New partnership formed for the 2017 Friend’s Day Camp

The purpose of Friend’s Health and Nutrition Day camp is to provide children ages 7-11 in Branch County an opportunity to increase their knowledge and awareness of healthy eating, physical fitness, agriculture and 4-H participation.

Friend’s Day Camp 2017 participants

Friend’s Day Camp 2017 participants

Branch County Michigan State University Extension staff held their annual Friend’s Health and Nutrition Day Camp July 24-28, 2017. Participating in this year’s camp were 55 youth ages 7-11, 25 youth activity assistants and counselors age 13 and above, and many adult volunteers. During the camp, participants joined in activities like Be Safe, 4-H Crafts, 4-H Science, In the Kitchen, Jump into Foods and Fitness (JIFF), which are taught by the Health and Nutrition and Children and Youth Institute Staff and volunteers from the Branch County area.

The purpose of Michigan State University Extension’s Friend’s Health and Nutrition Day Camp is to provide a one week (5 day) Day Camp to children ages 7-11 in Branch County to increase their knowledge and awareness of healthy eating, physical fitness and 4-H participation. The camp addresses the growing obesity and diabetes rates in children nationwide, by helping to slow down this growing health epidemic through education.

A new partnership was formed this year was with the sovereign Tribal Nation of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi (NHBP), located in Fulton, Michigan at the Pine Creek Indian Reservation, about 30 minutes northwest of Coldwater, Michigan. Throughout 2017, Michigan State University Extension’s Health and Nutrition staff provided Lunch and Learn presentations and a Cooking Matters series in the community. The partnership extended to Friend’s Day Camp when Health Educator at the Pine Creek Indian Reservation, Shelby Gibson, brought a group of 10 tribal youth to camp. Shelby also led the daily Jump Into Foods and Fitness lessons.

Campers were kept active all week at camp. One camp objective is to educate campers of a variety of health related interventions. The year camp ended on a high note with a special activity. On Friday, campers and parents were entertained and educated by the NHBP Cultural and Historic Preservation Office (CHPO) with a beautiful presentation on various Native Dances. The presentation involved Tribal youth camper participants at times and campers and spectators were invited to join during parts of the Native Dances.

The partnership will continue in 2018 with series and lessons. This partnership has opened doors for the sharing of education of nutrition, health and culture.

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