Day Camps Designed to Help Kids Make Healthy Choices

JumpStart is offering day camps at three locations this summer

May 11, 2012 9:42 a.m.

JumpStart, a program designed for kids’ ages 8 to 14 to become healthier, is offering day camps at three locations this summer.

The week-long camps hosted by Sarah Bush Lincoln are intended to motivate kids to make lifestyle changes that will improve their health and self-esteem. Three sessions will be offered from 8 am to 4 pm on the following dates: June 4 to 8 at Douglas-Hart Nature Center, Mattoon; June 11 to 14 (4 days) at Kansas School; and from June 25 to 29 at the Neoga Middle School.

JumpStart was developed around changing a child’s behavior over the long term and will include topics such as healthy portions sizes, fun ways to be active, coping with stress, taste testing, and many others. Program counselors will follow the kids’ progress for an entire year, encouraging them to continue making healthy eating choices and staying active. “We are really excited about the opportunity to improve the lives of kids who are facing these issues,” Sarah Betts, program coordinator said.

While the program will include several guest speakers, Betts stressed that the camp will be fun and very interactive. Activities include various games, an introduction to martial arts, taste testing sessions, “Dance, Dance Revolution,” Zumba, water games, art projects and more. Campers have the opportunity to earn cool prizes that promote physical activity based on their level of participation and commitment to program, Betts added.

Obesity is the number one health threat in the U.S. and the number two cause of preventable death. More than 9,000 children in the Sarah Bush Lincoln’s seven-county service area, including Coles, Cumberland, Clark, Douglas, Edgar, Moultrie and Shelby counties, have been classified as either overweight or obese. This figure represents about 36 percent of all school age children in the area. Research has shown that being overweight coupled with physical inactivity leads to a variety of health risks like arthritis, asthma, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. These children are also much more likely to suffer from low self-esteem and other emotional problems.

The camp fee is $50 per child, though program scholarships are available to those that qualify for free or reduced school lunches. An application for selection is available for download on the SBL website at www.sarahbush.org. For more information, contact Sarah Betts at 348- or 238-4880 or email her at sbetts@sblhs.org.

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