ATSUGI NAVAL AIR FACILITY, Japan — Alexis Panaligan will cart snow pants and a bathing suit to summer camp later this month.

There, she will swim, meet new friends and play soccer, basketball and video games. She also plans to learn to snowboard.

Possible bruises aside, the 14-year-old figures it will beat a summer stuck on base.

Panaligan won an expenses-paid trip to High Cascade Snowboarding Camp at Mount Hood, Ore., courtesy of the U.S. Navy. She was one of 135 students worldwide, ages 12-17, to win a trip to camp through the Navy Teen Scholarship Program.

The contest, sponsored by the U.S. Navy’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation headquarters in Millington, Tenn., asked students to choose one of five summer camp destinations, then describe in up to 150 words why they liked the camp and should be selected.

Panaligan wrote that she yearned for adventure and wanted to learn to snowboard.

“Considering … that I have been living in a quite insipid base for nearly three years, seizing this scant opportunity is my only hope for enduring the long, tedious summer,” she wrote.

Panaligan characterized Atsugi summers as boring and dull.

“I’ve always wanted to go to camp,” she said, adding that most of her friends will work summer jobs.

Her father, Chief Warrant Officer Alex Panaligan, was already pricing summer camps for his daughter. The camp he’d found in California cost $6,000.

“She’s been bugging me for the past two years,” he said.

He was deployed to the Persian Gulf when he heard Alexis won a camp scholarship. “I was ecstatic,” he said. “To me, $6,000 is a lot of money.”

Atsugi officials said the Navy received several hundred entries for this year’s contest.

To liven up her application, Panaligan pasted a collage of verbs — such as “jump” and “ride” — around her essay. She also added snowboarding pictures she cut out of magazines.

She said the essay was easy to write — 150 words is about half a page — but Panaligan’s not sure why her friends didn’t enter the contest.

“I guess they were too lazy,” she said. “I’m not sure.”

Atsugi Teen Center Manager Ginger Duhaylonsod said 15 to 20 students picked up applications, but she’s not sure how many followed through with a submission.

Panaligan, a straight-A student who will be a sophomore at Camp Zama High School, was the only winner from Atsugi, Duhaylonsod said.

“It’s an excellent program,” she said. “It’s too bad more kids didn’t apply.”

Panaligan starts 10 days of camp July 31. She will be joined by 29 Navy teens from around the world.

She said she’s never snowboarded before but has an idea of what to expect:

“I’ve heard that for the first few times, you just kind of fall on your face.”

For a list of this year’s winners, go to mwrprgms/youth.html.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

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