Re-Booting The Camp Mentality

The physical-training aspect of the program originated from my experience at basic military training with the United States Air Force, but was modified to suit children under the age of 11. In written evaluations, parents stated they “like the idea that the camp is promoting health and fitness,” and that it “increased their energy level.” Their children “have more stamina,” which “increases their mood.” Parents were equally thrilled to have staff members who were willing to participate in activities with the children, and serve as role models. L. Spinner, a parent said, “I’m really glad that the staff [members] are taking the time and have the patience to work with them [the campers].”

A Place To Start

Throughout the summer sessions, campers are given ample opportunities to showcase their fitness and knowledge skills. Physical training is on the schedule three times per week, on alternating days from the 8-Mile Challenge. Overall, the participants learn proper exercise technique and good form, flexibility, strength training in a group setting with peers, as well as muscle groups and muscle function.

But having the opportunity to learn how to warm up, work out, stretch, and cool down muscle groups is only the beginning. Participants now are able to put their knowledge into practice and have a fun way to learn about health and wellness, rather than merely sit in a classroom. Fairview eXtreme was designed with experiential learning in mind, and is only one example of Lynchburg Parks & Recreation’s obligatory movement toward programming healthier and active lifestyles.

I have always said, “If [children] don’t do it with parks and recreation, they may never do it at all.”

Gary Takacs is the Senior Recreation Specialist at the Yoder Center for the Lynchburg Parks & Recreation Department. Reach him at

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