EAU CLAIRE, Wis. — Registration is open for Camp Wabi (pronounced Wah-bee), a typical summer camp, but with a slight twist.
The camp is for kids entering sixth through 10th grades who struggle with their weight. In addition to swimming in a lake and singing by the campfire, Wabi campers receive healthy lifestyle coaching for one hour a day by specialists in nutrition, behavior therapy, psychology and exercise physiology. Kids also participate in traditional camp activities, such as canoeing, fishing, kayaking and choose from hobbies, such as arts and crafts, archery, basketball, cooking and dancing.
Parental involvement is essential to help children overcome weight issues, notes Mayo Clinic Health System pediatrician John Plewa, M.D., Camp Wabi medical director. Before camp starts, parents learn how to help their camper live a healthier lifestyle at home. After camp, parents receive materials to keep kids on course. Camp staff is available throughout the year, and parents and campers track progress at two reunions.
Mayo Clinic Health System and the YMCA of Eau Claire joined together in 2011 to offer Camp Wabi on Long Lake, near New Auburn, Wisconsin, as a way to address the growing childhood obesity problem. In the United States, obesity has quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2012, nearly 21 percent of adolescents were obese, up from 5 percent in 1980.
“We work with each camper as a whole person,” says Dr. Plewa, who attends camp with the campers and counselors, and joins in with everything from tetherball to Zumba. “Wabi is a positive, nonthreatening environment where campers will be active, make friends, eat well and learn new skills to live a healthy lifestyle.”
Camp Wabi runs from Aug. 6–13. For information, call 715-836-8460, go to campwabi.org or stop in at the Eau Claire YMCA, 700 Graham Ave. Financial assistance is available.
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Mayo Clinic Health System consists of clinics, hospitals and other facilities that serve the health care needs of people in more than 60 communities in Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The community-based providers, paired with the resources and expertise of Mayo Clinic, enable patients in the region to receive the highest-quality health care close to home.
Press ContactKristin Everett