What started out as 1 week of Healthy Kids Camp at the Raritan Valley YMCA 3 years ago with 17 children has mushroomed into a county wide program this summer 2017 serving nearly 2000! The Y advocated the Healthy Kids Camp model through its work on the Healthier Middlesex Coalition whose purpose is to resolve community health problems identified by local hosipitals: Robert Wood Johnson and St. Peter’s. Coaltion members, led by YMCA staff, brought in health partners to provide services to local camps who were asked to provide health and safety information to summer campers. Partners included the Raritan Valley YMCA (serving the Brunswicks), Raritan Bay YMCA (Perth Amboy), New Brunswick Bobadilla Soccer Camp, Highland Park Recreation Department Camps, Robert Wood Johnson Wellness Center Carteret camps, and Camp Kiddie Keepwell.
Presenters included Raritan Valley YMCA teaching water safety, Raritan Bay YMCA providng C.A.T.C.H. physical activity curriculum, Middlesex County Health Department, sun safety, SNAP-ED, healthy eating and cooking, Keep Middlesex Moving, bicycle and pedestrian safety, and Robert Wood Johnson Hospital, hydration. These partners went to each camp facility to provide programming while the coaltion focused on promoting policy and environmental changes with directors regarding food service menus and accesibility to camps and physical activity on site and in the community.
This project is easily replicated and highly visible and impacting.