- Today's youth are at risk of disconnect with nature by spending time indoors behind the screens of televisions, computers, cell phones, etc. This can lead to a lack of physical activity which often leads to childhood obesity. Childhood obesity places kids more at risk for health problems such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.
Purdue Extension, Lake County Parks, and the Boys & Girls Club planned and conducted GOALS (Get Outside And Learn Something) Camp at Lake Etta County Park in Gary for limited income children aged 8-12. It was designed to get kids outdoors and away from tech screens for five days. Additionally, twelve adult volunteers from area agencies and ten trained Teen Leaders assisted at camp.
The children learned about nutrition, food safety, and the value of daily exercise. They made their own worm compost farm, created herb terrariums, prepared healthy snacks, studied soil samples, danced, and participated daily in physically challenging relays. Water day included fishing, paddle boating, water safety skills, pond water studies, making sand prints, and swimming.
When asked what their favorite part of GOALS Camp was, a few kids replied "everything." One camper responded "swimming, the Big Ball (earth ball), and seeing a toad" and yet another indicated "when we fished, paddle boated, and made footprints (on the beach)." Perhaps the best reply was "being able to get more active in a fun way." Thirty of the fifty-one campers indicated they plan to become more physically active.