writing for children

Writing 4 children, teens and YA: Chautauqua


I could hear my hubby saying the word in the other room…but couldn’t figure out why. 

“What was that?”

“Chautauqua…” he repeated.

“WHAT ABOUT IT?” I was in the other room trying to tweet, work on some networking and hear over the loud and rambunctious, but still sweet children.

But CHAUTAUQUA? The place I’ve wanted to go for the last 7 years? THE writing retreat/workshop I’ve dreamed of attending? THE conference I’ve drooled over? The conference about which I’ve waxed poetic?

“There is a special on PBS tonight,” he continued. “You ought to watch it.”

“RECORD IT!” I was just in the other room, but I wanted to make sure he heard me.

“I can’t. The DVR isn’t working.” He spoke at an even keel, as if this wasn’t important.

He didn’t understand. He couldn’t have.

He changed the channel.


News…blah, blah, blah… HGTV…blah, blah, blah

Then, a beauteous sound — “At Chautauqua…”

I ran to the living room (laptop in hand), plopped on the couch and made a mental note to give my hubby a big ol’ kiss after the show.

Then…I watched the PBS special and soaked it all in. I learned how Chautauqua came to be, why it is such a popular place and tons of other interesting things about this modern day “Eutopia”.

If you have never heard of Chautauqua, there are tons of great things to love about it. But the thing that draws me to this peaceful place is the Highlights Foundation “Chautauqua” workshop. Yes, that is the same group who publishes the children’s magazine, Highlights for Children. Remember the Timbertoes? Goofus and Gallant? THAT Highlights!

The Highlights Foundation holds a week long writing retreat every year. It is a week of learning, enlightenment and immersion in the world of writing. I WANT TO GO. (A scholarship is the only way it’s going to happen!)  

And if you write for children, you need to know about this place. Here is a link… http://www.highlightsfoundation.org/pages/current/chautauqua_top.html 

And if you don’t write for children, you should still know about this place! There is more to Chautauqua than the Highlights foundation. http://writers.ciweb.org/ and http://www.ciweb.org/family-entertainment/ and here http://www.ciweb.org/popular-entertainment/  for more!  FYI: Actor/writer/musician Steve Martin plays the banjo… won a grammy for doing so! How do I know this very random information? He is listed as one of their featured performers for 2011. If I lived closer (and could afford the cost), I’d be there!

Have you been to Chautauqua? Share your experience with me!


12 thoughts on “Writing 4 children, teens and YA: Chautauqua

  1. Hi Donna,
    I haven’t been. People rave on it! I want to take a long weekend workshop but I’ve never seen one offered except during the school year. I can’t go then. I’ve thought about contacting them and asking would they consider offering one in the summer. Maybe they would.
    Linda A.


  2. Linda – have you checked out the summer programs? The highlights founders workshops?
    Joan – Thank you for coming by, Joan! You are such an encourager!
    Cheryl – from everything I’ve read and heard, the Highlights Chautauqua experience is fantastic!


  3. I love Chautauqua! There’s an amazing amount of thinking and learning going on there every day of their nine-week summer season, and it’s especially fantastic for writers and other creative types. It’s well worth dreaming about–and I sure hope you get to go someday!


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