What do you get when you drop Mentos candy in a two-liter bottle of cola?

The answer, which dozens of students learned last week during the Healthy Body/Healthy Minds SHINE Camp, is a rocket.

The weeklong event, held at the Morgan Campus of Lehigh Carbon Community College in Tamaqua, taught the 129 kindergarten through sixth grade students about physical fitness, rocketry, the Caribbean, and Broadway; as well as high-priority careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The Carbon and Schuylkill SHINE after-school students from Lehighton, Jim Thorpe, Panther Valley, Shenandoah and Mahanoy City participated in the camp.

Jeanne Miller, director of the SHINE after-school program, explained that the camp is designed to help students learn about jobs of the future through various activities in different areas of STEM.

"We're raising the bar for learning," she said, adding that in addition to a variety of activities each day, the students learned over 150 vocabulary words, which will be incorporated over the summer home visits. "The students are getting experience of getting into college while learning about high priority careers of the future."

Students were broken into four teams for the camp. They then traveled to each of the four stations that were set up and learned a different lesson daily.

In "That's Science" by Audra Kufro, students learned through a series of science experiments, including a homemade rocket and salt and water experiments.

Kufro explained what each experiment consisted of and then explained what happened during each activity.

In the physical fitness camp, led by Sam Bonner, head coach of the Tamaqua Area High School Football program, the kids were challenged to obstacle courses, tug o' wars, sit-ups, football throws and more. Students competed against each other and against other teams. At the end of the session, they were presented with medals for first, second and third place finishes; as well as trophies and mini footballs.

In the Caribbean Culture classes, Junior Baptise, who is originally from St. Lucia, taught the students about the history, flora and fauna, and location of the Caribbean; made a traditional Caribbean meal; and taught them the song "Don't Worry, Be Happy."

In the Kids 4 Broadway session, led by Connor Snyder, a 22-year actress who has portrayed roles on television and theater, the students learned the song "Trains Go By," which they will debut at the annual SHINE Lights On program in October; as well as improv acting, emotions, and vocal skills.

Snyder explained that the goal of Kids 4 Broadway is to try and build a child's confidence and self-esteem through its acting lessons.

What did the students think of the camp?

From the overwhelming squeals of delight to the smiles on their faces, the kids agreed that the second annual Healthy Body/Healthy Minds SHINE Camp was a winner.

The camp was made possible through funding from a 21st Century Learning Centers grant through LCCC; a Life Long Learning grant through the Department of Education, which was secured by the help of various legislators; and a Regional Career Education Partnership for Youth grant through the Department of Labor and Industry, which was secured through Cyndi Zimmerman of Carbon Career & Technical Institute.

The Carbon and Schuylkill SHINE after-school program was started in 2002 and serves children in six public schools and four parochial schools from Carbon and Schuylkill counties. The program was created to provide children with academic support, as well as build self-esteem and make stronger family bonds.