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Weight loss challenge to help raise funds for summer camp

By Staff | Apr 13, 2011

A weight loss challenge is being held to help raise funds for a summer camp that teaches young adults how to change their lifestyle while defeating weight issues.
Dr. Mark Smith of Island Coast Pain & Rehabilitation Associates said the weight loss challenge is designed to be a fund-raiser for the Kid’s Count Children’s Obesity Foundation, which will provide scholarships for Camp F.I.T. He said the foundation came about because there are a lot of folks in need in this economy and the group wants to be able to provide funds to send some kids to camp.
The kick-off event for the Let’s Do It Together Weight Loss Challenge will be held in the L.A. Fitness parking lot at the Coralwood Mall on April 30 from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.
The challenge is for individuals who are 18 years old and older.
An entry fee of $10 is required for those who wish to participate in the challenge, which can be done online at www.KidsCountCOF.com or the day of the event. Each participant can build his or her own team of two for the challenge. If an individual does not have a partner, organizers can choose one at the event or have a partner assigned to them.
The participants will be given a weight loss challenge sheet, so they can track their weigh-ins every two weeks at L.A. Fitness.
The first weigh-in will be held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on April 30. Other weigh-ins will be held May 14, May 28, June 11, June 25, July 9 and the final one on July 30.
Coach Chris Casey said the weight loss challenge will provide the foundation with money, so it can offer scholarships to help assist parents in paying for Camp F.I.T.
“It will bring attention to the problem that we have with children’s obesity and what it leads to,” Casey said about the scholarships. “It will do a lot of good things.”
Camp F.I.T., which typically attracts between 18-22 participants a week, is open for kids who are 7-17 years old. Casey said the older kids take on the mentoring role of the younger kids during the camp.
The camp began four years ago to teach youngsters how to live a different lifestyle by having healthy habits, along with consuming alternative choices for healthy snacks.
All the kids will receive a notebook that will contain healthy meals for snacks, breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with a grocery list of healthy food ideas.
“We teach them to eat five or six small meals a day,” Casey said, in order to keep their metabolism and blood sugar steady all day long, so calories can be burned on a consistent basis. The participants learn how to eat for fuel instead of for hunger.
The camp will also teach the kids how to keep a journal of what they ate on a daily basis.
“The kids will journal after every meal, so they can keep track of what they are eating and drinking and what their feeling is at the time,” he said.
Casey said the idea behind the notebook is to provide participants with a reference that they can refer back to when needed.
The camp also teaches the kids how to read labels and understand the meaning of the amount of servings there is in a particular item. Chris said he teaches them how to grocery shop in the outer isles where the whole and fresh foods are.
He said they are encouraging the kids to “take a minute and pause before you grab something and eat it.”
Julie Casey said she is currently working with local restaurants to provide healthy choice menu items. Bistro 41, which is located at Bell Tower in Fort Myers, has added several healthy choice items to its menu and has agreed to provide 10 percent of its proceeds starting June 1 from the Monday and Tuesday sales of those items.
Julie said they are also putting together a cookbook that will feature healthy recipes. The proceeds made from the cookbooks will go toward the foundation to offer more scholarships.
The eight-week camp will focus on resistance and core training, along with a walking program, field trips and guest speakers.
Casey said participants will walk every day and kids can increase their speed when they feel they are in better conditions. The weekly field trips will take them to the pool, fitness center, parks, skating and bowling alley.
“They are moving and they don’t realize they are burning calories and exercising,” he said.
Casey said the neat thing about the summer camp is that all the participants are here for the same reason, which eliminates peer pressure. He said the kids’ self-esteem improves and their confidence level increases.
“You have everyone pulling for each other,” he said about the summer camp because everyone is excited to share how much weight they loose every week. “They are all working for the same thing.”
Camp F.I.T. will be held from June 13 – Aug. 5 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. at Christ Lutheran Church for boys and girls.
Once a week a physician will take the kids measurements, blood pressure, heart rate and body mass index to determine which boy and girl are the weekly winners.
Casey said they hold the weekly contest to keep the kids motivated in losing the most weight.