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This summer, Kids on Campus will be focusing on fitness

Developing a healthy lifestyle will be woven into reading and socialization activities


Kids on Campus (KoC) is hoping to sow seeds that lead to healthier lifestyles among the youngsters who take part in the community organization’s sixteenth year of summer programming that will begin June 20.

Against a backdrop of rising childhood obesity – especially among Appalachians – KoC will introduce its young participants to organic gardening and healthy cooking. This summer’s "Be Bold" health initiative will play a key part in the program’s traditional mission of improving reading and socialization skills.

As part of the focus on healthy lifestyles, KoC is partnering with Community Food Initiatives, an Athens-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase local food security and self-reliance. The grassroots organization will acquaint KoC participants in the Federal Hocking Local school district with organic gardening, take them on visits to local farms and food producers, and teach the youngsters how to prepare healthy meals.

"Statistics show that people are much more likely to develop and maintain healthy lifestyles if we appeal to them at a young age," said Tina Lenigar, KoC program manager "Our recreation activities this year will introduce kids to new games with an overall theme of 'get up and move.'"

Lenigar added that participants will take field trips on Fridays and be introduced to various community agencies that promote recreation and fitness.

A partnership involving Ohio University and community members, KoC provides afterschool and summer programming for Athens County children, most of whom qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches. Its operations are funded through federal and state grants, as well as corporate and individual donations. KoC is overseen by Ohio University’s College of Health Sciences and Professions.

This year’s KoC summer program will take place at two school districts. About 60 youths entering first through eleventh grade will participate at Federal Hocking Middle School from June 27 to July 29. A program for about 60 younger participants, those entering first through fifth grade, will take place June 20 through July 22 at Trimble Elementary School.

For more information about KoC summer programs or for assistance with transportation, go online to www.ohio.edu/kids/