Year in Review – Kids’ Camp
Each week during the month of December, I will provide information on major programming efforts in Hopkins County. As an Extension Family & Community Health Agent, much of my efforts go into nutrition, health and wellness. This week, I want to share some successes with a popular summer camp for students – “Kids’ Camp – Fun, Food, Fitness.”
Relevance: According to the Texas Department of State Health services, 20.5% of 4th grade students are obese or overweight. Additionally, 20.9% live at or below poverty level. Hopkins County has a heart for youth, and Extension along with the Community Health/Wellness Alliance have been driving forces in addressing issues pertaining to nutrition, physical activity, and well-being.
Hopkins County ranks 107 in the state (www.countyhealthrankings.org) for Health Outcomes, which include overall health, physical health, mental health, and low birthweight. The county ranks 165 concerning Health Factors, which include smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, primary care physicians and dentist ratio to patients, diabetic monitoring, children in poverty, children in single-parent households, severe housing problems, and preventable hospital stays.
Response: “Kids’ Camp: Fun, Food, Fitness” was created as a way to address these topics, primarily childhood overweight & inactivity. By reaching the children, parents also receive valuable information through the “trickle-up” effect. The three-week summer camp takes place three days a week from 9:00 a.m. to noon. 2017 was the seventh year for this camp. Topics are updated annually. Collaborators included:
Sulphur Springs Elementary School, Master Wellness Volunteers, Family & Consumer Sciences Committee, Master Gardeners, DSHS staff from Hopkins and Red River Counties, Sulphur Springs Fire Department, Rotary Club, Region VIII Education Service Center staff, Blue Blazes Drill Team, Jerry’s Jump Zone, Better Living for Texans, Registered Nurse, Texas Department of Transportation, and Community Action Network.
Due to space limitations, registration is limited to Sulphur Springs students, grades 1 thru 4. Registration forms are distributed to the students through the school campuses in mid-May and returned to the Extension Office.
– Demographics: 21 white, 11 black, 10 Hispanic; 23 females, 19 males; 10 Blue Blazes Drill Team members; 3 Health/Wellness Alliance members; 5 Master Wellness Volunteers and Family & Consumer Sciences Committee members; 3 Master Gardeners; and numerous guest speakers/community partners
– Grades of participants: six 1st graders; eleven 2nd graders; sixteen 3rd graders; nine 4th graders
– Average daily attendance: thirty (some dates conflicted with Vacation Bible School, family vacations, etc.)
– Nine sessions, three hours each, including: MyPlate Foods groups; food safety & hygiene; hands-on food preparation; Walk Across Texas (minutes of physical activity logged for each participant; gardening; sun, water, fire, and weather safety; bullying; seat belt safety (roll-over convincer);t-shirt design, and yoga.
– Evaluations were given during the last week to determine knowledge gained and intent to adopt practices.
Knowledge gained: (27 evaluations returned)
- 100% (27)were able to identify the dairy product from a list
- 100% (27)were able to name the five food groups
- 100% (27)identified 20 seconds, soap, and warm water as being the most effective way to wash hands
- 100% (27)stated that breakfast should be consumed every day
- 100% (27)correctly water as the best beverage when playing
- 100% (27)correctly identified safety procedures during storms
- 100% (27)were able to identify appropriate times to wash hands
- 100% (27)indicated learning something new at camp
- 93% (25)correctly identified EDITH (exit drills in the home) during a fire
- 93% (25)correctly identified a physical activity from a given list
- 93% (25)correctly identified 60 minutes as the goal for physical activity for kids
- 89% (24) correctly identified calcium as the nutrient in dairy products that strengthens bones
Intent to adopt practices:
- 100% (27)planned to drink more water and fewer sweetened beverages
- 100% (27)indicated they would consume more fruits and vegetables
- 100% (27)indicated they plan to use the recipes made at Kids’ Camp
- 89% (24)indicated that they planned to turn off the TV while they eat
- 100% (27) of campers rated the camp as Super Fun
- Campers logged 24,990 minutes of physical activity during the 3-week camp (reported)*
- Total miles = 1,249.5 (based on 20 minutes of continuous activity equaling 1 mile)
*Some data missing from several campers
Learning incentives distributed to each camper:
MyPlate stickers, Veggie Peelers, Refrigerator & oven thermometers, Pedometers Snack cups with lids, Fight Bac magnets, Shopping pads, Nutrition spinners (game), Inflatable beach balls, Insulated bags, MyPlate paper plates, Mini herb garden
– Booklets containing all camp recipes; tip sheets on weather, sun, water, and fire safety; and Master Gardeners information were distributed to all campers.
– Camp t-shirts provided by Community Action Network
– Friday snack packs with funds provided by the Rotary Club
– Gift cards from the fire department were given to 4 campers for their winning escape route designs
– Prizes for team sports and individual achievement
Because of the continuing need for nutrition and physical activity education, the Community Health/Wellness Alliance, Master Wellness Volunteers, and Family & Consumer Science Committee have scheduled Kids’ Camp for 2018. Parent surveys indicated positive impact on the families, and parents fully supported continuation of the camp.
Parents, teach your children well. They are like sponges and will soak up what they hear and see, so make it positive!