The Adirondack Center for Writing and Adirondack Voters for Change are proud to announce a new regional essay writing contest: My Dreams for My Community. The contest offers winners cash prizes totaling $1,400 for an essay (up to 5 pages in length) on the topics of community and change.

Submissions are open now until June 15, 2023 and will be judged by a panel of professional writers, educators, and community members.

The contest is open to those living in the counties of Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Northern Herkimer/Old Forge area, St. Lawrence, Warren, and Northern Washington. Two age groups are invited to submit essays of up to 5 pages:

  • Ages 13-18
  • Ages 19-25

Prizes will be awarded for each age group as follows: $400 for First Place, $200 for Second Place, $100 for Third Place, and 3 Honorable Mentions.

The winning essays will be selected by our judges in July, and all applicants will be notified then. The contest will culminate in a celebration reading at Adirondack Center for Writing (15 Broadway, Saranac Lake) on Monday, July 24th at 7PM.

Looking for help with writing your essay? Watch our video below… 

Watch: “How to Write a Short, Compelling Essay with Shir Filler” 

See below for theme and submission guidelines:

Theme: “My Dreams for My Community”

The essay should address any or all of the following topics:

  • 1) Define your community
  • 2) Say what you care about
  • 3) Offer ideas for change.

The prompt questions below are simply meant to help guide your writing and thinking. Note that you are not required to answer all of the questions. We look forward to reading essays that use creativity, clarity, and passion to get the point across.

Define your community

  • Describe what you consider your community to be
  • You might think about your community geographically, socially, economically, artistically, or
  • simply in terms of your peer group. Essentially: who are your people?
  • How did you find your community?

Say what you care about

  • What are the issues that your community cares about most?
  • What concerns does your community have?
  • Why are these issues or concerns important?

Offer ideas for change

  • What would you and your community like to see changed about politics or culture?
  • If you could run things, how would you do it differently?
  • When you dream of the world you want, what do you see?

Submission Guidelines:


  • After submitting the form below, you must email your essay to in order for it to be considered.
  • Attach your essay to the email as a Word document or PDF.
  • Title your email: “Essay Contest Submission: [your name]”.
  • Essays should be double spaced, in Times New Roman, 12pt font.
  • 5-page maximum length (Your essay does not have to be 5 pages, but it cannot be more than 5) 
  • The deadline to submit is June 15, 2023.

Questions? Email at any time.