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      Kids bored at home this summer? Send them back to school

      Kid University is for children in grades fourth through fifth. Learning how to cook is just one of the classes they can take.

      Washing dishes isn't 13-year-old Amber Shupe's favorite thing to do, but it's a must in the kitchen. A place she now loves to be, because of Kid University.

      "You learn to bake and mostly everything has to do with chocolate and you melt down chocolate, you use chocolate for different things and it's fun," she said.

      The University is a two session camp for kids in fourth through eighth grade. It features hands-on culinary classes as well as courses in fashion and sewing.

      "It's really fun and interesting and you learn a lot of new things," first time University student Amber Shupe said.

      "It seems like our children spend a lot of time inside or in front of the TV so getting them back to working with their hand or allowing them to use their minds throughout the summer is very important," WIU Fashion Merchandising Professor Susan Creasey said.

      The program is sponsored by the Western Illinois University Department of Dietetics, Fashion Merchandising and Hospitality. Four department professors are teaching the classes.

      "It gives them some of those basic skills that they will continue to build on throughout their life," Culinary Professor Emily Shupe said.

      "It's so fun to see their enthusiasm learning these different techniques that they've probably never experienced before," Baking Professor Jill Cassady said.

      During the two hour classes students will lean how to recycle old T-shirts, bake brownies, make pizza and sew pajama pants. (You can get an inside look into the classes, here.)

      But at this university the kids are learning about more than just cooking and sewing skills.

      "I've met a lot of new friends," first time student Krista Schrader said.

      "They also make friends and these are lifelong friends," Shupe said.

      Something, third year camper Amber Shupe says is true.

      "I've actually have several friends that I've kept in contact with," she said.

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