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Having a blast at Kid-Netic science camp

A sense of excitement was in the air at R.D. Parker Collegiate on July 14-and for a few moments, so was an exploding bottle rocket-as Thompson kids took part in the Kid-Netic Energy Camp.
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Zach Hordosi closely examines a Mentos mint that flew through the R.D. Parker Collegiate parking lot as part of a science experiment at Kid-Netic Energy Camp on July 14.

A sense of excitement was in the air at R.D. Parker Collegiate on July 14-and for a few moments, so was an exploding bottle rocket-as Thompson kids took part in the Kid-Netic Energy Camp.

The camp, which is run by the University of Manitoba through the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) organization, spent two weeks in Thompson this summer helping students aged nine to 12 discover the joy of science. "Everything we do is about making science more fun than what you learn in school," explained camp director Colleen Flather.

Kid-Netic runs in 14 different locations across Manitoba; this is its second year in Thompson. According to Flather, each day of the camp brings with it a different theme, ranging from arctic science to science and music to Mythbusters, based on the popular Discovery Channel program. The camp can accommodate up to 20 students per week, and instructors are undergraduate science and engineering students from the University of Manitoba.

One such instructor is Kenzie Nemez, originally from Russell. Nemez is a biochemistry student who was recently accepted into U of M's pharmacy program. She says that the camp was the perfect summer job for her because it combined two of her interests - I like science and I like kids."

Activities for the campers include science experiments, arts and crafts, outdoor events like scavenger hunts, and games - but it all ties back to science. On July 14, the most popular activity was the bottle rockets. After herding the campers outside, Kid-Netic instructors dropped Mentos candies into a bottle of Diet Coke, and shook the mixture vigorously - creating enough pressure for the bottle to launch itself in the air, much to the amazement of the kids.

Barely halfway through the week, nine-year-old Megan Wischnewski had already made up her mind that she wants to return to Kid-Netic next summer, and declared the bottle rockets her favourite activity. She enjoyed the overall camp experience though, calling it "a lot of fun", and also talking enthusiastically about how "we made energy with lemons we had a light bulb, and cables to run back and forth, and a lemon, and we made the light bulb work."

Kid-Netic runs camps through Northern Manitoba and Northern Ontario, including weeks in Norway House, Churchill, and Cross Lake among others. The camp offers a variety of hands-on science-based activities, with an "emphasis on inventing, designing, and exploring". Vale and Calm Air are major sponsors.