Since 2002, the Alpha Writers Workshop has hosted a group of a teenagers from 14 to 19 years of age for an 11-day residential writing workshop at the University of Pittsburgh's Greensburg campus. As far as I'm aware, it's the only teen workshop to focus on science fiction, fantasy, and horror writing, too.
In that way, it's similar to the Clarion Writer's Workshop that both Cory Doctorow and myself (and many others) attended, but for teenagers; in fact, there are quite a few Clarion grads who also attended Alpha, including Lara Elena Donnelly, author of the Amberlough Dossier books as well as the upcoming Base Notes (who serves on the board as well). The students get to work alongside professional writing mentors as. This year's teaching staff includes Charlie Jane Anders, P. Djeli Clark, Fonda Lee, and DongWon Song.
Alpha was originally founded as part of the Pittsburgh-based science fiction organization Parsec. In 2021, however, the workshop incorporated as its own independent 501c3 organization — meaning that next summer's workshop will be its first as a completely independent entity, without the broader organizational support structure of Parsec*.
As such, the Alpha Young Writer's Workshop is more in need of financial support than usual. Tuition costs $1200 per student, which covers food and lodging, but the organization wants to be able to ensure admission to any talented teenager who applies, regardless of their financial capability.
A little more from the organization themselves about how far a donation goes:
• $10-$15 buys a case of Pop Tarts, the quintessential Alpha snack.
• $50 covers one night's stay in a single room on campus.
• $200 buys all students and staff pizza to refuel after traveling to the workshop on Day One.
• $250 covers the airport shuttle to escort all weeping Alpha graduates to their planes at the end of the workshop.
• $300 covers one delicious dinner (including vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free options!) for our 20 students + 10 staff in the cafeteria, complete with an ice cream waffle tower!
• $1,200 covers tuition for a student in need.
• $5000 covers bringing 4 awesome guest authors to the workshop.
• $22,000 covers our operating costs for one year.
Also, if you give a minimum of $50, you get a dope Alpha 20th anniversary coffee mug. And who doesn't want that?
*There's no dramatic reason for this split, as far as I'm aware; it was simply that Alpha's growth goals surpassed Parsec's capabilities, and it no longer made sense for them to have to answer upward and rely on Parsec, which has other priorities to care for as well.