Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.
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Summer adventures abound
By Xpress Correspondent
Published April 4, 2005
Whether you learn a sport, pretend to be an astronaut or discover what it takes to be a spy, summer camp is always a big deal. Thousands of kids will either sleep away from home or participate in day camps. And you must find the camp that best suits you (and your parents). We asked X-Team members to share some of their camp memories as the end of school draws near.
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Two summers ago I went with my church youth group to West Virginia to hike on the Appalachian Trail for 41/2 days. We had no bathrooms, no showers, no anything, only what we could carry on our backs. The hike was one of the most physically straining activities I have ever done. The grossest thing was we had to use one bowl for breakfasts and dinners. To clean it, we swished a little warm water around in it. My last meal was like a casserole of the last few days' meals of spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, dessert and many flavors of oatmeal! It was definitely an interesting experience. And next time, I definitely will take a sponge.
Alice Feigel, 16, is in 10th grade at Countryside High School in Clearwater.
The girls were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of horseback riding and campfires danced in their heads.
With the last spider smashed and screen door latch strapped, I had just settled down for a long summer's nap.
When outside the cabin there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
At the bottom of the porch steps stood an enormous black bear.
There I stood, grasping the flimsy door handle shut, as my 10 campers rested peacefully. Little did they know, I was the only thing standing between them and this frightening creature. I waited anxiously for the bear to make its move. To my relief, after what felt like an hour, it trudged away under the cabin and out the other side. I definitely want to go back to this camp, if only to reunite with my ferocious friend.
Taylor Pashley, 18, is in 12th grade and is homeschooled in Dade City.
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Rest hour was a time at camp reserved for thoughts of home, letter writing and napping. But that was not the case with me. I exercised a keen interest in making funny faces while the counselor's heads were turned, or launching paper airplanes full of gossip from last night's coed dance. One afternoon I was feeling particularly creative and began to investigate the bed I was packed into like the Ritz Crackers I readily consumed. Some bunk beds were made of wood while some were metal and spring loaded. I happened to be a long-legged 5-foot-7 and situated directly below the springy style bed, which I didn't like, I might add. The fidgeting commenced and I began to plot revenge against an unknowing 5 footer overhead. I figured out that if I situated my legs just right I could push up and send my shorter friend flying; so that's exactly what I did. Of course, she did not think it was as funny, but I was completely thrilled. I became lost in my triumph devoid of consequences and suddenly high-fives and cheer became a shrill squawking. "What were you thinking, Sarah?" Dozens of smart-aleck comments flashed across my mind, but the 14-year-old in me decided against it. Nothing was going to save me from scraping dirty plates all night.
Sarah Wilkerson, 16, is in 10th grade at Palm Harbor University High School IB.
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I was never shipped away to summer camp for weeks at a time as a child, so the closest thing to summer camp that I have experienced was a weeklong mission in North Carolina. I slept on the floor of an old high school for a week and had to wake up before 7 every morning to songs on the loudspeaker. A small amount of suffering for a week wasn't so bad because we were able to rebuild and fix a lot of old houses for the needy. I would definitely do it again!
Lauren Adams, 17, is in 11th grade at Seminole High School.