Happy, Healthy Campers

Tuesday, December 27, 2011 5:59
Posted in category Health

As most of us know, there’s a whole lot more to being fit than just exercising. And thanks to the health promotion staff at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Pa., there’s a whole lot of kids who know it, too. Through Camp HealthRock, a day camp for ages 7 to 12, the hospital teaches kids the value of living well through good nutrition, regular exercise, safety and self-improvement. And while some kids would rather spend their summer days munching junk food and mastering the latest Nintendo game, HealthRock campers will tell you that being healthy is being cool.

First created in the summer of 1995, the camp has “sold out” the majority of its sessions since the beginning, and has measured fitness gains among all campers. “Most summer day camps focus exclusively on recreational needs and skill-building,” explains operations and marketing manager Gregory Salem. “Camp HealthRock provided the fun and motivation for youngsters to value their own personal health and well-being.”

Daily activities included “Mental Minutes,” an interactive program that offers a “growing-up” approach to wellness, “Living Laboratory,” a hands-on lesson about science and disease prevention, “Power Pulse,” which included special interest courses like self-defense, kitchen science and creative arts, and a variety of strength and aerobic activities set to music.

Classes were taught by hospital health, medical and fitness professionals, who also measured health/wellness comprehension and fitness levels among campers. According to Salem, initial scores on a health comprehension exercise rose from a 45 percent average (based on a score of 100) to an 84 percent average at the conclusion of the three-week session. Likewise, 82 percent of the youngsters showed fitness improvement in all four health-related fitness tests, and aerobic endurance results were higher with all participants.

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