Camp Orlando ’18: Prepping for Better Publications


Photo by Courtney Hanks

Carson Francis

During summer break, an ordinary student is sleeping in or at the beach. But a journalism student is awake bright and early with a coffee in hand. Running from one session to the next, Camp Orlando attendees are working on various projects. The UHSpress staff was among some of those students this year at the annual journalism camp.

While attending the camp, press staff members from middle and high schools have the opportunity to take any course offered. Guest instructors come from all over the country to attend and teach these courses. Students learn new skills from these instructors to improve their schools’ publications.

“You get three and a half days of immersive training,” UCF professor and Camp Orlando writing course co-instructor  Rick Brunson said. “You’re baptized. This is a week long baptism in journalism, and you learn about everything you need to know to walk on to your staff and on to your campus in August ready to go…You get the fundamentals in the training here to do that in a very short period of time…It’s wild and it’s sleepless…But it’s a blast, so you have fun doing it.”

Students receive feedback on assignments and group projects by top-tier instructors while in their courses. Senior UHSpress Managing Editor Joey Arquette went through a group exercise in the section editor class to determine what kind of personality he and others had.

“The end goal was to show us some ways we can connect with our new staffers or even with veteran editors and find new and better ways to work together,” Arquette said. “This is especially helpful to us as managing editors because our main job is to train the incoming staff and help them create a new [year]book, and knowing how each of these staffers work…will make the process much smoother.”

When editors understand how to approach their new staffers and ways to teach them, it helps everyone work together on their school’s publications.

“[In the Yearbook 1 course]I learned how to design spreads and all of the different things you can add, like sidebars and employed photos,” freshman yearbook staffer Ella Cushko from Oviedo High School said. “I was really nervous at first, but there were people who had experience and they’ve helped me.”

By the end of the trip, press teams and individual staffers have the opportunity to win awards and certificates in every course. The awards range from first, second, and third place. Honorable mentions are also given out.

This year, the UHSpress staff won 2nd place in section editors, and an honorable mention in Theme Editorial Leadership. Most importantly, the staff was able to bring back new knowledge to put towards the new school year’s publications.