Stereotypical summer camps revolve around swimming and singing “Kumbaya.” At the University of Missouri-Rolla this summer, eighteen high school students are set to blow up that stereotype.
The second-annual Explosives Camp at UMR is July 17-21. Campers will spend five days learning about explosives used in the mining industry for underground and surface blasting. Of course, the camp wouldn’t be complete without some fireworks, too.
“We use the entertainment value for learning,” says explosives expert Dr. Paul Worsey, professor of mining engineering at UMR.
UMR is currently the only university in the United States to offer a minor in explosives engineering.
UMR students are helping Worsey run the camp, which is attracting high school juniors and seniors from six states, including Missouri. The schedule includes lectures on safety, tours, demonstrations, and “hands-on” demolition projects.
“The students will get to handle explosives and shoot their own stick of dynamite,” Worsey says.
The campers will also take field trips to a quarry to see surface blasting, to a pyrotechnics shop to learn about the business of fireworks, and to a lead mine to see more blasting.
When they’re not on a field trip or relaxing in the residence halls, the campers will conduct most of their activities on the grounds of UMR’s experimental mine.
The camp concludes on Thursday evening, July 21, when the students will help Worsey shoot a fireworks display for parents.
Worsey says interest in the camp is rising. Next year, with the addition of more high school students who want to attend, he plans to hold back-to-back camps. This summer, students are only paying $100 to attend, but Worsey says that figure could go up in the future to cover costs.