The Alpha Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Workshop for Young Writers provides a ten-day crash course in speculative fiction writing for students aged 14-19. The students write and revise a short story, receive critiques, and work with four professional authors--which have included big names like Tamora Pierce and Charles Coleman Finlay.
For the past few years, I've been peripherally involved by providing extra critiques of student submission stories. My first year, I critiqued Rachel Sobel's submission story, "The Loyalty of Birds," which she revised and sold to Clarkesworld Magazine as an impressive debut. She's an exceptional case, but not the only Alpha student to go on and publish--the Alpha website includes a list of alumni achievements, including publications in Lady Churchill's, Aberrant Dreams, Fantasy Magazine, and multiple Dell Award placements.
Professional workshops like the Clarions are well known for helping emerging writers, but Alpha goes back a stage further than that. Not every writer starts working as a teenager, but I know that when I was a kid, I was hungry for feedback and eager to meet other writers and be taken seriously--the chance to get together with other writers and receive feedback from real, live authors would have sounded like a dream.
Like any workshop that wants to get the best students, Alpha provides need-based scholarships. And like any workshop in this economy, Alpha is struggling to provide for all of its students. They've recently put up a website requesting donations to help them send teenagers to writer-camp.
They are offering a bit of bait, too--donations of five dollars and over will be rewarded with a copy of Ned and Jane, a collaborative girl-meets-zombie story written by the Alpha class of 2009.
Check out their website and consider donating, whether to get the zombie story or just show support for young writers.