I was on my way to go camping (where there is no cell/internet!) when I received a message from @pammoran asking if I was going to participate in the #blog4NWP campaign. I was embarrassed to reveal that I had been too chicken to write beyond the 140 character tweet. How could I possibly add anything to the eloquent voices that had already written about the importance of the National Writing Project? What made me think I had worthwhile thoughts to share with the world? I had almost decided to blow it off when something happened on my trip which changed my mind.

Since we live in Central Florida, and we camp in tents, local camping for us is usually when it is cooler outside. One of our favorite places to go is Hopkins Prairie in Marion County. The Florida Trail runs through the area, it’s a great place for watching birds (love those sandhill cranes), and there are several springs in the area where we can swim. We arrived, set up camp and ate lunch, and then decided to go to Salt Springs. Everyone had gone into the water but me since I didn’t want to brave the chilly (72 degree) water. When my husband got out, he told me about being able to see several types of fish and how the water wasn’t too cold. He knew the opportunity to observe the fish would get to me, and it got me thinking. What is the worst thing that could happen by getting in the water? I would get a little chilly? Maybe nothing, but I would get to see some cool fish? I decided to take the plunge, pun intended, and had some fun snorkeling and checking out the aquatic wildlife.

Now that I’m at home, I am thinking along the same vein about blogging, especially for such a worthy cause as NWP. What’s the worst that could happen? No one reads what I have written? No one likes what I have written? What’s the best thing that could happen? My voice will be added to those who have already written.

So, here goes. I first became aware of NWP through an invitation to participate in a Saturday professional development opportunity. I went and was absolutely re-energized to teach writing in my classroom. The teachers who presented their projects had wonderful ideas and were enthusiastic about sharing their work. I attended another Saturday session a year later and again was excited to return to my building and to help my students find their writing voices. Now I am applying to join a new NWP group closer to my home and hope to get accepted and get started this summer. I welcome the opportunity to become a better teacher of writing by becoming a better writer myself.

I believe this: if our country is going to be able to move past all of the problems we are having now, our students need to be able to read, reason, and then to be able to write coherently.  Business leaders want their future employees to be able to collaborate, develop plans, and to see them through to completion. What better way to help our kids do these things than by helping teachers learn how to guide our kids so that they are capable, self-motivated, and thoughtful participants in our democracy? Keep the funding for NWP, leaders of Congress–our country depends on it!

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