The Sam Hider Health Center hosted the Healthy Nation Kid’s Kamp on June 19-21, starting at 8:00 a.m. and ending at 3:30 p.m. each day.
This is the third year the Kid’s Kamp has been held in Jay, Stilwell, Sallisaw, Salina and Vinita.
Kid’s Kamp focuses on improving Native American health among 1st to 5th grade children through sports events and education.
The Kamp in Jay was filled to capacity of 35 youth, limited mainly by the number of bathrooms available in the Health Center.
Attendees were divided into four clans for the three day event: Deer, Longhair, Blue Paint and Wild Potato.
Clans rotated through the different activities during the day.
Each morning began with breakfast, then physical activities and nutrition training.
The afternoons began with everyone walking the track after lunch, then onto behavioral health and traditional games.
The physical activities included running or walking the track, archery and stick ball.
In another activities they learned to play marbles, using billiard balls in the grass, a game boys and girls can play equally well as attested by how the girls continually beat the guys.
“The kids aren’t active anymore and they just get tired quickly” said Cindy Tuder, one of the public health educators helping direct the Kamp, noting that the kids got tired before the staff was tired.
The focus of the physical therapy is to get kids involved in sports, learn native games and get them off the couch to increase their stamina.
Most all of the events were held outside, weather permitting, including a program about snakes provided by Woody Hansen (a big hit with the kids, not so much for the staff).
In one of the physical therapy sessions, they learned the correct way to carry their school backpack (using both straps, not just one side) and the back pack’s weight shouldn’t exceed 15% of their individual body weight.
So, if they weigh 100 pounds the back pack shouldn’t weigh more than 15 pounds, as long as it is carried correctly.
Other educational programs covered healthy eating and snacks, better nutrition, dental health and correct posture.
Visit to the community gardens to pick vegetables was usually included, but with the rains making everything so muddy, it was dropped this year.
To make the Kid’s Kamp possible, the staff raises funds all year, which allowed every child to attend, enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks, plus have supplies at no cost to the child.
Tuder shared director duties with Tricia Nichols and directed their “100% native descent staff.”
According to Tuder, the staff hopes the kids will take home some new challenges and practices which will be healthier for their families, after learning and practicing the new moves over three days.