In 2016, twenty-six camps across the country and thousands of campers participated in the Summer Camp Bondar Challenge. With direction form trained staff (training material available online), they took their cameras outdoors to explore, observe, appreciate, and photograph nature.
Shape Up Chairman and Founder, Henri-Paul Rousseau, in discussions with doctors, researchers and cardiologists was struck by the deteriorating health of young Quebecers. Concluding that action was needed to combat sedentariness and poor eating habits, Rousseau collaborated with Fondation des Camps Odyssée and Quebec en Forme to create Shape Up, a flexible program designed to help all types of summer camps incorporate healthy habits.
Rousseau chose to work with camps to deliver his Shape Up program because “they are stimulating environments where kids enjoy being more active and eating better”. “Emulation plays a crucial role and kids are often more easily influenced by a camp counselor they admire.” *
Shape Up was launched in 2012 as a pilot project with twelve Quebec camps. By 2015, the program had expanded to 343 camps across Quebec plus eight pilot camps in Ontario. In 2016, the intention is to offer the program to more Ontario camps. Building slowly to ensure the quality of the program, it is Rousseau’s goal to expand Shape Up to camps all across the country.
The project is based on fun activities that inspire kids to adopt healthy habits for life. At no cost to camps, the program offers a day-long training for camp staff including food service providers, resources (cards with games and fun activities), support through conference calls and evaluation by independent researchers. Early results show ”an increase in the duration and intensity of physical activities in daily camp programming”; “food service managers strive to reduce salt, sugar, and fat content and to serve more fruits, vegetables and legumes” and “camps are doing more to keep parents informed and raise their awareness about healthy habits.” *
Camps are encouraged to set modest, realistic goals to ensure success. The ultimate goal is to have a healthier, happier, population of young people who can achieve their full potential.
Mike Stewart, Camp Coordinator at Ryerson Summer Day Camps, participated in the 2015 pilot project. He reports, “We had a great time working with Shape Up this year. It was a nice piece for us because it challenged our staff to look at programming in a different way, which I appreciated. And they really do provide so many resources and lots of great support. It’s a fantastic program.”
For more information, please visit www.goshapeup.ca.
*Shape Up Presentation Document