Middle schoolers invited to ‘Hobbit’-style summer camp

This summer, middle schoolers in your community will have the opportunity to take part in an exciting, free-of-charge summer camp experience: The Hobbit Immersion Camp! Kids will spend two weeks on a guided, in-depth exploration of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic fantasy story “The Hobbit.”

The camp participants will read through the book in two weeks, taking part in live daily large-group online class sessions alongside hundreds of other kids throughout the country and even the world. More than 60 chapters have already been formed. Local participants will gather at Hollis Social Library for discussion, crafts and interactive reading fun. The Hobbit Immersion Camp will run from July 10-21.

The camp is a primarily a nationwide initiative organized by Signum University, but is open to any library or group around the world. Signum is an online institution devoted to making high-quality education accessible and affordable and connecting a vibrant community of academics and literature enthusiasts offering master’s coursework and many free programs exploring works of imaginative literature (science fiction, fantasy, fairy tales, etc.). Signum runs a wide array of public education programs through its Mythgard Institute, which has specialized in innovative online teaching on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien for six years. Signum and Mythgard were founded by Hollis resident Corey Olsen, author of “Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit” and host of Tolkien Professor podcast, which has engaged a growing worldwide audience of Tolkien enthusiasts for almost a decade. In the camp, Signum is finally expanding its public educational programs to kids.

The camp’s innovative design will create a unique interactive environment that will allow middle schoolers everywhere to delve deeply into Tolkien’s remarkable story. The camp will combine the accessibility and convenience of an online course with the personal engagement of a local small-group environment. During the two weeks of the camp, Signum will broadcast daily a one-hour online class session which all students in the program are welcome to attend live. These large-group sessions will be taught by by DMae Binkley, an Alaskan middle school teacher whose highly popular classes on Tolkien’s literature in her own school inspired the formation of the Hobbit Immersion Camp. Students attending these sessions live will have the chance to get their own questions answered during the sessions, as they watch and listen to Binkley’s presentation. Students unable to attend the sessions live will have access to audio and video recordings, so they don’t miss anything.

In addition to the online class sessions, the camp will also feature local chapters where students can get together with their peers. They will have the opportunity to talk about the book and their reactions and experiences, as they take part in supervised craft projects and Tolkien-themed fun. Dozens of these local chapters will be meeting all over the country, giving hundreds of kids of the chance to participate in this one-of-a-kind experience.

And the most exciting news of all is that the camp will have a local chapter in your area this summer! Signum is delighted to be partnering with Hollis Social Library for the camp this year. All are welcome, free of charge! If you are interested in participating, contact Hollis Social Library, 2 Monument Square, at 465-7721. If you have general questions about the Hobbit camp, feel free to send an email to Signum’s camp organizers at camp@signumu.org. If you know a middle-schooler who loves Tolkien or fantasy, or if you would like to see your middle-schooler engaged in a fun reading project this summer, get signed up! Exploring Middle-earth with friends will make 2017 a summer to remember.

– Submitted by Signum University

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