience but a terrific inside tour of London. After my daughter returned, I still have that complete confidence and then some, if “complete” can become “completer.” Uppermost in my mind the first week of the program were the car bombs that failed to go off in downtown London. They scared the bejeezus out of me. After those happened (or rather didn’t), John and Stephanie Meyer emailed us each night, letting us know exactly when our daughters were safe in their beds - and don’t think we didn’t wait by our computers to read of it! They assessed the risk each day and made sound judgment calls. Our daughters restricted their activities just once when the terrorism investigation was at its earliest stages and little was still known. After that, the girls went about their business, and never, I believe, felt that the focus of the trip had veered to avoiding danger over enjoying London and becoming better writers. I felt the entire time that the girls’ safety was more important to the program administrators than anything else. From my daughter’s perspective: She ardently maintains that the horror play “Woman in Black,” which the girls saw the night of the failed car bombs, was far more frightening than anything a terrorist could have attempted. That said, the program followed through with an outstanding lineup of speakers my daughter found inspiring and real (“real” being the operative word, as that quality allowed the girls to see themselves growing to become such writers.) The tours were well planned so the girls could take advantage of many things we parents could not have provided on a family trip. Tea served by the butler in the Winfield House with the U.S. ambassador’s wife? A backstage tour of Les Miserables? A Shakespeare writing workshop before the performance of Midsummer Night’s Dream? Probably wouldn’t have happened had I been holding the clipboard. I’m fairly sure I couldn’t even have secured the very cool freebies the girls received upon their arrival. And if you’re worried about your daughter flying into Boston or New York on her own? (I was, and it was a waste of good adrenaline that could have been put to better use hoisting my body up and down Colorado’s 14ers in a single day.) A chaperone is literally assigned to meet your daughter at her gate and take her to the London flight. Easy as pie. Not even a Hari Krishna could have found an opening. My daughter returned home with many dear new friends, an even greater desire to write and more tools with which to do it, a fondness for London, broader horizons, and greater confidence to move about the world and interact with it. This program was worth much more than its cost. It is the kind of investment a parent can make that will help a daughter see higher and reach for more in her life.
Liz’s mother from CO: I was thoroughly impressed with the organization and careful planning the staff of Teen Ink provided throughout my daughter’s trip to London. They kept contact via email on a nearly daily basis. If any questions arose, they made contact by phone. My daughter had a trip of a lifetime and has made many new friends. The pace of the program was set to the needs of teens. I would highly recommend this program to any family. My daughter Liz was fifteen at the time of this experience.
Tiffany’s mother from FL: [The London Program] was a tremendous undertaking [for the staff] and it was a great experience for my daughter. This was only the second time she had ever been on a plane and she had never been out of the county before. I always felt my daughter was safe even with the terrorist activity going on in London. John made sure that we were kept up to date, and the girls were safe and only missed one of the activities. The plays were a great cultural experience for my daughter. She enjoyed seeing the history and all the differences of a foreign city. The only things my daughter would change would be having more time at some of the exhibits and, of course, staying longer. The trip does seem a bit expensive to others but when you take into consideration airfare, lodging, food, tours, shows, transportation, classes and supervision it is well worth the investment in your child's future. If I could change anything I would go too!!
Jessica’s grandparents from VA: From what we have heard, the trip was a total success despite some annoyances from potential terrorists. Our granddaughter had a wonderful experience and gained much knowledge about the writing process. The whole program was very professionally conducted and at no time did we have any doubts about the safety or chaperones of our Jessica. We appreciated the prompt e-mails and updates to concerned relatives.
Natalie’s mother from MI: I wanted to express my thanks for providing such a wonderful and memorable experience for my daughter. The program will provide years of insightful writing experiences for her to draw from. She loved all the sights and activities but says the girls and staff were absolutely marvelous! I’m sure she’s made life-long friendships. I also wanted to express my thanks for remembering the parents here at home. Every detail was planned and provided throughout the process. I don’t think I ever had any questions because everything was covered in detail. This exceptional planning paid off because the whole trip ran like a well-oiled machine! I especially appreciated the emails from London. You took every opportunity to provide a continuous flow of information so I could be at ease knowing that my daughter was safe, cared for, and having a great time.
Emily’s mother from TX: Thank you so much for the terrific experience the London Writing Program provided Emily. You and your staff did a remarkable job. Emily had a truly fantastic time and the group of girls could not have been better. As a parent, I was apprehensive about Emily traveling overseas though she has been to many camps in the United States. As it turns out, I had absolutely nothing to worry about. Everything was so well coordinated, and each time I spoke to Emily she could not have sounded happier. This really put me at ease from the first day. I would definitely recommend this trip and would be happy to provide a parent recommendation.
Rebecca’s father from GA: Thank you again to all the staff for providing a fabulous experience. Rebecca was just ecstatic when she arrived home and could barely contain herself while describing the myriad wonderful things she had done. Thank you for enriching her life and education.
Emma’s mother from MA: I wanted to let you know that Emma is still basking in the glory of her London trip. She is working on a scrapbook and shares it enthusiastically with her friends and relatives. It was a truly altering experience for her; thanks again for all you did to make it go so smoothly.
Brenna & Haley’s father from AZ: Just a note to let you know that my daughters have been talking non-stop about your writing program in London. The Teen Ink staff created a memory for my girls that is sounding more like an epic with each passing day. I suspect the same is true for all the other girls as well. Events as successful as yours are a testament to great preparation, organization, and hard work. The logistics of shepherding teenagers through London for two weeks is mind-blowing. I am humbled that there are people like you who work so hard for the future writers of America. Our girls have always had a desire to be published writers but now they seem truly inspired to be so.
Shelby’s parents from CA: We want to thank you for taking such good care of Shelby. The entire experience was extraordinary for her. She is still telling us about the friends she met, the instructors, the special guests, the theater, the city. We appreciated the excellent communications before, during and after the trip. We were very comfortable that our daughter was in safe hands. We are convinced that Shelby’s education, life, writing and world view have been expanded by this experience and the people who have touched her life.
Kate’s mother from MO: Kate is just now beginning to adjust to life back in the USA. She is showing signs of finally accepting the fact that she is not going to be able to will herself back to London with her Teen Ink family. This realization has not come easily. In the last few days, Kate has begun to share some of her writing from her time in London. She rarely shares her work and so when she offered to do so without our prodding, we were impressed. I attribute her openness to the wonderfully safe atmosphere you and the other adults created in this program. These girls came to trust you and your staff and each other with their writing - not only with the finished product but with writing they were still nurturing and fine tuning. I know Kate will treasure that experience and that it will stay with her for the rest of her life. Indeed, I feel many of these girls will continue to share their work and remain friends for years to come. What a gift! We have also been impressed with the overall quality of the London program. The itinerary was just wonderful. The range of experiences, the balance of writing and instruction with your outside activities - we could not have created a better experience for Kate. But the things that sets this program apart from others - there are actually many things, but the one that we feel is important to point out - is the very personal, hands-on approach you take in all aspects of this program. From your initial phone call to your follow-up on the last day to make sure everyone arrived safely at their final destinations, all of these things tell me how focused you were on making this trip the best experience it could be for the girls. Kate absolutely adores you and your whole staff and knows she was truly cared for. She felt safe. And, as a result, she has grown. We feel very fortunate Kate was able to be a part of such a special program. Many, many thanks for touching the life of our daughter in such a positive way. These girls seem to share a sense of life-changing connectedness - a “I will never be the same” kind of experience.
Melissa’s father from MI: It is still early but it is apparent that the trip has matured Mel and exposed her to a high level of critical thinking and scholastic achievement. I want to thank you again for encouraging us to send her and for all your kind words about her. Also for your assistance in getting her settled in Boston and most importantly returning her safely. You run a fine program.
Claire’s Parents from GA: I want to let you know that Claire had an absolutely wonderful time on the trip and had nothing but the highest praise for you and the Teen Ink staff. She’s been doing two things since she got home: sleeping and telling us all about her adventures, the close friendships she made, the writing she did (she’s read several pieces to us and they are outstanding), her determination to publish a book, etc. Every time I think she’s told us or showed us every possible thing, she remembers something new and her enthusiasm bubbles up anew. I’ve never heard her use the word "awesome" so many times in so short a period. And even though the experience of the bombings* was frightening to her, she doesn’t seem traumatized by it, nor does she seem to have any fear about traveling abroad - or in the U.S. - in the future. My wife and I are very happy to see how much she loved the trip and how much she got from it. We were especially happy to hear her talk about how much she liked the other girls and that she and a few others are already making plans to visit each other during school breaks this year. Both my wife and I remarked that Claire seems somehow older, more self-assured, more mature (more European?). Is it possible that a two week trip is the cause - apparently so. We want to thank you for making this trip the experience of a lifetime for Claire.
Lauren’s Parents from CT: Lauren continues to talk daily about something new in her London experiences. I wanted to tell you our impressions as parents.
First, Lauren loved the program! She continues to "glow" about it being the best learning, travel, and life experience she has ever had. She loved the classes and learned a great deal about writing, about improving her writing, and especially about getting published (This was particularly exciting for her!). She appreciated the excellent guest speakers that you lined up to discuss different types of writing (and careers). Jeff McAlister of Time magazine really impressed her; today when we got the news about a second terrorist attack,* Lauren watched the television news conference with Tony Blair and believed she saw Mr. McAlister there and was quite excited because she appreciated his talk with the students and respects him immensely!
Lauren also speaks highly of the tours of London sights, how well-organized and well-chosen they were. She loved every one of the sights you selected but particularly appreciated the private tour of St. James’s Palace, the Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, tea at the Tate Modern, the British Museum and seeing the Rosetta Stone! The choice of plays and entertainment equally enthralled her, especially “The Phantom of the Opera” (she has been playing the soundtrack from the movie version non-stop). She made some close and likely long-lasting friendships and continues to e-mail the girls each day.
As parents, we appreciated the excellent care you obviously took of all the girls. Lauren noted that she felt very safe at all times while you still allowed the girls to exert some independence in the smaller travel groups. She developed a very positive respect for and closeness to her travel group leader. As I discussed with you on the phone, we feel you handled the terrorist attack day very well both with the girls and with us parents....you kept us informed throughout the day, arranged for the girls to call home, and kept them physically and emotionally safe that day.
Teen Ink did an outstanding job organizing the program, choosing the best sights and activities, guest speakers, teachers and staff, and keeping the lines of communication open throughout the planning for the trip and the actual trip. I plan to recommend the program highly to Lauren’s school.
We all feel a little sad now that London is past. But as I pointed out to Lauren, this will probably be the first of many trips to London for her. Nonetheless, those won’t be with her Teen Ink "family" and that is a bit sad for her. And that is a good thing; the experience took a little bit of her heart and we know that that is the beautiful “stuff” of which life is made ... special moments and memories that are now woven into the fabric of Lauren’s life. It will surface in her writing, in her perceptions of new experiences, in her future choices in life. In short, Teen Ink’s London Writing Program has enriched her life in ways we are beginning to learn, in ways she has yet to know.
Zoe’s Parents from MA: We’re still only in the early stages of hearing all the stories and experiences from Zoe, but it’s clear that this was a fantastic program for her in just about every way - experiencing London, meeting and becoming friends with a wonderfully diverse group of girls, sharing and learning, and, of course, growing in her writing. An enormous thank you for doing such a great job from beginning to “end,” although we know this is not at all the end. We so appreciated all of your hard work, regular and clear communication, creative programming, and thoughtful and sensitive support for Zoe and the whole group. Even with the difficult situation toward the end of the trip,* you were able to handle things with grace. All in all, we couldn’t be happier with how everything came together.
Katryna’s Parents from CA: I wanted to take a minute to remark on the quality of your program. My wife and I are both very active in youth programs, many of which are of the highest quality with decades of experience. Your program ranks as highly as any I’ve seen. The thought that goes into organizing the trip is exceptional. The communication is detailed. The content is both educational and enchanting. And in all situations, I felt as comfortable as if my daughter were with my own family
Melissa’s & Molly’s Parents from CT: Molly and Melissa have been home for about a week now, and their excitement at their London adventure with Teen Ink continues. We have heard stories, anecdotes, seen photos, been read poems, short stories and, of course, their London journals. They enjoyed every bit of their experience, all the theatre, the museums, historical sites, British experiences and most of all the writing classes and open mic nights. They both said everyone there were great writers and friends. They all were so willing to share and take an interest in each other. Molly loved “The Phantom of the Opera” best, Melissa loved “The Woman in Black.” They said the streets of London are full of vibrant visuals, and tea at the Tate Modern was unique to them.
I would say this was the most incredible experience they’ve done, and thank you for your super organization and planning - I believe it is what made it all work for everyone. This was truly a joyous writing program and so much more - and yes, they both want a semester or year of college in London. Molly wants to come again with you all, too! And Melissa hopes to work with you at Teen Ink if she goes to a Boston college. You’ve given them so much, thank you. Their faces just glow as they talk about Teen Ink’s London Writing Program.
Brittanny’s Parents from ME: When I woke up yesterday and heard the words "Russell Square ... London ... terrorist attacks," I ran to grab the trip itinerary and was thankful that the girls were scheduled for classes during the time of the bombings.* I was very concerned but not hysterical with worry. I knew that the girls were safe in the presence of caring adults, just as they have been during the entire London experience.
My husband and I want to thank you for your timely and thorough communication during the last 24 hours of Brittanny’s stay. I can only imagine the difficulty you and your staff must have experienced trying to call and e-mail us immediately after the incident. I knew Brittanny was in good hands before she left two weeks ago; your caring, compassionate and efficient manner in which you, your wife and staff handled the last 24 hours only confirms our belief.
Thank you for making Brittanny’s two weeks a wonderful, once-in-a-life-time learning experience.
Jessica’s Parents from TX: Thank you so much for your informative email this morning.* I want you to know that only for a split second did I worry! I had complete faith in you and your ability to keep my child safe both physically and emotionally. It has surely been an exciting time for you all between the Olympic festivities and today’s unfortunate events. There is plenty to write about!
*The London bombings took place on July 7, 2005 while the Teen Ink program was in session. We had only one day left in the program, all the girls were in classes at the time and everyone was safe.
Lauren's parents from NY: We cannot believe that Lauren has been home for two months already. Her London experience is still very much on her mind as she is putting together her scrapbook, talking to her new London friends and even making plans for get togethers.
When Lauren read about the summer 2004 writing program in London, she knew right away that this was the experience she wanted for this summer. She loves to write and her writing defines her. She was eager to be with others her age who felt the same way - who needed to write.
Like all experiences this journey took her to new places, and I do not mean just London, England. It made her examine herself, her life, what she holds dear... The phone calls and letters home, although brief were full of excitement and maturity.
Getting ready for the trip, the trip itself, then coming home to share the experience was just wonderful. The sketchbook was the most remarkable to us as we felt a part of the experience as Lauren walked us through each page individually, sharing her experience, the experience of the group, as well as her writing and new found passion to paint and sketch.
The format of the trip - classes, touring, plays, open mic nights - all added to the experience. Our daughter returned home exhausted yet content. She had been challenged and also forced to see her talents through the eyes of the Teen Ink faculty and her peers. This all aided her leap toward independence and gained new confidence.
Thank you for giving Lauren this opportunity and for taking such good care of our daughter. We are most grateful to the faculty and staff of Teen Ink London 2004.
Laura's mother from CT: When my daughter, Laura, first showed me the ad for the London Summer Writing Program in Teen Ink, I called to find out some information about it. After speaking at length to both Mr. and Mrs. Meyer, I felt that it would be a great experience and encouraged her to apply. The opportunity to go abroad and experience a new city while taking writing classes at the same time made this program unique.
I was a little apprehensive, but the Meyers were extremely organized and planned every aspect of the trip very carefully. Their extensive knowledge and familiarity with London provided a solid framework to build the program. They provided the girls and the parents with detailed information prior to the trip - itineraries, information about passports, insurance, packing... About a month before the trip, they posted pictures and email addresses of all of the participants on the internet and the girls were able to get to know each other a little bit before the trip. As a parent, I could email or call Teen Ink with questions before the trip and I always got prompt and informative replies. We received periodic emails and pictures during the two-week trip, which was very reassuring. After the trip, Mr. Meyer called to give us his feedback about the trip and to get our comments. In addition, the Meyers posted hundreds of pictures on the internet and sent a personal recommendation letter for Laura to use in the future with detailed comments about her from one of the writing teachers.
Laura had a fantastic experience. She loved every minute of the trip. She thought it was a great mix of writing and touring. She also was thrilled to see five plays. One of her favorite activities was just walking around the city and watching the people. She enjoyed the writing classes and the teachers and felt her writing improved. She now carries around a large black sketchbook which she started on the trip. She keeps a journal and her writing and sketching in it. Laura liked the group of girls as a whole and made many good friends, who she now emails regularly.
My only complaint is that I don't know how we are going to top this experience next summer!
Kelly's parents from VA: The fact that students from across the country needed to apply, send in writing samples and letters of recommendation made this different than the normal high school trip abroad. It was our understanding that this was a trip for students that really had an interest in improving their writing skills.
From the beginning, we were so impressed with the preparation and organization from the program planners in assuring that the trip events and activities were a success. It seemed as though every "i" was dotted. There was much communication before the trip regarding travel arrangements, passports, medical forms, code of conduct and such. As the trip neared, the students received information on what to bring, the best way to call home once abroad, the use of travel-ready appliances, how much money to carry, the exchange rate, etc. It was all useful information to consider, and if your particular question hadn't been answered, it was as easy as picking up the phone or writing an email to contact the Meyers directly. Teen Ink also established a London Summer web page that allowed the students to communicate and get to know one another before the actual trip.
While in London, the students were busy; that was a given. Our daughter says the classes were educational, yet fun, and allowed them to expand upon their own writing style. The London guest lecturers this year (author Ken Follett and Time magazine's Jef Mcalister) were inspiring and informative. The daily touring trips were a big hit. The students got to experience famous London sights, museums, and plays. We understand that the "Les Miserables" backstage tour and musical was a big plus for our daughter. As a side note, just remember to bring walking shoes, as this group walks almost everywhere. Also check the London forecast as it may be a cooler summer in England than back at your home in the U.S.
Sure, there were a bit of nerves before the actual trip departure. But honestly, once I knew that the Teen Ink group was in London, I didn't really worry. Funny, because I had never really met the trip organizers beforehand. We were sending our daughter thousands of miles away with strangers...only thing is that they didn't feel like strangers. We had all been communicating for six months prior to the trip, and I really felt comfortable knowing that my daughter was with individuals that had her best interest, and those of the group as a whole, at heart.
This was a wonderful experience for our daughter. It widened her eyes to future career and education opportunities. It has inspired her to meet new faces, see new sights, experience different worlds. What an amazing trip she had. Thank you Teen Ink magazine for a job well done!
Lauren's parents from CA: Lauren is asleep already, but she wanted me to notify you that she was home safe and sound. The London stories started almost immediately! Lauren talked non-stop all the way home in the car, one story after another. I'm urging her to write some of it down while she still has all the colorful details in her mind's eye. It sounds like the perfect trip. You and your team did a wonderful job. Not only was London everything Lauren hoped it would be, but her writing experience was very positive. She read me several pieces, and I think she improved in just two weeks! But more than her skill, just her being with people who talked about writing, how to get published, how to edit and revise, open mic, etc., was a new world for her. She has all kinds of new plans for her writing future!
Liz's parents from PA: Well, I would just like to say thank you for choosing Elizabeth for this wonderful opportunity. She really enjoyed the experience. I think it has given her tons of confidence. We as parents were very pleased with the amount of communication prior to and during the trip. I was nervous about sending her by herself at her age, but everything you did helped to make us comfortable with the experience. Thanks again.