Keeping Campers Fit and Healthy

Fitness! Health! Exercise! Nutrition! Fun! Yes, Fun!

No, this is not a mistake, this is camp!  And at Bronx House Day Camps, at the Mildred Goetz Day Camp of HKC campers are learning that exercising, being fit and eating right can be fun.

Bronx House Day Camps is dedicated to ensuring that children get plenty of exercise and learn about healthy eating and they have a variety of programs to help them achieve this goal.

Most recently Bronx House Day Camps built, through a grant from Sports for Youth (an arm of UJA-Federation a twelve station KidFit course.  This extensive fitness course, with elements that combine muscle conditioning and building athletic skills with exciting physical activities that encourage climbing, balance, coordination, and upper body strength, provides a fun way of incorporating fitness into every camp day. As this KidFit course introduces children to an active and healthy lifestyle, the hope is that they will continue with it long after their camp days are over.  Rachel Blalock, Camp Director, knows that the KidFit course challenges campers and gives them a sense of accomplishment, for the campers though, all they know is that they are having FUN!

In addition to fitness Bronx House Day Camps also focuses on nutrition and eating right.  For the last few years they have been planting an herb and vegetable garden; a garden which continues to expand each year. Not only do campers learn about the process of growing vegetables but they get to work in the garden and see and taste “the fruits of their labor.”

How exciting for these city kids to see common produce like basil, oregano, sage, tomatoes, banana peppers, cucumbers and squash, grow right before their very eyes. For many this is the first time they have the opportunity to eat fresh vegetables and herbs picked right from the garden. One delicious treat is the herb butter they make at camp and eat with bread.  And if it’s a good gardening year, the campers may even get some produce to take some home to share with their families.

On a side note, the camp garden is named the Jay Brito Memorial Garden after a longtime beloved camp director who passed away. In speaking with two Bronx House staff, I found out that Jay was their camp director when they attended Bronx House as campers.  Jay was an idol to both campers and staff and that one thing these former campers remember was “Jay’s ability to calm the whole camp down during frenetic times and do something fun with the whole camp.”

Parents always wonder what really goes on in camp, especially when all kids say is that they had fun. We all want the campers to have FUN but FUN means a lot more to camp directors and staff who make sure that fun is packed full of life lessons.

So when your kids say that they had FUN, and you say “I’m so glad” just know that they are getting a lot more “bang for the buck!”

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