The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 9 No. 21 - February 11, 2009


Center teens have blast on Tennessee ski trip

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

PHOTO PROVIDED From left, Andy Jonatzke, Richard Hynds, Chris Callahan,
Rania Lardas, Julian Botero and Sean Pittman have fun in the snow.

ANNA MARIA – The enthusiasm was contagious as 10 Island Community Center teens gathered to talk about their recent week-long ski trip to the mountains of Tennessee.

"It was a blast," Rania Lardas.

"It was sooo cold," Nicole Botero.

"The snowboarding school was pretty cool, and we got into snowball fights and had fun. The worst was getting snow in your pants," Chris Callahan.

"It was a rush going down the mountain," Julian Botero.

The youths, along with Center teen coordinators Andy and April Jonatzke and chaperones Sean Pittman, Monica Diagle and Wayne Sewall, loaded up a 15-passenger van with more clothes than they could wear in a month, according to Andy, and drove to the mountains on Dec. 28.

Their destination was a three-story chalet at the top of a steep mountain, where they unloaded the van, assigned rooms, then headed to the grocery store to stock up. Everyone pitched in, sharing cooking and cleaning duties.

"The first night we did karaoke on the X-Box and everybody made a fool of themselves," Andy recalled.

The next day, they boarded a 120-person cable car and headed up a mountain for their snow sports adventure. Some went to ski school, while others went to snowboarding school.

The following two days were filled with skiing and snowboarding, and Emma Barlow told of a harrowing experience she had on the mountain.

"I was skiing on the bigger mountain and fell," she said. "I started sliding and couldn’t stop. I slid under a fence and was hanging off the edge of the cliff."

Fortunately, Chris Callahan saw what happened.

"She flew past me and was heading for the edge of the cliff," he related. "I scooted over and pulled her away from the edge."

On New Year’s Eve day, they drove go-carts, climbed a rock wall and played miniature golf before dressing up and going out to dinner. Another day, they rode ATVs on the mountain. On Jan. 3, they packed it up and drove back home.

"It was worth all the hard work raising the money," Julian Botero said.

The kids raised $5,500 by holding raffles, car washes, bake sales and selling glow sticks at the Center’s skate nights and manning the concession stand for other Center events.

"We would like to thank everybody who helped them go on this trip and all the businesses that donated dinners for their raffle," Andy said.

And without skipping a beat, the teens are brainstorming their next adventure.

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