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Create active summer programs

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“We basically want to get the kids off the couch and off the streets,” said Cierra Jones, right, who, with partner Kenneth Booth, organizes a free summer basketball camp at Charleston’s Martin Luther King Center. Kenny Kemp photo couirtesy The Charleston Gazette.

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Campers at the West Hamlin Energy Express ran a high-energy egg relay, then piled inside for a nutrition lesson about the amount of sugar in soda pop.

Many researchers blame the childhood obesity epidemic partly on inactivity and too much screen time. Healthy summer camps like the basketball camp at Charleston’s Martin Luther King Center can make a huge difference.

WVU Extension operates Energy Express summer camps all over the state.

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Kids who attended Lincoln County’s Energy Express program made their own notebook about eating smart and getting active.

About 3,000 West Virginia children take part in WVU Extension’s Energy Express program every summer. Lincoln Primary Care Center helps run the West Hamlin camp, so they teach kids to care for their bodies. All camps do not emphasize healthy eating or keep kids moving as much.

Look at your local summer camps. Are kids active most of the time? Are they learning what foods help them and which hurt them? If not, how can that change?

The state’s eight YMCAs also offer active summer programs, as do 4-H, many churches, and most Boys and Girls clubs.“Summer camp is an opportunity, no matter who runs it, to teach kids how to take charge of their own health,” said Jeff Allen, director of the West Virginia Council of Churches. “It’s the only way we’re going to beat childhood obesity.”

Want your summer camps to promote healthy living?

 

Useful resources and models:

Related Try This pages: Get kids moving in afterschool, Girls on the Run, Get Schoolkids Moving, Hula hoops and other inexpensive stuff, all other school physical activity and nutrition pages.

 

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