Parent’s Day At Camp Pennbrook

Posted 08/06/2013 | By HealthCorps

This summer, HealthCorps coordinator Tenaj Ferguson is blogging about her experience at Camp Pennbrook. You can read her first post here, the second post here, and the third post here.

At Camp Pennbrook, we hold an annual one-day only Parent’s Day where parents get to share in our daily activities, which include cardio class, sports, art and drama. Parents also get to meet the camp counselors, group leaders and other staff specialist, such as the cooking instructor, the nutritionists and fitness specialist. Also, for the first time this year, parents got to meet me as the camp HealthCorps coordinator!

In my presentation to the parents, I shared more about HealthCorps’ national program and the unique development of HealthCorps University programming at Camp Pennbrook this summer.

HealthCorps is a national non-profit and our mission is shaping a healthier generation. We do this through fitness, nutrition and mental strength. In 2007, Dr. Oz from the Dr. Oz show founded HealthCorps along with his wife, Lisa Oz. HealthCorps is for everyone, but we focus on empowering high school students to become activists of health change. The program coordinator operates a single HealthCorps high school site and is responsible for implementing our full-time signature programs inclusive of teaching our weekly interactive educational curriculum and organizing wellness related afterschool activities for example a fitness club cooking clubs or mentoring groups among other things.

The coordinator engages the staff and parents through staff wellness events and competitions, parent workshops and an in school health fair. Coordinators establish a wellness council to get more of the school community involved with efforts to collectively raise health.

We are excited to share the HealthCorps model with Camp Pennbrok through HealthCorps University, which allows our programs to be custom implemented outside of the typical school environments iconic to our program. HealthCorps University is an expansion of HealthCorps’ reach by diversifying and broadening community access and impact.

But, back to Parents Day at Camp Pennbrook!

What a great opportunity to get parents on board and emphasize their role in their daughters’ health. Early on in my presentation, I identified parents as champions for health change in the home. I implored parents to be involved with creating a healthy lifestyle for their family by initiating healthy food decisions and by promoting an active family life. My main charge was for parents to be critical consumers of the food they buy and bring into the home. I charged parents to practice healthy portions, healthy and timely snacking and regular meal planning so they can position their families for healthy eating regardless of time schedule constraints. If we fail to plan we plan to fail- this certainly goes for our nutrition. In the 21st century, it is easier and cheaper to fall into eating unhealthy foods, but parents can play a crucial role in pursuing and ensuring access to healthy food options, in addition to being the example.

With the reality of obesity evident in America, we can all stand to make healthier decisions, which with consistency, can turn into healthy practices and in turn make for a healthy lifestyle. I can understand the many demands on parents today, so I highlighted a few challenges to overcome in order to move closer to overall healthy living. These challenges to healthy living included nutrition dilemmas such as eating out, access to sugary beverages, recipe remixes and smart shopping.

We discussed fitness challenges, such as finding time to exercise, getting involved in physical activities such as sports, dance or workout classes and making fitness a part of the family lifestyle — this includes going to a park, incorporating activity during the week such as walking after dinner, and being active as a family as often as possible. Lastly, I shared more about attitude being a challenge to healthy living discussing how a mindset of positivity in the family is so powerful and how promoting strength, resilience and self-confidence in the children and with the family is so impactful and pivotal to owning a healthy body and family.

Overall, I implored parents to stay educated and involved with the health status of their children and family so they can best position themselves to support a healthy lifestyle. I ended our session by challenging the parents to create goals and an action plan for the role they will play moving forward. I asked parents to make a SMART goal by starting small and being specific about how they wanted to move forward pursuing better health. Some suggestions for parents included being a critical food and beverage consumer, eating as family more frequently, as studies suggest that families who eat together are more often healthier. Other specific goals for the family include creating a wellness ritual. I shared how Dr Oz’s family has a Thanksgiving Olympics so that the holiday is more than just about the food, but also about the games and fun times together.

Parents were inspired and many of them stopped at my table afterwards to share their goals for their family. Together everyone achieves more so it really is a collective responsibility in the home to work on overall health and happiness.

What small health goal can you commit to for you and your family today?

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