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What they are saying

The first day of each tour is a great opportunity. For some, it's a chance to look forward to upcoming coasters but for everyone it's an opportunity to meet new friends and reunite with old ones. My first day of my first trip in 2006 was different though. We were driving down to Florida. I knew some people already because my brother, cousin, and my brother's friend were all on the trip, but they were all older than me. In fact, I was the youngest camper on tour and there was only one camper that was entering the same grade as me. I had met some people at orientation and my brother and cousin knew people from 2005to introduce me to. Still, I wanted to make friends of my own, meet new people. I will never forget the first time I made my first real friend at TCT. I was sitting by myself making sure that I was close to those I already knew, it's funny how insecure you can feel around so many new people. All of a sudden a girl whom I had never met before who had ! gone on the first week sat in the seat next to me. "Are you new here," she asked with a soft smile that made me forget how lonely I felt. "Yes," I was surprised I could make out that much. "Don't worry, you're going to make amazing friends, ThrillCoaster is an amazing experience." She didn't lie, that first friend I made gave me confidence to go and make new friends. I met so many people that would change my life forever. ThrillCoaster Tours is a wonderful way to make new friends. While bonding about your love for coasters, you meet tons of people and Ira makes sure that no one is left out. I have made countless friends at this camp that I hope will last for a lifetime. I will never forget my first TCT friend. -- Camper 2006, 2007

News 34

Summer means it's time for roller coaster enthusiasts to hit the amusement parks.

News Channel 34's Melinda Zosh shows us how one thrill seeker is expanding his hobby into a business and a part time job. Ira Gordon loves riding roller coasters, and as a teen he started realizing that a one day admissions pass wasn't good enough.

President and Owner of ThrillCoaster Tours Ira Gordon says, "I'd always get mad, because we wanted to ride the roller coasters all the time and so I said when I got older I wanted to be able to have the opportunity to build something like this."

Gordon is an accountant for most of the year, but during the summer he runs a roller coaster camp for teens called ThrillCoaster Tours.

Gordon says, "If you're into roller coasters and if you're into thrill seeking, we are the answer. There's no other camp that does what we do on a day by day basis."

Teens from as far away as Hawaii are signing up to ride the fastest and most popular coasters. 15-year old Jacob Hogan is experiencing his fourth year as a Thrill Coaster camper.

Jacob Hogan says, "Initially you come for the roller coasters, but you make great friends and you come to make new friends and hang out with all of them."

New and old friends are starting their journey at Knoebel's Amusement Park near Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. It's the largest free admission amusement park in the country and is best known for its family friendly environment.

Knoebel's Spokesman Joe Muscato says, "This is a place where mom, dad, the kids, grandma, grandpa can all come. We're not going to charge a big gate fee for grandma and grandpa to come enjoy the kids and have a good time."

Melinda Zosh Stand up: And Binghamton residents would find this carousel interesting. It's one of the few in the country where you can still grab a brass ring.

But today, teen campers are here to ride the Phoenix wooden roller coaster. It only reaches a top speed of 45 miles per hour, but that doesn't matter to Hogan. He says it's all about the sensation of floating out his seat when the coaster drops down hills.

Thrill Coaster Camper Jacob Hogan says, "Every coaster is a new adventure, and it's always bigger and better and you're trying to see what you can go on next."

And the campers didn't seem to mind riding in the front row on their first roller coaster adventure. At Knoebel's Amusement Park, Melinda Zosh, News Channel 34.

Gordon says it's not too late to sign up for one of his two remaining camps. For more information go to  Knoebel's is open seven days a week.  It offers everything from a haunted mansion to kiddie roller coasters, a campground and a golf course.