Home Local News Kids’ Camp: Fun, Food, Fitness from Johanna Hicks

Kids’ Camp: Fun, Food, Fitness from Johanna Hicks



Kids’ Camp: Fun, Food, Fitness

Note: this is the 3rd in a series of “A Year in Review,” highlighting major program efforts in the area of Family & Community Health. 

               Any parent who has had a 1st thru 4th grade child in the Sulphur Springs ISD the past 8 years has probably heard of this camp.  The camp, started in 2010, was developed by the Community Health/Wellness Alliance as a way to address childhood health in Hopkins County.


According to the http://stateofobesity.org 33% of Texas students ages 10-17 are overweight or obese, and 15% of children ages 2 to 4 in the WIC program were obese.  In Hopkins County, 24% live at or below poverty level and 60% are eligible for free or reduced lunch. Hopkins County ranks 101 in the state (www.countyhealthrankings.org) for Health Outcomes, which include overall health, physical health, mental health, and low birthweight.  The county ranks 149 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.

The Alliance and Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Committee identified the need to continue addressing childhood health by implementing the multi-day “Kids’ Camp: Fun, Food, Fitness” for students in grades 1 thru 4, which focuses on nutrition, physical activity, safety, and horticulture.  This camp is targeted toward students in the Sulphur Springs Independent School District


               The three-week summer camp takes place three days a week from 9:00 a.m. to noon.  2018 was the eighth year for this camp.  Topics are updated annually.  Collaborators included:

Community Health/Wellness Alliance, Master Wellness Volunteers,  Master Gardeners, DSHS staff from Hopkins County, Rotary Club, Trinity Mother Frances Clinic – Dr. Angela Doddy, Blue Blazes Drill Team, Jerry’s Jump Zone, Better Living for Texans, Sulphur Springs Police Department, City National Bank, and Community Action Network.

               Registration was limited to the first 48 children.  Registration forms are distributed to the students through the school campuses in mid-May and returned to the Extension Office.


–        Demographics: 22 white, 9 black, 17 Hispanic; 28 females, 20 males; 35 Blue Blazes Drill Team members; 4 Health/Wellness Alliance members; 5 Master Wellness Volunteers and Family & Consumer Sciences Committee members; 4 Master Gardeners; and numerous guest speakers/community partners

–        Grades of participants: 16 1st graders; 9 2nd graders; 6 3rd graders; 17 4th graders

–        Average daily attendance: 40 (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); “Walk with a Doc”; simple money management; sun, water, fire, and weather safety; bullying; nature (turtles and butterflies); t-shirt design, and yoga.

–        Evaluations were given during the last week to determine knowledge gained and intent to adopt practices.

Forty evaluations were returned, with 98% of students (39) learning something new.  !00% (40) indicated that they planned to drink more water and fewer sweetened beverages, consume more fruits and vegetables, plan to use the recipes made at Kids’ Camp.  They also learned that 20 minutes of continuous physical activity, or 2,000 steps are the equivalent to one mile.

In addition, 100% (40) of campers rated the camp as Super Fun.  Campers logged 20,530 minutes of physical activity during the first two weeks (reported by campers).  Total miles = 1,026.5 (based on 20 minutes of continuous activity equaling 1 mile) during the first two weeks. 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 were provided by Community Action Network.

Incentive items to reinforce the daily topics were provided by the Better Living for Texans program (highlighted last week).  Items included: MyPlate stickers, snack cups with lids, aprons, insulated bags, shopping pads, veggie peelers, and MyPlate drinking bottles.

Future Implications:

Because of the continuing need for nutrition and physical activity education, the Community Health/Wellness Alliance, Master Wellness Volunteers, and Family & Consumer Science Committee has scheduled Kids’ Camp for 2019.  Parent surveys indicated positive impact on the families, and parents fully supported continuation of the camp.  Planning for the 2019 event will commence in January, 2019.  Volunteers always welcome!

Next week’s highlight:  Master Wellness Volunteer program

Closing Thought

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.”-Mark Twain






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