FAN Camp Newest Addition to Camp Foster Roster
Across the United States, the incidence of Americans being overweight or obese is increasing at a considerable rate, resulting in higher risks for chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. This trend is not only occurring among adults, but also in younger and younger populations. In fact, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), the number of Iowa adults who are overweight or obese has increased by 36 percent over the last 10 years, making obesity a statewide epidemic. Furthermore, the IDPH states that 30 percent of Iowa’s third graders are considered overweight or obese.
The Bedell Family YMCA, Camp Foster, and Lakes Regional Healthcare (LRH) are combining forces to reverse this trend by developing a summer camp geared toward kids ages nine to 14 called “FAN Camp” that focuses on fitness, attitude, and nutrition. According to Camp Foster YMCA of the Okobojis CEO Norm Johnson, the camp is not a clinic where kids will be placed in endless exercise sessions, forced on extreme diets, or driven by the scale. Kids will do all the fun, normal activities all campers do, such as horseback riding, swimming, sailing, and canoeing, but additional activities related to healthy lifestyles. He said, “FAN Camp is a camp where kids that are at a critical point in their lives for establishing lifelong habits will learn healthy habits and gain self-esteem, and have fun doing it. Along with the array of traditional camp activities we have at Camp Foster, they’ll meet with registered dietitians, physicians, nurses, and certified personal trainers to learn how to incorporate a healthy lifestyle from an eating and activity perspective into their regular routine in a fun, understandable, achievable way.”
LRH Registered Dietitian Beth Samuelson pointed out the important role parents play in the lifestyles of their children. She said, “Kids need the support at home to make their healthy lifestyle permanent. That’s why FAN Camp involves parents by having them attend sessions the day camp begins, the weekend after the first week of camp, and two weekends up to four months after camp is over.”
Specifically, kids at FAN Camp will learn to:
- Recognize and understand the importance of portion sizes
- Choose foods that are satisfying, taste great, and nutritionally healthy, even in settings that are not known for healthy options such as fast food restaurants and sporting events
- Identify the reasons they may select poor food choices, whether it be emotional or situational so they can learn to re-train themselves to make wiser choices
- Organize their time to be able to enjoy a healthy, physically active lifestyle
- Assemble their plate with foods according to the Food Guide Pyramid
Parents will learn to:
- Plan meals that are healthy and delicious while maintaining a food budget, food preferences, and health concerns
- Make small changes in food preparation and recipes to yield much healthier results
- Set rules within the home to encourage physical activity and healthy eating while discouraging activities that promote a sedentary lifestyle and poor food choices
- Stock and organize the home environment to minimize the temptations to select poor food choices
- Unite as a family to promote a healthy lifestyle among all family members
The two-week camp will be held June 20 through July 3. To ensure the fitness, healthy eating, and healthy attitude continue, staff will keep in touch with campers for several months after the two-week camp is over. In addition, parents and campers are encouraged to attend weekend follow-up camps in August and October to provide refresher information and status updates and questions.
The entire camp cost is $998. Financial assistance is available for those with demonstrated need.
Those interested in more information about FAN Camp are encouraged to call Camp Foster at 712-336-3272 or 800-456-9622, visit www.campfoster.org, or email email@example.com.