Kids at Camp Schwab make healthy choice to take a hike
Stars and Stripes August 19, 2006
KUNIGAMI VILLAGE, Okinawa — Healthy choices and being active can be fun, about 30 children learned at a three-day Marine Corps Community Services camp at Camp Schwab, camp counselors said Wednesday.
The Kids’ Wellness Camp Survivor Oura Wan Beach 2006, held at Camp Schwab Tuesday through Thursday, taught the children about the positive effects of healthy activity and proper nutrition as well as the negative effects of peer pressure and poor self-esteem, stress and smoking, said Staci Rosen, one of the camp counselors and a wellness director at MCCS.
Obesity, especially among children, is on the rise in America today, said Dr. Bert Griffith, MCCS health promotion program manager.
Unhealthy life choices and the obesity trend have led to an increase in illnesses like Type II, or adult onset, diabetes and hypertension, Griffith said.
These are illnesses that can be avoided through healthier life choices, he said.
The camp and its participants can be “used as a showcase that learning about wellness can be fun,” he said.
Camp activities included lessons on nutrition and making ceramic plates that showed healthy portion sizes, skits on good health choices and team-building exercises, Rosen said.
And the children appeared to get the point.
“I’ve learned about stress, peer pressure and healthy eating habits like portion size and how to pick meals that include a variety of everything — fruits, vegetables, meat — everything,” said 11-year-old Sean Kelly.
A hiking trip to Hiji Falls in Kunigami Village on Wednesday was another activity aimed at being fun while promoting a more active lifestyle, Rosen said.
“I’m dripping sweat, but I don’t want to wipe it because then I’ll stink,” Christian Gonzales, 10, said of the hike. “It was hot but fun.”
Sean agreed that the hike to the falls was hot, but he wasn’t so sure about the fun part.
“I think it was more of an exercise thing,” he said. “I didn’t think the falls were that big of a deal.”
Two Marines from 3rd Marine Readiness Battalion volunteered to help watch the children on the hike and many more offered support at the camp by providing physical training, Rosen said.
Of the Marines, she said, “We could not have done it without them.”
MCCS plans to hold the camp again next year and hopes eventually to provide some kind of quarterly health-awareness camp, Griffith said.