In 1983 Bard College at Simon's Rock established a summer writing program for high school students modeled after the three-week Writing and Thinking Workshop required of all entering students at Bard College. Each summer 84 academically motivated students are selected to attend the Young Writers Workshop. Former participants have gone on to such colleges as Amherst, Bard, Harvard, Haverford, Kenyon, Princeton, Simon's Rock, Smith, Williams, and Yale. The workshop focuses on using informal, playful, creative writing as a way to strengthen skills of language and thinking. Out of these informal writing activities, using techniques of peer response, students develop more polished pieces, ranging from personal narratives to stories, poems, and exploratory essays. The small size of the workshop sections(12) allows for individual attention to each student and helps to foster the sense of belonging to a supportive learning community in which students can feel comfortable exploring new directions in their writing and thinking. Trusting one's own language and voice, learning to think for oneself and in collaboration with others— these are the qualities and skills that the workshop strives to develop. Each week students develop a portfolio of "works in progress" and then meet individually with their workshop leader to discuss what they have written. Rather than evaluation, these meetings focus on what the writer is trying to do in his or her writing and how best to accomplish these goals. The academic program is enhanced by the rich natural and cultural environment of the Simon's Rock campus, located on 200 acres in the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts near the sites of such cultural institutions as the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Shakespeare and Company, Barrington Stage Company, the Berkshire Theatre Festival, and Tanglewood, summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Berkshire Music Festival. Students have the opportunity to attend performances by these groups during their stay at Simon's Rock.