Heroes for Health Nutrition Camp encourages healthy living to HCISD youth

GRA_2089Heroes for Health Nutrition Camp participants ranging from third to sixth grade

GRA_2100 Heroes for Health Ambassadors and Program Coordinator

Broccoli black bean quesadillas and obstacle courses. These two subjects were featured on the itinerary for the last day of the Heroes for Health Summer Nutrition camp.

The program focused on promoting nutrition, healthy living and physical activity to a group of about 16 students ranging from third to sixth grade.

The nutrition camp took place from June 13-15 at Harlingen School of Health Professions.

Participants started off their last day of camp with physical activity. They were divided into two groups and had to hop, spin and dribble a basketball amongst other physical activities to complete an obstacle course set up in the school gym.

“It takes energy and strength to do the obstacle course because you have to do it within a time limit so that your team can finish first,” Dishman Elementary fifth-grader, Dominic Barrera said. “At this camp, we have learned to eat healthier, be active and just stay healthy so we won’t be sick when we get older.”

After some time spent tackling the obstacle course, the participants headed back inside where they learned about the importance of eating fewer high fat and high sugar foods.

“I helped in creating the lessons for the past three days based on a curriculum that we were given at our training,” HSHP sophomore Marco Martinez said. “My partner and I took a creative approach for the lessons and we made something called ‘Mind Maps’ which consist of illustrations that display the health and nutrition information we are trying to teach.”

After their lessons, the students ended their day with some hands-on learning experience. They walked into another room to sample healthy food choices and then practiced the recipes themselves.

“I have been teaching the kids healthy recipes and there are some things that they will eat and enjoy that they didn’t know could be healthy,” HSHP junior, Amanda Cariaga said. “Like the black bean quesadillas, at first I did not want to try them, but now it is my favorite recipe. I am just hoping that all these children go home with something that we taught them and it changes their lives a little bit.”

Although the camp focus was to promote healthy living to young children in the community, the ambassadors also took something out of this event and it wasn’t just about health and nutrition.

“Most of our ambassadors already know about health and wellness,” Cooperative Extension Program 4H agent for Cameron County, Guadalupe Castro said. “What they are taking away from this program is leadership and the opportunity to try news things out.”

The Heroes for Health Nutrition Camp was possible with contributions from Wal-Mart.

The group hopes to expand the program next year.

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