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fishing is highlight for youth at outdoor adventure camp
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Fishing pole in hand, the children were spread along the Stanislaus River banks, intent on catching a big one even if the fish were not cooperating.

The scene was Wednesday morning at Jacob Myers Park during the Riverbank Recreation Department Outdoor Adventure Camp for 6- to 12-year-olds.

"There's an eight incher out in the middle, just kicking back in the weeds, probably a catfish," camp leader Kerrie Webb told the children as they tried to make their casts go further.

The rumor was that the wife of Darren Martin, who is employed in the Public Works Department, caught a six-pounder there the night before. She used anchovies for bait. The children were using salmon eggs and lures.

Camp participant Stephanie Vazquez said she caught her shirt, her finger and a piece of weed with her hook, but no fish.

Fishing was the top activity on Wednesday's calendar. The children had tie-dyed shirts with food coloring the day before. They were looking forward to swimming at the community pool on Thursday and wrapping up the week with a barbecue on Friday.

There were only seven in the class - 13 are expected for another session this week - but they appeared to be having a lot of fun.

Their neat, brown camp shirts carried a design of a person squinting through a magnifying glass at an ant perched on the nose of a frog.

Other activities included making figures of animals out of plaster, painting miniature totem made of styrofoam, putting together six-inch-long paddle boats powered by rubber bands and making sponges out of a special paper that swells up when wet.

Kenny Johnson brought along his pogo stick and demonstrated at length. Johnson's bounce record is 510 times up and down. His time record is two and half hours.

The children also painted rocks gathered from along the river. Tristen Platt drew a bear on his and Johnson did a space ship.

Favorite activities among the children?

"Making my shirt, and fishing. That's all," said Alex Fernandez. "Painting rocks. I put a turtle on mine," said Barrios.

Everybody had camp names. Their leader, Webb, was "Curly Fries." Her assistant, Juanita Argumendo, became "Hash Browns," and Vasquez was named "Brownie."

Water games with a hose were popular. The park playground was nearby, so they could play "Octopus," a type of tag invented by Johnson, according to Webb.