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Summer was busy, fun, even educational. At least that's what NeXt's readers told us in the essays they wrote especially for us. Read on for some pretty interesting tales of what kids did this year at summer camp.

The first day I went to the camp offered by the Theatre of Youth, I didn't know anyone. A half-hour into the day, I knew everyone. We started to play a game called Zoom. One person says "zoom" to another person, and it keeps going. You can reverse it, but you've got to do it fast.

Each day there is a new topic, like directing, acting or puppeteering.

Then you have a snack break and you work on an afternoon project, like putting on a skit, that fits the topic of the day.

The sad part comes in leaving. The last day you put on on all the skits you worked on, in front of your parents.

This is a camp you'll remember for life.
-- Benjamin Gaetanos, 11


I have been playing the cello for two years, and this summer I joined 221 other kids from across New York State at the Fredonia College Music Camp for one week.

I lived in a dorm and shared a room with another camper. It was like having our own apartment. Students each received a key to their room.

We had name tags and we were also given meal cards. The meal card reminded me of a credit card. When my parents paid the camp fee, some of the money went on the meal card. It was neat because I just chose my meal and the cashier swiped my card. I didn't need any real money and I could eat whatever I wanted. There were really a lot of choices.

The basic thing that we did was rehearse with our instruments. We didn't go hiking or anything like that, but we did have a recreation period for about an hour each day. I think this was my second-favorite time because I could choose what I wanted to do.

Every morning after breakfast I could pick an activity for the recreation time like soccer, basketball, tennis, art and crafts, or practice rooms. If I didn't want to sign up for anything then I could just sign up to spend time in my room.

My worst time was trying to stay awake during late evening concerts and then getting up at 6 a.m.

I would consider my camp a mixture of serious learning and fun. All of the practicing really helped me to become a better cello player. At the same time I made new friends and learned what dorm living was like. The one bad thing was that there was only one TV to watch for a whole building of people.

During the week of camp, a talent show was held and a competition for quartets was part of this. That was really a lot of fun! At the end of camp all the orchestras played their individual songs and for the last song the orchestras all combined. That was a very impressive moment!
-- Stephanie Clark, 11


This summer I went to Girl Scout Camp Seven Hills in Holland. This camp was an overnight camp, and I went to a special program called "Hug a Horse." In this program I had an arts and crafts lesson, then we had a half-day of working with horses. I got to ride the horses and take care of them. At the end of the day, we went swimming or to a farming class where we got to take care of farm animals.

My favorite part was riding the horses. I rode Ebony, but I got to know Big Red and Margarita. I learned how to clean stalls, pick the dirt out of the hooves and what equipment is needed to ride.

I made a lot of good friends. The food was very good, and I had certain jobs I had to do, such as clean the tables after we ate. Sleeping in a cabin without my parents was really different. I really had a lot of fun with the other girls in my cabin. We went on many hikes and we had a big campfire ceremony and learned a lot of camp songs. We had a storm one of the nights we camped and some of the girls got a little scared. But the camp counselors were nice and made us all feel a lot better.

This was my first overnight camping experience for a whole week without my parents and I really loved it. I'm looking forward to doing it again next year.
-- Jackie Boyczuk, 9
Orchard Park


This past summer I went to an academic summer camp at Vassar College. I loved everything there, except the squirrels.

I was walking innocently from my dorm, through the grove, when I heard a ripping sound. I thought little of it until it began raining Cheerios. A little startled, I ran to the edge of the grove. When I looked back, I saw a group of squirrels munching from a half-box of Cheerios. The other half of the contents was in my hair!

To this day I wonder if the squirrels are still laughing about me.

-- Casey Perley, 11


My favorite part of Zoo Camp was the night walk. We walked around the zoo with a flashlight. All the nocturnal animals were awake. The lions and leopards were walking around. The tigers were playing with each other. The hyenas were tired from fighting so they were just lying around. One of the campers shonea flashlight on the lions. The female lion went up on the rocks and the male lion started to roar. His roar was so loud it made us jump!

When we saw all the nocturnal animals we went up to the classroom. We watched a movie, then we went to bed. I had a great day.

-- Andrew Fox, 9


A bad thing happened at camp one day. One of the kids drew on a wall, which was against the rules. The counselors asked us who did it, but nobody confessed.

The counselors made us sit on the floor for a long time. We had to talk about what happened. The counselors made us sit still for 12 minutes. Even after 12 minutes, nobody confessed.

I didn't do it, but someone else did. We never did find out who wrote on the wall.
-- Joe Ragains, 9


The best thing that happened at camp, I think, was hiking. One hike took almost an hour.

One time we had to bring lunches. We were eating at a little waterfall. It was so pretty. After we ate our lunches, we were all very hot. There was a small, little pond that our teachers said we could go in if we wanted to. Almost everyone in our group went in. The people who went in all had to walk back in wet clothes. Our cabin has a fireplace, so when we got back to our cabins we had a nice toasty fire. Hiking is excellent!

-- Cailin Gibbons, 9


I went to Camp Green Lake this summer every day from 9 to 4. The best part was that we were allowed to sleep over on Thursday night. We played games and ate S'mores. On the night we stayed over we had a performance for the parents. In my group I was voted best actress because I fainted the best!

We went swimming every day in Green Lake, which looked very sandy at first. However, when the water got deeper, the bottom was mushy and totally gross! But the swimming was fun because it was very hot. We had to wear different color swim caps to tell what group you were in so that the lifeguards could see you better.

I met three new good friends. Their names are Melissa, Dawn and Katlyn. Melissa is a twin but not an identical twin. Dawn was really wild. Katlyn was wild, too. Katlyn wrote to me. She couldn't believe that Dawn was actually quiet on the way home. I thought that it was because she was missing all her friends from camp.

-- Ashley English, 11


Camp was exciting and horrible.

It was exciting because of a three-day canoe trip that our cabin went on. The sunsets were so beautiful. It was such an amazing experience cooking over a fire, exploring the wilderness, sleeping in a tent and swimming in the lake. The horrible thing that happened was that I was dropped on my head. Two people were holding on to my ankles and wrists and swinging me, when the person who had my wrists let go and I fell on my head. I had severe headaches. Then I spent a day in the infirmary. The nurses were checking me for a concussion. I missed some of my favorite activities, like riding and kayaking. Luckily, I did not have a concussion.

Camp had its ups and downs, but it was great.

-- Caitlin Worrell

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