Life at Fir Acres

“My writing has changed and improved after being exposed to other types of writing. I am thinking deeper, and I know my friends will see a change when I get back home. I have discovered how to learn more, how to gain more from my experiences.”—10th grader

Fir Acres Writing Workshop outdoor reading Fir Acres Writing Workshop outdoor reading

Typical Day

Workshop classes meet for three one and a half hour sessions, or four and a half hours a day, Monday through Friday, leaving students time to write on their own, socialize, and explore the Lewis & Clark campus and Portland in the summer.

Weekday Schedule

7:00–9:00 a.m.          Breakfast

9:30–11:00 a.m.         Morning session 

11:30–12:30 p.m.       Lunch

1:00–2:00 p.m.          Afternoon session I

2:00-3:00 p.m.         Reading / Writing period

3:00–4:30 p.m.         Afternoon session II

5:00–7:00 p.m.          Dinner

7:00 p.m.                   Visiting Writer Readings or social activities led by Resident Advisors

10:30 p.m.                 Students must be on their hall

11:00 p.m.                  Students must be in their rooms with the doors closed

12:00 a.m.                 Lights out

Fir Acres Community Reading in the Black Box Theater, 2019 Fir Acres Community Reading in the Black Box Theater, 2019

Fir Acres is a generative writing program. Class time is devoted to the work participants produce on-site.

Daily writing includes reflective journals, stories, poems, and personal and persuasive essays. Students’ home Workshops are mixed-age, and all Workshops—the entire community—share a course-wide reader with works of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction, to be used at the discretion of each faculty leader. During the second week, participants have the opportunity to choose elective classes with topics as wide ranging as Reading and Writing the Wild Outdoors, Script Writing, Magical Realism, Writing About Place, and Speculative Writing (horror, sci-fi). Each summer, the faculty select their topic, which is typically a specialty.

Learning happens outside the classroom, too. On field trips, led by faculty and Resident Advisors, students practice observing and writing in new environments.

Outside the Workshop sessions, students are welcome to utilize campus facilities (gym, track, library, etc.) or lounge by the Fir Acres’ estate pool (when lifeguards are on duty). 

On three evenings, Fir Acres also welcomes distinguished, award-winning authors to campus to meet students.

Friends for life Friends for life