Teaching “skills that last a lifetime” is the goal of the Healthy 2 B Me Wellness Camp, which brings children to the University of Arizona hosted by the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.
The Healthy 2 B Me Wellness Camp, designed for children ages 7-10 and in grades 2-5, teaches aspects of wellness that include nutrition, cooking and exercise. The annual camp offers a series of one-week sessions to children from underserved communities in Tucson. Tuition is covered through scholarships and graduate students from the college work as camp counselors, giving them the real-world public health experience.
Campers engage in yoga, Zumba, dance and swimming, and they hear from experts on sun safety, dental health and hygiene while participating in team-building experiences. They also prepare their own healthful food.
The idea to start a wellness camp for children was a mission for Dean Iman Hakim, UA College of Public Health.
“The camp is designed to teach kids at an early age the importance of proper nutrition and physical activity while having fun at the same time,” Hakim said. “My hope is that the children will learn skills that will last a lifetime. Like how to cook and to identify tasty vegetables, and how to keep good oral hygiene.
“Maybe the children will pass along these good habits to their children someday. Instilling healthy lifestyle practices at an early age is one more approach toward fighting childhood obesity.”