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Students learn about tourism, hospitality at summer camp
28 participating in eXtreme eXperiences Outdoor Adventures
Summer campers at Lanier Charter Career Academy’s eXtreme eXperiences summer camp get instruction as they climb a rock wall Tuesday morning at Pine Valley in Lumpkin County.

Taylor Secor had never climbed an outdoor rock wall before, but that didn't mean he wasn't going to try.

Secor, a rising eighth-grader at West Hall Middle School, is one of 28 students participating in the Lanier Charter Career Academy's third eXtreme eXperiences Outdoor Adventures summer camp this week.

"I did it last year, and it was really fun," Secor said. "It's a great experience for people to get outdoors. It gives you the courage to do things you'd never do."

Makayla Abercrombie, a rising seventh-grader at West Hall, was the first camper to make it to the top of the wall and back.

"When I first started I was OK," she said. "Then I got higher, and it got scarier. It was a really good experience though."

Abercrombie said her favorite outdoor adventure so far was the kayaking trip the campers took Monday.

"It's good exercise and you get a beautiful view down the river," she said.

Outdoor Adventures continues with fun at Lake Lanier Islands today and Frisbee golf Thursday.

"I wanted to give kids the experience to see different attractions in the North Georgia area," said Rachael McClain, the teacher leading Outdoor Adventures.

The adventure camp, intended to teach students about the hospitality and tourism industry in Georgia, is one of three eXtreme eXperiences camps Lanier Academy is hosting for students in sixth through eighth grades.

There are 27 students learning how to become an eXtreme Cake Ace and 21 students designing 3-D animated films as part of the eXtreme Shorts camp.

"This is our third year to do the camp," Lanier Academy Principal Cindy Blakley said.

"We give them one week to spend studying a career field so they can go back to school and make wise choices in terms of academic courses, career courses and fine arts courses they want to take."

The camp is not limited to Hall County residents, but Blakley said the programs are based on the Hall County Schools curriculum.

She said the programs change each year.

Tyson Sigette is teaching the eXtreme Shorts group how to create Pixar-like short movies with a kid-friendly software program.

"They picked it up and shared what they're learning with each other," Sigette said. "They're all working on their own individual movie, and at the end of the week, they'll compete in a film festival."

By Tuesday, the Cake Ace group had already baked their cakes and were hard at work creating marshmallow fondant and "Cake Boss"-style decorations.

All three programs will have "graduations" Thursday, with chances for campers to win prize packages correlated to their group's theme.

Blakley said the school received very positive feedback about the "extremeness" of eXtreme eXperiences.

"We want kids to get out and realize life is not just a video game," McClain said.


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