Pinellas students enjoy variety of spring break camps
LARGO - St. Petersburg may serve as the backdrop for drug- and gun-filled romps in the newly-released film “Spring Breakers,” but many Pinellas County students have been making better use of their weeklong vacations from school — exploring new interests while they recharge their batteries. From ceramics to crime-scene investigations, local businesses and community centers have dedicated the week to getting local students out of the house and into a new hobby. The Science Center of Pinellas in St. Petersburg has been hosting about 50 students at its annual spring break camp. Kindergartners through third-graders are learning about marine science, and fourth- through eighth-graders are participating in mock crime scene investigations, complete with fake blood spatters and staged crimes. “We’ve been here 53 years and have always done these camps — that’s originally how the science center opened,” said Shelly Puckett, center business development manager. “A local scientist wanted to make sure students could get some hands-on programming even way back then … It’s a lot more fun than lying around on the couch.”Members of Girls, Inc., an outreach program for elementary and middle-school girls, have been learning how to play chess in Pinellas Park, and budding artists are doing everything from painting ceramics to creating glass art at Practically Pikasso Kids Art Camp in St. Petersburg. The St. Pete Beach Community Center is offering a camp for artsy kindergarten through fifth-graders called Pint Sized Picasso Week, and its fishing camp introduces some of St. Petersburg’s best fishing spots to amateur anglers 8 and older. Some of those 9 to 14 years old are hard at work on a musical review through the Largo Cultural Center’s Project Broadway camp. “We’re really trying to find out what talents the kids have, teach them audition processes and show them what they’re capable of doing with just a week,” said Rob Mondora, the cultural center’s artistic director.