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An eXtreme eXperience: Summer camps focus on career offerings
Janie Hancock, from left, Jessica Panter and Taylor Vick taste freshly made pasta with Alfredo sauce Monday at eXtreme eXperiences at Lanier Charter Career Academy. - photo by NAT GURLEY

“Do you feel nourished?” That’s what rising seventh-grader Christina Antoci asked Adrianna Silva after wiping toner from her face Monday.

Christina and Adrianna, a rising eighth-grader, had just finished a midday activity focusing on creating and applying homemade facials.

This was the first time at camp for both Christina and Adrianna, who were intently discussing the ingredients for fruit facials.

“There’s banana for regular skin, avocado for dry skin and then there’s strawberry for oily skin ... it nourishes the skin,” Antoci said.

They were two of several middle school students participating in the beauty makeover summer camp, which is just one of three eXtreme eXperience camps offered by Lanier Charter Career Academy, the others exploring cooking and cake baking.

Each camp offers students experiences in areas that they can build on in high school programs, specifically at the academy.

“The whole idea was to try to come up with experiences that middle schoolers could take advantage of, that sort of played off the programs that are offered here at Lanier Academy,” career tech coordinator Rhonda Samples said. “We make sure we’ve made that connection between middle school experiences, high school and then after high school, where they can go post-secondary to get more training.”

Terry Haymond, camp leader for the culinary program, said it focused on cuisines from different cultures.

“(We’re) trying to touch on three to four different countries from around the world. Today we did Italy and we made pasta and sauce,” he said. “When they see that they get to get into the kitchens and actually get to work with the machinery, not just boil pasta and eat it — they get to make the pasta from scratch — that’s the kind of thing that’s unique to the experience.”

Over in another kitchen, campers were preparing design ideas for their own personal cakes.

“This morning they made buttercream, and now they’re making marshmallow fondant and molding chocolate,” instructor Dara Lavallee said. “... They’re coming up with some really creative ideas.”

Jack Rohlfs, 12, was eager to decorate his cake, which was planned with an alien spaceship theme.

“I’ve cooked before, but I’ve only made rectangle cakes with basic buttercream,” he said. “I haven’t made fondant, so this is a first.”

Meanwhile, rising seventh-grader Mary Swanson was working on her musical-themed cake.

“I like Queen. On the very top is going to be a fondant figure Freddie Mercury,” she said.

As for the camp?

“I think it’s a really good learning experience,” she said.

This is the fourth year for the eXtreme eXperiences summer camp. It will continue through Thursday and conclude with a showcase, which includes a cake decorating contest and a fashion show, allowing students to show parents their newfound skills from the week.

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