CINCINNATI (TDB) -- The chief parrothead has put out the word again that he'll pay for 10 Cincinnati public high school students to attend Seacamp next August in the Florida Keys. Jimmy Buffet has been sending them down from Cincinnati for the past 15 summers. Yes, they have to come from the city's public school system. It's a generous and gracious payback. The singer borrowed the city's name for a line in a hit song, and somebody in Cincinnati coined the phrase "parrothead" at one his Riverbend concerts -- or so the legend goes. Buffet always sells out in Cincy when he tours, and he reciprocates by making it the only city in the country where he sponsors students.
The package includes airfare and all expenses to Seacamp, a non-profit marine science camp in the islands at the southern tip of the Sunshine State. To put a hat in the ring -- or flip flops on a sandy beach -- applicants need to know how to swim or tread water. They have to complete an application, which should be available with school counselors. They need to write reports on two books they have read, enjoyed and had an impact on their lives. They also have to explain why reading is important for individuals and society as a whole. The deadline is March 21, around the first day of spring. What a great way to end the winter blahs, day-dreaming about a trip to the Keys courtesy of Mr. Buffet.