Food Fitness Integrated In Educational 4-H Camp

Catrinel Stanciu, Atwell, Lorna B., Claesgens, Mark A., Brister, Lois E.  |  3/29/2005 12:12:54 AM

LeChundra Owens takes a question from another 4-H’er during the Meats Trivia workshop that was part of this year’s annual 4-H Food and Fitness Camp. Owens is one of 16 teen members of the state 4-H Food and Fitness Board, which planned the curriculum and conducted the lessons at the weekend event.

4-H’ers examine the vegetable seeds they just “planted” to germinate in cotton balls in the fingertips of latex gloves – where those seeds can be visible during the process. The exercise at the 4-H Food and Fitness Camp March 19-20 was part of a comprehensive experience on making a veggie pizza that also included information on growing vegetables. From right to left are Rapides Parish 4-H’ers Catherine Brister, Ian Williams and Jamie Andrews.

Evangeline Parish 4-H’er Valli Deshotels runs and twirls a hoop during a rice relay race that was part of the recent 4-H Food and Fitness Camp. The race was designed to be fun and drive home the message about rice and its food value that was presented in one session at the camp. Deshotels was among about 100 young people participating in the annual weekend educational camp.

News Release Distributed 03/22/05

POLLOCK - Nutrition and fitness were the focus of the annual 4-H Food and Fitness Camp this weekend (March 19-20) at the Grant Walker 4-H Educational Center.

Nearly 100 4-H’ers from 27 parishes participated.

This year’s theme was "A Taste of Louisiana Festivals," highlighting the state’s diverse cuisine and customs, according to LSU AgCenter nutrition expert Catrinel Stanciu, adviser to the state 4-H Food and Fitness Board.

The board, comprising of 16 teenagers and three LSU AgCenter personnel, and a group of adult volunteer 4-H leaders prepared and conducted hands-on lessons in nutrition, food preparation, food safety and fitness for 4-H’ers from across the state. They integrated agriculture, nutrition, exercise and character into their workshops.

In a session about making a veggie pizza, for example, they discussed growing your own vegetables, and included a demonstration of how to germinate vegetable seeds using moist cotton in the fingertips of inflated latex gloves.

During the festival portion, the program exposed the 4-H’ers to a variety of Louisiana cultures, geography and natural resources. In addition, throughout the events, it incorporated the six pillars of character (trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship).

The second day of the camp featured the "Body Walk," a walk-through interactive exhibit that’s traveling the state. Youngsters entered the "body" through its mouth and stepped through the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, bones and muscles, stopping at various stations where the teen 4-H’ers explained how diet, hygiene and fitness all relate.

Body Walk is a component of Smart Bodies, a recently launched five-year joint program between the LSU AgCenter and Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Louisiana to help combat childhood obesity.

As part of their community service commitment, Food and Fitness Board members and campers also collected dental supplies, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss, to be distributed to homeless shelters and needy people in central Louisiana. More than 200 items were gathered, according to LSU AgCenter extension agent Lorna Atwell.

In addition, the board collected stuffed animals to donate to local law enforcement agencies in central Louisiana to comfort children in crisis. The 4-H’ers also collected disposable cameras to be donated to Operation Military at the annual state 4-H conference in June.

Surveying the weekend activities, co-chair Lois Brister, another LSU AgCenter extension agent, said, "The teens did an awesome job."


Catrinel Stanciu at (225) 578-6924 or
Lois Brister at (318) 767-3968 or
Lorna Atwell at (318) 872-0533 or
Mark Claesgens at (225) 578-2939 or

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