The Annual Expressions: Talk Up Not Down

About the Program

This program is sponsored by The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Prince George’s County, Department of Parks and Recreation, and will be held at the Patuxent River 4-H Center. The 4-H Center will be providing camp staff, including a director, three group leaders, a nurse, two kitchen staff, and four overnight cabin staff. The residency will be led by Master Poets Christopher Fields (The Poetry Man), J Joy Alford (Sistah Joy) Neville Adams (The Phoenix), Janique Muckelvene, Karin Wilkinson, Lillian Shaw, Pierre Dennis, and supported by other artists and educational professionals. 

The 40 participants, ages 13 to 18, will be staying in two air-conditioned cabins – one for males and one for females. Each cabin has its own restroom and shower facilities. The dining hall is located across the lawn from the cabins and includes two classrooms in the basement. The 4-H camp will be providing three healthy meals and snacks each day. Water will be available all day and the campers will be encouraged to drink water throughout the day. There will also be a cash snack bar available in the evening. 

The 4-H Camp was selected because of its accreditation from the American Camping Association and the other activities available on site. These activities include a rope course, arts and crafts, hiking trails, access to the Patuxent River, Project Nature Quest, and a variety of spaces that will be used for writing and other art-related activities. It is important to have the participating teens away from the distractions of their home environments so they can focus on the creative process of writing.  

Each participant and parent/legal guardian will be required to sign a contract, which stipulates the behavior expectations of each participant while attending the program. Each participant is required to have a health form completed by his or her physician and must have had a physical in the last two years. This information will be kept on file with the camp nurse during the residency. 


The residency will begin on Sunday with a check-in time of 3:00 pm and it will end on the following Saturday with a performance of the work created by each of the participants. Chris Fields, Sistah Joy, Neville Adams, and Karin Wilkerson along with other artists will lead the residency, teach and mentor the participants in the use of poetry and the written word. Additional staff will be onsite to assist with the program. The participants will be in groups of 15-18. 

Each group will work with the poets and will learn about Rap and Hip Hop music as well as how to use poetry to express their inner feelings. As the residency is taking place in a rural setting, every opportunity to work outside and in non-traditional spaces will be used such as the woods and by the river. This will stimulate additional thinking about the environment and environmental issues. 

Workshops covering a variety of art genres will be offered. For instance, participants may have a workshop that explores watercolor painting or sculpture, and participants may also have the opportunity to participate in a community service prospect.