This summer, SUNY Oswego and WCNY, with the support of the Syracuse City School District (SCSD) and Central New York Community Foundation, will offer the first-ever "Visual Storytelling Summer Camp." The free camp is open for applications from middle-school students in the region.

Assistant professor Francisco Suárez from SUNY Oswego’s Communication Studies Department at SUNY Oswego has designed this summer camp to teach the fundamentals of video production and the power of storytelling. Twelve applicants who are entering 7th, 8th or 9th grade will have the opportunity to be selected to participate in this three-week program to learn the skills and knowledge to become the next influential visual storyteller.

“Is the next Lin-Manuel Miranda or Spike Lee among these kids?” Suarez noted. “We believe they are!”

Suárez will promote the camp today on Monday, May 1, on WSYR NewsChannel's popular "Bridge Street" program, which airs originally as a live broadcast at 10 a.m. on weekdays, and appears around an hour later at the above link.

The camp will run weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., June 27 to July 26, at the WCNY PBS facilities in downtown Syracuse, allowing participants an easier commute and access to top-of-the-line video production equipment and facilities.

Suarez noted that statistics show 80 percent of students in the SCSD live in economically disadvantaged households. Many students spend the summer without any extracurricular activities due to the high cost of summer programs – so this initiative seeks to create a free learning opportunity for students interested in this field. This program especially supports middle-school students from racially and ethnically diverse and underprivileged backgrounds.

During each program, the participants will learn the principles of storytelling, character development, storyline, plot and resolution, and visual storytelling techniques like video recording, audio recording and video editing. 

"I am curious and excited to see what kind of visual stories we will get from these kids,” Suarez said. “At the end of the program, we are organizing a viewing party to watch the final videos and celebrate the hard work and creativity of the participants."

Applications are open via through May 12.