Each summer, children of employees at Denver-area Centura Adventist hospitals are given the opportunity to attend summer camp at Glacier View Ranch. The Friendship Camp sponsorship program has been a huge success for 15 years and is getting even “stronger and healthier” this year with the incorporation of the CREATION Health program.
Leaders from the Rocky Mountain Conference are collaborating with Centura to bring the popular, whole-personal health program to all of the summer camp programs at GVR. Adventist Health System developed CREATION Health more than a decade ago. It focuses on the eight principles of health instituted by God at the beginning of time: Choice, Rest, Environment, Activity, Trust, Interpersonal Relationships, Outlook, and Nutrition.
While CREATION Health was originally designed as a tool for hospitals to connect with their communities, they have begun using it internally as well to connect with their employees and help them experience and benefit from healthy lifestyle choices.
“Summer camp is the perfect place to incorporate CREATION Health concepts,” says Kirk King, Centura’s Friendship Camp coordinator. “In fact, the GVR summer camp programs have already been following that model pretty closely. The eight principles of health naturally occur during a week at camp. All we have to do is make them more recognizable by formally introducing the principles to the kids.”
Each day during the morning campfire program, campers will learn about one of the health principles, which will then be reinforced throughout the day by special activities and interactions with staff and counselors. Customized worksheets are available for campers to use during quiet times.
“Environment” and “Activity” are easy principles to introduce, given GVR’s beautiful setting in the mountains above Boulder, Colorado, with plenty of opportunities for play and exercise in the great outdoors. Further, “Interpersonal Relationships” are a natural result of daily interactions among campers and staff.
“Each year, parents specifically mention that their kids have learned interpersonal skills that spill over into their daily lives when they come home from camp,” King says. “They learn how to work together in positive ways while living in close-knit groups in their cabins all week. One parent even said their child learned how to better deal with bullying at school.”
“Trust” is also easy to emphasize by making clear connections to spiritual lessons in the Bible. Two-thirds of the campers at GVR are not from Adventist homes, and about 20 percent claim no church affiliation. Interestingly, 90 percent indicate satisfaction with spiritual programming at GVR, and according to King, most of the campers report that Sabbath is their favorite day of the week.
Heidi Littell, assistant youth director for the Rocky Mountain Conference, says, “We’re so excited about partnering with Centura to emphasize the healthy, life-changing benefits of summer camp. We’ve always been about giving campers a connection with a healthy lifestyle, but we hope that these principles will become even more deeply engrained in our campers’ hearts and minds through the use of the CREATION Health program.”