skip to Main Content

Questions about the Summer Workshop | One Year Adventure NovelQuestions about the Summer Workshop?
We are happy to chat any time! To help you out, we compiled these answers to the most common questions we get from families after reading through the Summer Workshop event page.

Eligibility to Attend

We don’t require students to have finished the course before attending. That said, the more your student has done of the course, the more he or she will benefit from the sessions and critique group time. The course gives students a “shared language” for talking about their stories, and some sessions are designed as extensions of the principles taught in the course videos.

Our recommendation is that if the student has not started the second half of the course (the part where students write the rough draft), it may be better to wait a year, unless the student has already finished a novel before starting OYAN.

If you decide to register a student who won’t reach Part Two before the workshop, please have the student bring the short scenes from the outlining stage (see workbook lessons 6–8, 10–12, 15, 18, 23–24, 29–30, 33, 37–39). This way the student will have writing to share.

Unlike many other writing events for young writers (and events for older writers, for that matter), our workshop is designed as an extension of the instruction in the course. This is one of the special features of the workshop: that students arrive with a shared foundation, and often know each other already from interacting on our Student Forum.

We would be thrilled to have your student join us if you decide to invest in a licensed curriculum set.

We license the way we do precisely because of the interactive and immersive nature of the course. The One Year Adventure Novel is not just the physical materials in the set; it is also access to quality ongoing support resources. These include access to workshops, the online Student Forum, participation in contests, and monthly webinars on writing topics.

Please email or give us a call at 1-888-481-4550 so we can discuss your exact situation. We do sometimes make exceptions in cases like this but you need permission directly from the Workshop Coordinator.

We would be happy to discuss this with you by email or phone, but the short answer is that while there is presently no upper age limit for the Summer Workshop, most students are 13–22 years old, with a few in their mid-twenties. The “tone” of the event might be “too young,” and we would need to discuss whether a critique group would really be a good idea.

The One Year Adventure Novel course itself is very beneficial for adults of all ages, but you would probably have a better experience at a workshop designed for more mature adults.

The One Year Adventure Novel curriculum is nonsectarian, and is approved for purchase with public funding. It is a writing program, not religious instruction. However, the instructor himself is a Christian, and everything taught in the course is compatible with a biblical worldview. The workshop speakers come from a Christian perspective and some of the teaching sessions may include Christian themes and/or references.

Being a Christian is not a requirement for attendance, and the focus of the event is on writing, but this workshop may not be the best fit if you are not comfortable with Christian themes or relevant expressions of personal faith being woven into some of the speakers’ talks.

If you have any questions, please contact us; we are happy to talk with you. Our goal is to train and support teen writers. We want every young writer who attends our workshop to have a positive experience!


Just themselves. Students do not need to print off their ticket confirmation emails and they do not need to present photo I.D. We will check them in based on their first and last name.

We will provide a 24-hour emergency number shortly before the workshop. If your student does not have a cell phone, please call that number. We will make sure you reach your student.

If you can reach your student by phone, please inform the emergency contact of the situation as well, so we can do all we can to support you and your student.

Olathe is a very safe, peaceful city, and we have never had any incidents at our events. The college has its own security department on call 24/7; emergency call-boxes are located all over the campus. Every dorm floor is accessible only with a swipe card (provided to students at check-in), and every dorm room has its own key (also provided at check-in). That said, we do, of course, encourage attendees to use caution and common sense, especially after sundown, and to walk in groups after dark. The paths between the buildings we use are lit; students are not allowed to venture into unlit areas.

Yes, there is ample free parking on campus!

Thank you for respecting MNU’s pet policy. Unless you would prefer to book a stay for your pet at an area kennel, we recommend staying off-site at a hotel that allows pets, such as the Olathe LaQuinta Inn and Suites.

We would love to be able to accommodate your needs, but MNU does not allow recreational vehicles to stay on campus. You will need to make arrangements at an area trailer park.

We regret to say that the buildings we use for our event do not contain drink or snack machines. However, Pete’s Place, located in the Cunningham Center, offers a coffee bar, beverages, and snacks. A schedule for hours of operations is provided at the workshop.

Off-Site Services and Policies

Olathe offers standard chain grocery stores, restaurants, and hotels (see list in next question), but none are within easy walking distance of the campus, and there is no public transportation worth speaking of. If you plan to eat or stay off-site, you will need access to a car.

Delivery Food Options

Domino’s Pizza – 2.2 miles (6 min)
705 E Santa Fe St
Olathe, KS 66061

Pizza Hut – 0.9 miles (2 min)
12705 N Mur-Len Rd
Olathe, KS 66062

Subway – 2.2 miles (6 min)
701 E Santa Fe St
Olathe, KS 66061

Mr. Goodcents – 2.4 miles (6 min)
2133 E 151st St
Olathe, KS 66062

Wong’s Kitchen – 4.3 miles (11min)
20166 W 153rd St
Olathe KS 66062

Grocery Stores

Walmart Neighborhood Market – 2.7 miles (5 min)
18555 W 151st St
Olathe, KS 66062

Hen House Market – 2.3 miles (6 min)
13600 S Blackbob Rd
Olathe, KS 66062

ALDI – 3.5 miles (10 min)
15290 W 119th St
Olathe, KS 66062

Whole Foods Market – 3.7 miles (10 min)
14615 W 119th St
Olathe, KS 66062


CVS Pharmacy – 1.5 miles (3 min)
1785 S Mur-Len Rd
Olathe, KS 66062

Walgreens* – 1.8 miles (5 min)
13450 S Blackbob Rd
Olathe KS 66062

*Healthcare Clinic location


Culver’s – 3.2 miles (7 min)
18685 W 151st St
Olathe, KS 66062

Applebee’s – 1.1 miles (3 min)
16110 W 135th St
Olathe, KS 66062

Jose Pepper’s Mexican Grill – 1.9 miles (5 min)
13770 S Black Bob Rd
Olathe, KS 66062

Panera Bread 3.6 miles (10 min)
15108 W 119th St
Olathe, KS 66062

Chipotle – 2.4 miles (7 min)
14317 W 135th St
Olathe, KS 66062

SPIN! Pizza – 3.8 miles (10 min)
14230 W 119th St
Olathe, KS 66062

Fortune Wok – 4.3 miles (11 min)
1236 W 135th St
Overland Park, KS 66221
*Gluten-free dinner options

Coffee Shops

Starbucks 1.8 miles (5 min)
15225 W 135th St
Olathe, KS 66062

Sweet Tee’s Coffee Shop 0.7 miles (2 min)
2063 E Santa Fe St
Olathe, KS 66062

Park Street Pastry 3 miles (8 min)
101 E Park St
Olathe KS 66061

Scooter’s Drive Thru – 0.9 miles (3 min)
(No website)
2027 E Santa Fe St
Olathe, KS 66062

Department Stores

Walmart 2 miles (5 min)
13600 S Alden St,
Olathe, KS 66062

Super Target – 3.5 miles (10 min)
15345 W 119th St
Olathe, KS 66062

We don’t make exceptions to this rule, even with a parent authorization note. As you might imagine, it would be very difficult for us to monitor, and could easily mislead other students under 18 to think they can go off-site too.

It’s very important to us to foster a sense of community—one reason why sessions are mandatory. We want students of all ages to enjoy activities together on campus. We encourage students 18 and older to stay on campus as well.

Thank you for checking with us. We don’t allow students under 18 to leave campus unless accompanied by their own parent or legal guardian. This rule is in place to give parents who are not on-site full confidence that their students are safe. Although our experience of OYAN parents at our events is overwhelmingly positive, we feel it is wiser to err on the side of caution. Thank you for understanding.


Yes! There is free wireless internet access in the dorms as well as in the Cunningham Center.

There are two bathrooms on each floor of the Girls’ Dorms and of the Boys’ Dorm, and they are shared between two halls. The bathrooms each contain several toilet stalls, shower stalls, and sinks.

The shower stalls have two curtains: one between the stall and the rest of the bathroom and one inside the stall to separate the shower itself from the small changing area. There are hooks and a shelf in the changing area.

We recommend bringing flip flops to wear in the shower, and a housecoat/bath robe to add to your privacy.

Bath soap and hair dryers are not provided, but towels are provided to each guest.

Over the years, we have roomed families in different ways. Usually, Family Rooms are on a long floor with two shared bathrooms: one designated for men and one for women. Each of the bathrooms contains several toilet stalls, shower stalls, and sinks.

In these bathrooms, the shower stalls have two curtains: one between the stall and the rest of the bathroom and one inside the stall to separate the shower itself from the small changing area. There are hooks and a shelf in the changing area.

Some years we have also had access to a different building with suites. Suites contain 2 or 3 bedrooms with a shared living space, kitchen, and bathroom. They are, essentially, a small apartment. Attendees do not have permission to use the kitchen. If we place a family in a suite, we consider gender and number of people to the bathroom.

We recommend bringing flip flops to wear in the shower, and a housecoat/bath robe to add to your privacy.

Bath soap and hair dryers are not provided, but towels are provided to each guest.

While there are laundry facilities located in the dorms, they are not available for groups to use during the summer. Please pack accordingly.

For attendees aged 18 and up, there are several laundromats located near campus.

Members of the opposite gender are not permitted in Girls’ Dorm or Boys’ Dorm rooms. (In the Family Dorm, immediate family members who are lodging together are, of course, permitted).

Before curfew, both genders are allowed in the Stockton-Rice dorm lounge only (on the first floor).

The Girls’ Dorm Moms and the Boys’ Dorm Dads are parents of OYAN students attending the workshop, or a member of our staff. We choose people who have come to the Summer Workshop at least once before and stayed in the dorms. We know most of the dorm parents very well personally from years of interacting with them at events.

If you are interested in serving in a Dorm Parent role, please submit your Dorm Parent application.


We understand how convenient nut bars and nuts are as a source of protein on-the-go, but several attendees have severe, life-threatening nut allergies. We have a totally nut-free environment in all (yes, all) of the buildings and outside areas that we use at Mid-America Nazarene University. NO nuts are permitted in ANY form. This includes nut butters, granola bars, protein bars, trail mixes, etc., with nuts in them, loose nuts, and any other snacks with nuts. This policy is strictly enforced. Nut anaphylaxis is a severe, life-threatening form of allergy not to be confused with common allergic reactions. Even the smell of nut oils on fabric and skin can send someone into a fatal shock state and impair their ability to breathe. One of our OYAN students wrote an excellent blogpost on the topic which you can read here. Thanks for understanding!

Here are some great alternative sources of protein-on-the-go that don’t require refrigeration:

  • Beef jerky
  • Avocado
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Butters: sunflower seed butter, tahini (sesame seed butter), chickpea butter

Here is a recipe for a protein bar that does not include nuts OR gluten, shared by Lizzie, a student, who says, “These granola bars are easy to make, very yummy, dairy- and gluten-free, and full of protein. Good for breakfast or a quick snack.” She added that they have spoiled her for any store-bought bars!

Mix these together in a bowl:
2 C. Oats
1/2 C. Chia seeds
1/2 C. Sesame seeds
3/4 C. Coconut
1/2 Tsp. Salt

Melt these together in another bowl:
1/2 C. Seed butter of your choice (Lizzie: “I’ve made these with tahini (sesame seed butter) and they turned out fine. Sunflower seed butter should work too, though I haven’t tried it.)
1/3 C. Coconut oil
1/4 C. Natural maple syrup
1/3 C. Chocolate chips

Mix the melted stuff with the dry stuff. Line a 9×9 pan with wax paper, spoon the mixture in and spread it around so it’s smooth. Place more wax paper on top, and set another 9×9 pan on top of that to weigh it down. Refrigerate until solid, then cut up. Wrap in tinfoil for an easy snack!

These bars do not need to be refrigerated, but they will get softer the warmer it is.

Yes, this is fine! Snacks can be eaten anywhere in the Cunningham Center or outside. Just be aware that the cafeteria is open only at mealtimes and only students who have purchased a Lodging & Meals ticket are allowed inside.

Please encourage your student to use the breaks between sessions, and free time, to eat. However, if the student really needs to step out of a session to briefly eat a snack, we understand.

Staff and dorm parents are not able to “parent” students in highly individualized ways. If you send your student, you are doing so with the understanding that your student is mature and stable, capable of taking medication, eating proper meals, communicating with you, etc. However, if you have health concerns for your student, we encourage you to state these on the student’s online registration form, in the spaces provided for health concerns. Your student’s dorm parent has a copy of this health information provided on the registration ticket form and will appreciate knowing if a student under their supervision could use some extra attention.

We are unable to accommodate severe food allergies or intolerances. However, MNU’s cafeteria is run by Pioneer College Caterers, a well-known and respected food service provider. Although the options during the summer are not quite as extensive as they are during the school year, for a cafeteria, Pioneer does an excellent job. Meals always include a salad bar and a sandwich bar in addition to the main entrées. There is always fresh fruit as well. (But you won’t find nuts, because we are a no-nuts event.)

We have a stock of over-the-counter medicine and first aid supplies. If a student needs an over-the-counter medication (pepto-bismol, headache meds, etc.) the student should inform the Dorm Mom/Dad or one of the Student Helpers or Staff (introduced during the Monday evening opening meeting.)

Students are not permitted to share any prescription drugs with another attendee.

If a student is too sick to attend sessions, the Dorm Mom/Dad can grant permission to the student to be absent.

If the problem is serious, we will call the student’s parent(s) to discuss options. In the case of an emergency, we will get the student to urgent care and refer to the health insurance information provided on the student’s registration form. We will of course communicate with the student’s parent(s), but when you sign the Legal Waiver, you authorize our staff to get the student to help.

How to Pack

  • Pens/pencils
  • Sharpie pens for signing T-shirts
  • Phone charger
  • Flip flops for wearing in the dorm showers
  • A housecoat, bathrobe, or kimono-style wrap for use in the dorms
  • Safety pins
  • An extra blanket or warm layers for sleep
  • A screw-top water bottle
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Several face masks
  • Lotion
  • Pain medicine for headaches, etc.
  • Earplugs
  • A large bag or a backpack for carrying your belongings around campus

The buildings are air-conditioned, but June in Kansas is typically pretty hot. That said, remember to use common-sense modesty. Most summer clothing should be fine, just avoid super-short shorts, spaghetti-strap tops, strapless dresses or tops, backless shirts or dresses, anything that shows any part of your stomach or is cut too low, etc. Male students may not go shirtless inside or outside.

You do not need any formal attire at all. But if you would still like to wear formal attire, please note that the clothing guidelines also apply to any formal attire you choose to wear.

Be comfortable; be respectful.

NOTE: We WILL ask you to return to your dorm to change if your attire does not meet dress-code standards. Thanks for respecting the guidelines!

Costumes are more than welcome, as long as they are not immodest or disturbing. Please do not bring something that would fall under the “horror” genre. We reserve the right to tell you to change out of a costume if we find it inappropriate in any manner. Costumes are, of course, completely optional.

No weapons permitted, including swords, knives, and guns, fake or real. No matter how cool your Middle Earth sword may be, you cannot bring it—or any weapon whatsoever—onto the MNU campus.

Every year, we get many questions regarding our “fake weapons rule.” Here are some clarifications:

Regarding fake items or costumery: No wooden swords. No metal swords or knives of any kind, even if they’re “not sharp.” But you CAN bring cardboard, foam, or rubber swords; painted nerf guns (without darts); bows (without arrows); replica-type weapons that are not pointed or easily mistaken for a real firearm. (If you have something in this category, or aren’t sure about an item you’d like to bring, please email with specifics for an okay. Thanks.)

Please do not bring air soft guns. If Mr. S. has to spend the summer cleaning up plastic BBs (or blood) on campus he is going to be very grumpy.

If you bring something we feel is not safe, we reserve the right to keep it during the workshop and return it to you during Saturday morning check-out.

Any violation of this rule is grounds for expulsion from the Summer Workshop and being sent home early at your own expense.

Critique Group

Students should print and staple their excerpts before arriving. Critique groups start directly after lunch on Tuesday. There is no access to a printer on the MNU campus. Students under 18 may not leave campus to print unless accompanied by their parent/legal guardian. Students 18 or older may go off-site during free time to print excerpts, by car, but we strongly advise that they print ahead of the workshop week; we want every student to enjoy a fully immersive week.

If you do drive off-site (parents and students 18+ only), here are the closest options:

FedEx Office Print + Ship Center – 1.5 miles (5 minutes)
15229 W 135th St
Olathe, KS 66062
Copies are 17 cents a page single-sided or 34 cents for double-sided. 

Olathe Indian Creek Library – 1.3 miles (4 minutes)
16100 W. 135th St.
Olathe, KS 66062
Prints and copies are 15 cents a page single-sided or 30 cents for double-sided. 

Students ages 16+ may obtain a Guest Pass to log in to Olathe Public Library computers and print documents. Students ages 15 and under must have parent or legal guardian with them to gain access to printing services.

Each critique group has an appointed leader. We choose leaders on the basis of maturity, leadership ability, and experience with critique groups. All the leaders have been to at least one Summer Workshop and are 18 or older.

The leaders have to attend an online training meeting beforehand, in which we explain our expectations and go over concerns, such as how to gently intervene if a student brings writing that is upsetting or inappropriate, and how to proceed if a student is harsh toward others or becomes upset.

But lest these reassurances give you the impression that critique groups are challenging to supervise, let us further assure you that they are actually a lot of fun, and students consistently report being very happy with their experience! We think part of this can be attributed to how hard our staff works to put together groups with common interests, and a balance of ages and gender.

Writing is very personal, and it can be scary for young writers to share their work with others. It makes sense that your student might prefer your presence in the room. However, we need to consider the rest of the students as well. We have found that the other students are intimidated by the presence of an adult they don’t know sitting nearby. They do not share their thoughts as freely.

We choose critique group leaders who are good at reassuring students and making the group time fun and non-threatening. They monitor the feedback students give each other to make sure it is both helpful and respectful.

It is our view that it will turn out better for your student and for the group as a whole if the student joins the group on their own and faces their anxiety. We consistently receive happy feedback from students once they discover that critique groups are fun, not frightening.

Although we see critique groups as a vital part of the Summer Workshop experience, we do not force students to participate. If the student is very set against it, please email us and request to be exempted. Please let us know before May 13. Our staff spend many hours putting groups together with an eye to age, gender, and affinity. If a student will not be participating, we need advance notice.

This is not permitted. It is not respectful of the other group members, who have taken the time and gone to the expense of printing out excerpts for everyone. In addition, there is something about reading and commenting on a physical copy of somebody’s writing that an audio-only experience can’t replicate. We want you to get the best feedback possible on your writing.

If you don’t have a printer at home, please have your materials printed at a business before you arrive.

As we state on the Summer Workshop webpage, we recommend that the four excerpts you bring come from the four key chapters of your novel: the Inciting Incident, Embracing Destiny, The Black Moment, and The Showdown. However, if you don’t have an “OYAN novel” in progress right now, or you don’t have these key scenes/chapters ready, you may bring different fiction excerpts. It’s more important that you bring something you need help with than to scramble to bring something that fits the recommendation list but would not be of much help to you.

Please do not bring poetry, fan fiction, screen plays, or short stories to the Summer Workshop.

If you have any questions or concerns about what to bring, just send us an email at about your situation, and we will be happy to help you figure out what would be best.

PLEASE NOTE that ALL excerpt content must be in keeping with the content policy:

Your novel must be free of offensive content (especially of a sexual or gratuitously violent nature). While we respect the right of authors to create honest stories, we also respect the right of readers to retain their innocence. We therefore reserve our right, exercised through the critique group leader, to not include discussion of any novel deemed to be offensive to a general audience.

If you agree with your son or daughter’s self-assessment about attending without contributing excerpts, please have the student email by May 13. We need to know in advance so that we don’t inadvertently create groups with more than one student in this category.

If you are unsure about what would be best for your student, we would love to talk with you about your concerns so we can come to the best possible decision for your student.

Mentor Appointment

Mentor Appointments are 20-minute appointments held Tuesday through Friday during the afternoon critique groups.

During these appointments, students talk one-on-one with the mentor. They can practice pitching their novel, ask questions, or discuss anything else related to writing. The appointments are held in an open area in the Cunningham Center; one of our staff members monitors them to make sure the appointments stay on schedule.

We do sometimes have unexpected openings in the Mentor Appointment schedule, due to illness or something else unforeseen. You are more than welcome to see us at the Summer Workshop bookstore/help desk about getting on the waiting list. We do not, however, keep such a list before the workshop begins, so there is no need to email us about this before arriving.

Mr. S. does not do Mentor Appointments. He does more speaking at the Summer Workshop than any other speaker, so he does not have enough time. It’s also very important to him to spend his free time talking with students and their families in the Cunningham Center, on the grounds, etc. He would love to chat with you informally, so don’t hesitate to introduce yourself or go over and talk to him during the week.

Our goal for Mentor Appointments is to offer a non-intimidating way for young writers to learn how to talk to industry professionals. We want students to talk to the mentor one-on-one because this is the best approximation of what a “real” appointment would be like. The mentors are not scary, and they know to expect the student to be nervous and unsure.

If you would like to talk to one or more of the speakers yourself, we recommend finding them between sessions or in the cafeteria. The speakers take some of their meals at the cafeteria.


If you paid for transportation to/from Kansas City International airport, you will receive a confirmation email with details no later than June 5. If you have not received any communication regarding your shuttle reservation by June 5, please email and put “Airport Shuttle” in the subject line.

We station an OYAN representative at the terminal, by the luggage carousels. Kansas City’s international airport is small. This representative will wear OYAN apparel and is 18 or older. They are in charge of meeting students and making sure they get on their shuttle to MNU.

When we email you your shuttle information, we include the representative’s name, photo, and cell phone number, in case you have any problems locating them.

In the event that you have a flight delay, do NOT call your representative. Call the OYAN Bat Phone (a phone number for any emergencies you may have during the week) at 1 (913) 522-6296, and we will get you sorted out from there.

Important note for this year: Since last year, the Kansas City airport has relocated to a brand-new terminal. This facility has a wide variety of amenities as well as a much more convenient place for students to meet the One Year Adventure Novel student representative who will be their terminal greeter!

We highly recommend watching the video linked below, which gives you a tour of the airport so that you will have some familiarity with the building when you arrive. We especially recommend watching from 10:03 – 10:50, which covers arrivals, what the luggage carousels look like, and where you will be meeting your terminal greeter.

Watch the new KCI terminal tour >>

If you have questions about the Summer Workshop we haven’t covered here, please get in touch!
We are always happy to chat with you!

Back To Top