This wonderful workshop has ended. For this summer's youth offering, see Madeline Island Writing Intensive for Young Women. Here's what one parent had to say about last year:


Jeannine Ouellette is a night gardener. A nurturer, in others,  of that which is yet unsprouted and unseen. She gracefully held potential and confidence for my teenage daughter when my daughter doubted herself. The Elephant Rock workspace was beautiful, creative, safe, and freeing. My daughter left more certain of new friends, herself and her writing. 

--Timothy Frantzich, father, singer-songwriter, grade school teacher

About the "Summer Day" Workshop


What will you do with your one wild and precious life? So asks the poet Mary Oliver in her gripping and provocative poem “The Summer Day.” What better theme for Elephant Rock’s first-ever week-long writing intensive for teen girls! This special writing workshop is distinct from most writing workshops available for young women. Thoughtfully selected writing exercises will lead the girls safely and joyfully into creative risk taking through the portals of playful and profound, silly and soulful. Intensive writing exercises and projects will be supported by innovative word play,  yoga, and artistic work to help girls unlock doorways into their own creative insights. Not only will participants create, refine, and share work while learning important elements of writing craft, but they will also tap into the surprise of their own balance of strength and surrender through the asana yoga practice. They will be guided into  the mystery of deep inner stillness. Ultimately, each girl will have the opportunity to discover and believe in the sound of  her own fierce, original voice.


August 5 - 9 2013

Where: Elephant Rock (Jeannine’s house in Prospect Park)

Facilitator: Jeannine Ouellette

Yoga Instructor: Theresa Hutch

Fee: $425

Registration: Download form here. Application form includes instructions for payment by check. Contact me directly if you prefer to use PayPal.

(Please note: No special experience with yoga or writing is required. Click here for info on  fall 3-day retreats for mothers & daughters or women only.) 

This workshop is designed to attune young women to the pulse of their “one wild and precious life” while encouraging them to explore—via fun and participatory creative writing exercises—the question of who they are and who they are becoming.

ENGAGING GROUP WRITING EXERCISES provide a fun, safe, and deep experience of creative writing that is filled with surprises.

VINYASA YOGA, breathing exercises, and grounding meditations catalyze and help integrate further surprises.  Through partner poses, heart and hip openers, and safe, gentle inversions, the girls will have the opportunity to encounter themselves and others in entirely new ways. Each girl will also be gently and elegantly guided toward a deeper and fuller acceptance of and appreciation for her one and only miraculous body. 

DYNAMIC ARTISTIC ACTIVITIES (not the same old, same old!) will help crack open a side door to insight and offer a release valve for the intensity of the writing experience. For example, partner mask-making combines a deep sensory experience with discovery of inner self, outer self, and other. Magical!


EXTRAORDINARY READINGS of the work of exemplary writers will also be closely studied and discussed, because there is no better path to writing than reading. Excerpts will include poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Together, we'll "pull back the curtain" and identify and discuss elements of craft (sensory description, narrative voice, point of view, active voice, power verbs, symbolism, metaphor, etc.).

SHARING OF WORK is crucial, too. The girls will have the opportunity to read their creative work aloud to each other, one of the most powerful rites of passage  in a carefully facilitated and emotionally safe process.

WE WILL CELEBRATE week's end on Friday  with a public reading for parents and special friends, followed by a reception with refreshments and merriment.

Sample daily schedule (note, this is preliminary and will be refined and expanded):

9 AM             Opening Writing Exercise

9:30    Readings, Discussion, and Focus on Craft

10:30     Yoga at Tower Park (or if inclement weather, indoors)

11:30           Lunch at Tower Park (girls bring packed lunches, light afternoon snacks will be provided)

12:30          Writing Exercises

2:00           Writing Prompt Followed By Individual Writing

3:00          Break

3:15             Artistic Work

4:00           Close



“The Girl I Mean To Be”

(Mary’s Song in the Musical Version of The Secret Garden)

I need a place where I can go,
Where I can whisper what I know,
Where I can whisper who I like 
And where I go to see them.

I need a place where I can hide, 
Where no one sees my life inside,
Where I can make my plans, and write them down
So I can read them.

A place where I can bid my heart be still
And it will mind me. 
A place where I can go when I am lost,
And there I'll find me.

I need a place to spend the day, 
Where no one says to go or stay,
Where I can take my pen and draw
The girl I mean to be.