East GB camp promoting healthy lifestyle choices

by: Nina Laing, News Reporter

Young campers in East Grand Bahama will be encouraged to embrace healthy lifestyle choices when the Healthy Head-to-Toe Summer Camp opens for a second year in that constituency next week.

Some 70-odd children are anticipated to attend the five-day camp that will be held at East End Primary School from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The healthy-alternatives summer program will run from Monday, July 28 through to Friday, August 1.

And, on Saturday, August 2, campers will participate in a Health Fair, where they will be afforded the opportunity to pass on to family members and friends what they learned during the camp.

Member of Parliament for East Grand Bahama, Peter Turnquest is expected to be in attendance and Minister for Grand Bahama Minister Darville is slated to give the keyote address at this event.

University students from Pennsylvania, Montana, and Michigan, who will serve as the camp counselors, are on island this week putting the finishing touches on the camp's agenda.

Using their studies in various health-related concentrations, the students have arranged a slew of activities and programs for the campers based on the camp's five components: nutrition, exercise, hygiene, environment and safety.

The visiting group comprises Graduate Nutrition Students Racheal Driscoll, Drexel University, and Taline Derbabian, St. Joseph's University; Graduate Clinical Nurse Leaders from the University of Delaware Cierra Condry, Bailer Ocker and Mary Oden-Howell; Environmental Specialist from the University of Montana Rachel Kellecher; and Graduate Physical Education Student from Eastern Michigan University Matt Derbabian.

The camp was established last July to provide a summer camp opportunity for children in East Grand Bahama who are unable to travel to Freeport for the summer activities available there.

In addition, the health-conscious camp was formed to serve as a permanent clinic for visiting nursing students.

Assistant Camp Coordinator Dr. Mary DeLashmutt said that she has served as preceptor for nursing students at the University of Virginia since 2010 and had been searching for an ongoing or annual event through which the students could continue to develop.

" Each summer they were involved in a different clinical...I thought, 'If only we could just find an event that the students could build on from year to year,'" DeLashmutt said.

She said that it was when she and Camp Coordinator Susan Le held a health fair in Sweetings Cay last year that the idea for the camp was born.

DeLashmutt said that Le pitched the idea and, thus far, it has proven to work out very well for visiting university students and campers alike.

During their time at the camp, youth participate in regular exercise and various activities intended to heighten their sensitivity for healthy habits.

" We just try to keep it exciting, challenging and still a learning experience for them,"  she said.

Three representatives from the University of Delawareâ s Preconceptual Peer Mentoring Program are also on island and will provide training for teenagers and young adults interested in becoming peer educators for youth throughout the East Grand Bahama community.

Director of the University of Delawareâ s Preconceptual Peer Mentoring Program Gail Wade said that she, along with Peer Educators Colleen Boyle and Kendall Law, are thrilled to share the program with natives.

Wade said their aim is to empower the trainees to take charge of their futures through developing a life plan, making health-conscious decisions and building effective relationships.

The group of students met with camp coordinators and East Grand Bahama MP on Monday to get better acquainted and share plans and hopes for the camp.

During this time, Turnquest said he is grateful to the group for providing this opportunity for youth in his constituency because such opportunities are not always available to them.

" You're coming in and exposing them to a different way of thinking about the environment, food and exercise; and just exposing them to a different culture. It's so very important. It's so very valuable," Turnquest said.

" I want to thank you on behalf of all of the residents in East Grand Bahama for coming down for another year to help us." 

Le said she is pleased that the camp is being offered free of charge to the youth due to contributions from sponsors - Statoil, Grand Bahama Shipyard, Control Chemicals, Grand Bahama Power Company, Gold Rock, PharmaChem Technologies, B&B Galaxy Wastewater Company and Rotary Club of Grand Bahama Sunrise.

The camp coordinator noted that Deep Water Cay has also signed on to assist the camp this year by agreeing to transport children from Sweeting's Cay to McLean's Town to attend the camp.

Le also extended thanks to Bahamas Wholesale Agencies, Bellevue Office Supplies, Urban Renewal, Rotary Club of Lucaya and Show-Off T-Shirts for their assistance.

Published  Wednesday, July 23, 2014 

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