African puff puffs, ham and swiss sandwiches, peach cobbler and homemade vanilla ice cream.

That was part of the menu created by 30 Carbon County middle school children last week during the one-week culinary summer camp, hosted by LCCC's Carbon County SHINE STEM Career Academy and Carbon Career & Technical Institute in Jim Thorpe. A total of five weeklong camps will be held throughout the summer for students to learn about various subjects, including pre-engineering, arts and drama, staying healthy and environmental science.

During the culinary camp, the students worked in the kitchen to create their own breakfasts and lunches, as well as make a feast fit for a king for their parents on the last day of camp.

Rachel Strucko, coordinator of the Career Academy, explained that the goal for the culinary camp was to teach students basic cooking skills; as well as how chemistry plays a role in cooking through measurements and recipes.

The students loved the camp as they sliced and diced meats; deep fried doughs and churned cream into ice cream.

They were broken up into groups, and completed different tasks to create the full meal. CCTI culinary students, Haley Gower, Deirdre Gonzalez, and Rachel Mills, helped each group, while Nadine Harbove, culinary arts instructor at CCTI, oversaw the classes.

The students also participated in kickboxing classes each day to help them stay active during the summer.

Dave Reinbold, executive director at CCTI, said he is happy the school could partner with the SHINE programs to help students learn about careers of the future.

"It is an excellent career exploration activity," he said, noting that the academy had a 100 percent retention rate during the first summer camp.

Jeanne Miller, director of the SHINE afterschool program and a national afterschool alliance ambassador, added that these programs help keep the students motivated and connected to academic skills in a fun way.

"Not only are they (the camps) fun and motivating, but research shows that programs like this help combat summer learning loss," she said.

She also noted that right now, there is a fight in government on whether they will continue funding 21st century programs like SHINE.

This was the second of the summer camps in the Career Academy. During the first camp students created mini solar playhouses, which will now be sold to raise money for various charities of the students' choices.

This week, a Broadway actor will teach students about the elements of a play, including building sets, learning lines and performing. There also will be Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies camp, which will cover nutrition and health care jobs; as well as an environmental science camp about pollution, water testing, and green energy sources.