Youth Strength & Conditioning Camp Offered

            “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution,” “The Biggest Loser,” an hour of “The Dr. Phil Show” dedicated to childhood obesity -- if you’ve turned on a television set in recent months, you know that the attention being paid to the problems of obesity, children and health are at an all-time high.

            This summer, in Nevada, Story Medical will sponsor a program that is dedicated to helping local children “turn on” their attention to nutrition, exercise and the pursuit of good health.

            Steve Van Dam, exercise physiologist at Story Medical and the overseer of Story Medical’s Youth Strength and Conditioning Camp, invites local parents to sign up their children for the eight-session program that will run June 15 through July 8.

            Van Dam advocates that the primary goals of overcoming childhood obesity are healthy eating and physical activity. But, he emphasizes, while it would be great for overweight kids, this program isn’t just for youth struggling with their weight.

            “It’s for all kids,” Van Dam said, “to teach them how to have a healthy, active lifestyle.”

            Van Dam said this is the fourth year of the program, which will be overseen by Van Dam with the assistance of an experienced Iowa State University intern who is studying in an exercise science-related field. The program is offered for two age groups -- grades three and four and grades five and six. “We’re trying to target ages that come before junior high to give kids an early approach to fitness and wellbeing before they get into junior high and all the school’s sports programs.”

            Sessions will be one hour in length on Tuesdays and Thursdays. During that hour, Van Dam said, kids will work out with their group and learn the basics of stretching, weightlifting, cardiovascular conditioning and nutrition.

            “With strength training, we will teach proper form and technique, which will help kids, in general, with muscle tone, balance and coordination,” Van Dam said. He adds that strength training is a health benefit for kids regardless of their participation in organized sports and the weights that are used will be age appropriate.

            On the nutrition side, kids will use a log sheet to fill out everything that they eat, from the first day to the ending day. They will also document the time they ate, hunger rating, serving/calories, what they were doing while eating, where they were eating and how they were feeling when they were eating. “I’ll review that information with them,” he said, and noted that as the program goes along, he’ll suggest changes that they might make to see improvement in their choices.

            “It’s fun for me to see, even over a month’s time frame, how the kids pick up on things. On the exercise side, I like seeing how they learn the techniques and exercise becomes easier for them, and on the nutrition part, they really learn a lot about what their food is doing for them,” he said.

            Van Dam said groups will no larger than 15 kids to keep the camp personal and beneficial to each individual participant.

            Plans are to have the third and fourth graders meet from 9-10 a.m. and the fifth and sixth graders meet from 10:15-11:15 a.m. More days and times will be made available as needed to accommodate the number of kids interested in the program.

The program will take place at the SCORE Recreation Athletic Complex and will utilize the trail systems for biking, walking and running workouts.

            Cost is $35 per child, and the registration deadline is June 7th. To register your child or to get additional information, call Van Dam at 382-7116, or e-mail him at If the fee poses a problem for any family, they should call to discuss options. Watch for children to bring home flyers from school telling about the program. 

By Marlys Barker, Nevada Journal

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