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The Catalyst

Inaugural Heart Health camp deemed a success

By Janet Carter
Heart Health Program

The Boeing Center for Children’s Wellness Heart Health program has been dreaming of beginning a summer camp for years.

As the pediatric weight management program at MUSC, it seemed a perfect adjunct to the program’s popular and successful offerings. This year, that dream finally came to fruition.

Though it needed to be small, due to limited space and staff, it was a success.

The camp was held twice per week for two weeks (four days total) for two sessions. The first session was for 8 to 12 year olds and the second for the 13 and older crowd.

During their time at camp, the participants were able to learn how to cook, do some gardening, listen to inspiring and educational guest speakers, build on the nutrition and exercise knowledge that they learn at Heart Health, and get in a lot of physical activity through the day.

Another important piece of the camp was group counseling sessions and the positive reinforcement of good behavior. They earned stickers, which were “cashed in” for prizes at the end of each day, and the teens earned fake money to be redeemed for a $5 Walmart gift card. The best part of the camp was it was free to Heart Health participants.

In order to determine the success of the camp, a pre- and post-test was administered. The tests were exactly the same questions each time, and improvement was measured based on the number of correct responses.

For the 10 participants in the 8 to 12 year-old range who attended the camp, the average improvement on the test was 21.4 percent, and for the 13 to 18 year olds, it was 25 percent. 

An anonymous feedback questionnaire was given out to the parents, which revealed that “the most important improvement we could make for next year was for them to be longer.”

For more information, call Heart Health at 792-4717 or visit

August 7, 2013

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