Okla-hemo! Camp Independence Style.

Posted in Team Hemophilia 2009 on June 16th, 2009 by Brent

Yeah, Team Hemo Leg One is complete!! We had a great time and I think started some great discussion amongst the teens at the Oklahoma camp on the importance of physical activity, eating healthy and generally living in a positive way.

The camp was a little different than others that I had gone to in the past. First of all, Oklahoma was HUMID! Their world is that feeling when you step in front of a car’s exhaust pipe spewing hot air and moisture. THAT IS THEIR WORLD. Second, the camp is very laid back. Nevertheless, everyone we met was really welcoming and excited that we were there. Their social worker is amazing, and is really trying to train responsible and kind human beings. Everyone was really interested in showing us their program and camp site, and it was really cool to get different perspectives on the camp experience.

When it was time to start our program, we began with some games just to get everyone more comfortable and excited. I think because the Oklahoma camp atmosphere is so relaxed some of the kids resisted a bit, but eventually became a little more participatory. After some leadership activities we jumped into our healthy living program. I was in charge of nutrition. Most of my program was on the bus, so I was guiltily comfortable in air conditioning the whole time while everyone else was sweating outside in the heat.

However, I really think the kids will now look at what they’re eating differently. For example, one thing that was interesting was that a lot of the teens were shocked to hear that the portion size of meat was a deck of cards. Their eyes grew, thinking about how many portions their last burger was. Overall they asked a lot of great questions and made for a really candid and interesting discussion. We also discussed portion control, and I made them pour out how much cereal they have in the morning to see how many servings it really was. Some teens poured almost four or five servings! I really emphasized balance and moderation. For example, suggesting they maybe mix the sugary cereal with something more healthy and have a piece of fruit on the side.

While waiting for two of the groups to finished we got into a circle and had a really cool conversation. At the Oklahoma camp, they had been talking about 3 different themes–citizenship, respect and responsibility. It was really interesting to ask them how those themes related to healthy eating and physical activity. This led to a discussion about being responsible for their health and respectful of their body.  Even having a responsibility to others, especially as a “citizen” of the bleeding disorders community, to be an example of healthy living to their friends and family.

At the end, they all were excited to sign the back of the bus. I just hope it really meant something to them and they took the time to silently make a committment to themselves to live healthier! I had a great time, met a lot of people and hopefully made a little bit of a difference in the lives of these kids.