Summercise kicks off its second session of 2016
The second session of the Norton Sound Regional Hospital CAMP Department’s Summercise program started on Monday, July 11.
In its 16th year, the program strives to keep Nome’s children occupied throughout the summer months by teaching them healthy activities and exercise habits.
Elementary school-aged children meet at the Nome Recreation Center up to four days a week to participate in a variety of activities. Classes include smoothie-making, gardening, floor hockey and Ultimate Frisbee. New this year are traditional Eskimo dance classes with the King Island and Diomede Dancers and hip hop and ballet lessons. Nome Eskimo Community partnered with CAMP to teach children traditional activities, including as how to make agutuk, a healthier alternative to store bought ice cream.
The Summercise program is divided into two three-week sessions, which allows CAMP to offer more activities. Each day is divided into two time slots, one for five- and six-year-olds and one for participants aged seven and older. Between the two sessions and age groups, there are nearly 50 activities for children to choose from.
Prevention Program Supervisor Megan Timm said that most of the 160 kids signed up for Summercise attend both sessions because of the wide variety of offerings spread out across the summer. The main difference is that the pool is open for the first session, but closed for maintenance during the second. Instead of going swimming, Timm said the kids go “offsite” for hikes. This is the first year that Summercise registration could be completed online, and the program enrolled 30 more students than in 2015.
Eight college students majoring in dietetics, nutrition and nutritional studies lead students through activities they created utilizing backgrounds in cheerleading and photography as well as their college studies. Ten teenagers from Nome assist the interns. Timm said she always likes to highlight the importance of having local high school students work for the program because they know the area and kids and know how to best reach and teach them.
The Summercise motto is “Wellness within your reach,” meaning that being healthy is not an unattainable goal. Through activities that are as informative as they are fun, Summercise teaches Nome’s children what being healthy means and how to start, which can be as simple as dancing or taking a hike.