Spreading the Good Word and Work, Camp Directors Conference Held
While winter is still in full effect, summer is already on everyone’s mind. Healthy Kids Camp is an initiative through the Raritan Valley YMCA’s partnership with the Healthier Middlesex Consortium which targets Youth Summer Camps to incorporate health and wellness programming at their camps. The Healthy Kids Camp Directors Workshop held on January 29th, allowed for staff and program creators of Middlesex County to share ideas, activities, and tips to improve the lives of children this summer. Health professionals each shared programs like CATCH, a proven way to decrease childhood obesity, bike rodeo programs, water and sun safety, and overall tips to get children engaged and healthy. The CATCH program caught the attention of many agencies as there were activities that appealed to all age groups and was shown to be extremely interactive. Along with a focus of healthy eating and activity, ACE was introduced. ACE’s stands for Adverse Childhood Experiences and this opened up another facet of the Youth Summer Camp experience. A camper’s family history/background and positive and negative childhood experiences can affect the child or teen’s level of engagement in camp activities and events. The end goal of this would be to allow summer camps to not only be an open space free of judgment, but also a place full of resources for every child, no matter their history. To further this work, a MOU was given to each Camp Director present asking them to sign on to the effort and agree to make a policy change in their camp’s operation. As the conference came to a close, the topics and ideas discussed brought us closer to innovative ideas and become advocates to champion better childhood health!
About the Grantee
The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. To learn more about the Raritan Valley YMCA programs, health and wellness, visit www.raritanvalleyymca.org or call 732-257-4114. The Y is located at 144 Tices Lane in East Brunswick.
Cohort: Central 2
Funder: New Jersey Department of Health
Cities: New Brunswick