Teen campers write about exploring Cleveland with LEI
College student and Heights High graduate Maya Watkins was a summer intern at Cleveland Heights-based Lake Erie Ink: a writing space for youth. Working with students who took part in LEI’s Teen Camp led her to reflect on “what it was like to be a young kid, with limited mobility and busy parents who can’t always take you everywhere you’d like to go.” With LEI, the teens visited Terminal Tower’s observation deck, rode the Rapid, and visited MOCA Cleveland. The experience inspired Watkins to share, below, first-person accounts of the interest and excitement the teens felt, traveling around Greater Cleveland with Lake Erie Ink: “It was a pleasure to work with these students, and see the art they created as they looked for inspiration around the city. I hope that our community can sense their interest and enjoyment from their own words.”
“I’ve lived in Cleveland all my life, but I’d never really seen all that the city has to offer until Lake Erie Ink’s Teen Writers camp. We spent our week exploring all the hidden gems in Cleveland, starting with the historic Soldiers and Sailors monument. We were only there for a short time, but it was amazing to see the large part our city played in the Civil War, especially the 9,000 names inscribed on the inner walls of the monument. We then trekked up to Terminal Tower’s observation deck, 42 stories up. Looking down at Cleveland from all the way up there, it was interesting to think of how the city has changed since the time of the Civil War, and how it might have looked back then. We spent the RTA ride back to camp lost in thought.”
—Jane Berick, age 14
“This was my first time seeing the inside of MOCA, the Museum of Contemporary Art. MOCA had a sleek, modern exterior, built with two-way mirrors covering the entire building. I saw my reflection as an amateur artist. Inside, we were given a tour of their newest exhibit, How to Remain Human. As an artist, it was refreshing to see paintings and other forms of art that I had to think about. I liked that the art work wasn’t all the same; it wasn’t as predictable as other art I’ve seen in other previous museums. The art work was from modern day; the artist challenged the view point of anyone who saw it. Filled with many sculptures including a purple foot and bird bath fountain made of wicker baskets, paintings by Michelangelo Lovelace, and the building being an art in itself, I am definitely glad I was able to have this experience this summer.”
-Gabi Cicerin, age 12
Lake Erie Ink serves writers of all ages. Fall programming begins Sept. 15 with the Ink Spot After School program for grades 4–8. Evening Ink, a weekly Teen Writing Workshop for grades 6 and up, takes place Wednesday nights starting Sept. 30. Find out more at www.lakeerieink.org.
Maya Watkins, a Heights High graduate and Hiram College student, was a summer intern at LEI.