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Our Mission

Before the inception of Slam Camp, we were all young people who happened upon the world of competitive performance poetry. We were both welcomed into this enchanting community by elders and mentors, and were instantly captivated by the social and emotional power of spoken word. It became not only our passion but also the focus of our professional and academic careers. While we've all enjoyed our time and success on stage, we soon realized where slam poetry is most powerful to us: the classroom.

We’ve seen poetry change the lives of thousands of young people. We’ve seen spoken word serve as a catalyst for social change and humanitarianism. But most near to our hearts and our mission are the times we’ve seen a young person write their very first poem. With their hands and voice shaking, we witness them share their words in front of a classroom of their peers. It is this moment, the spark of empowerment, which fueled us to start Slam Camp seven years ago. Since 2012, young writers have traveled from across the country to learn about spoken word from some of the most accomplished and recognizable performance poets in the world.

We believe strongly in the power of spoken word as a tool of youth empowerment. Our aim is to practice a holistic pedagogy that educates the whole student, not just how she, he, or they write. We take pride in the fact our camp is a safe space for students to build their identity as writers and people. Without a doubt, this is our favorite week of the year and we sincerely hope you join us.

Poetry makes me feel like I have something important to say, [that I am] worthy of being listened to, and I first started feeling that after attending Slam Camp for the first time.
— Briauna, Slam Camp Alum 2016

What We've Achieved

  • Almost two hundred young people have attended Slam Camp since 2012.
  • Alumni have traveled to our institute from 38 different states.
  • Two different Teachers of the Year (Missouri 2015 and West Virginia 2016) visited our facilities to learn from our pedagogy.
  • Awarded a grant from the Bloomington Arts Commission.