What Tut & Dan want you to know about Camp Endeavor:
Camp Endeavor, the first camp for weight loss and weight management camp in the Midwest, enables youth to change lifestyle habits, become fit and shed the emotional burden of weight while enjoying a traditional summer camp experience. The wholistic weight management program applies cutting edge research in the mind-body-spirit connection along with nutrition education and physical activity, all in a fun and supportive environment.
Campers enjoy outdoor activities, make new friends, lose weight, get fit and return home enthusiastic and capable to stay active and change their former eating habits. Our educational component includes tools, or strategies to use when faced with the challenges, doubt, or inertia that can be a part of changing lifestyle habits. Our campers often forget they are at a camp for weight loss!
American Camp Association accredited, located in a secure summer camp setting and operated by health care professionals in the beautiful Dells of Wisconsin, Camp Endeavor offers two and four week sessions each summer. As a non-profit corporation, donations are solicited and offset the tuition of camp in the form of camperships (financial assistance). Last year 60% of our campers received some campership monies.
Other unique features of Camp Endeavor are our ability to customize physical activities and education based on the abilities of our campers. We also offer enhancements which include a personalized fitness plan, a personalized nutrition plan and personal coaching sessions post camp. These enhancements are available separately or as a package.
The benefits of the Camp Endeavor experience to the camper and their family are multiple. Weight loss happens at camp. Immersion in an environment which is fun, safe, supportive and educational, campers lose weight, become fit and learn the skills necessary to attain and maintain a healthy weight lifelong and, in doing so, minimize the health risks associated with overweight.
Some young people who come to camp for weight loss, don’t feel good about themselves. This turns around while at Endeavor. Many families have commented on how confident, happy and independent their camper has become after attending Camp Endeavor. The “weight issue” between teens and parents disappears! And the smiles abound!
What about life AFTER camp?
This is what everyone is interested in, rightly so. The challenges to returning home and continuing these habits are real. That’s why the education at Endeavor is geared to the internalized decision to make healthy lifestyle choices at home, in the very real situations of their own life. Camp is where kids get to experience healthy eating, moving and thinking. The learning and the customized experiences which are provided to elicit responses of leadership, responsibility and a sense of “I CAN do this,” are at the heart of commitment. We do everything we can to foster this commitment. We set the stage, watch for signs, nudge, respond, set the stage again and so on. Youth especially gain much from sharing this process with other young people.
For the parents, we've planned two sessions, Just For Parents, on arrival and departure days. We hope you’ll take advantage of these sessions. You’ll be given an overview of the tools/techniques, activities and education presented at this camp for weight loss, with valuable tips on how to support your child at home. Each camper is sent home with a booklet containing highlights of the education, recipes, meal ideas, healthy snacks etc. Contact with us is maintained through the Camp Endeavor Blog, Facebook and
What has made Camp Endeavor so successful?
Summer camp is always a whopping success from the campers' perspectives. Campers lose plenty of weight and they have fun and make new friends, whether it was during cabin time, planning the talent show skits or playing sand volleyball. It's clear that in the eyes of the campers, making new friends and having fun ranks high on what makes a camp experience rich! They also move with greater ease and delight at the end of camp. Every year, campers report increased energy and are pleased with how good it feels to be pleasantly full, not to eat to excess or be stuffed!
From the perspective of Tut and Dan, the Camp Endeavor, camp for weight loss experience is always successful as well. The increased levels of fitness and spontaneous movement are always exciting to see. Bodies accustomed to moving, tend to CONTINUE moving! The education and many customized challenging activities build capacity, and ultimately, a confidence in themselves. The campers engage, are responsive and courageous in stepping up to meet these challenges which deliberately parallel weight management. From the confidence questionnaires and the faces of the campers, it's obvious the campers leave with a newly-found or re-discovered sense of competence and the capability to handle the challenge weight presents in their lives. They also leave camp knowing how their families can support them and with loads of memories of new friends, adventures, fun, a sense of inner personal success and baggy pants. Oh, yes, be sure to bring a belt!
What can we expect regarding weight loss?
Weight loss is experienced by each camper. Every camper loses weight. Every camper also becomes more fit, moving with greater ease and frequency. Many factors affect weight loss so it's impossible to say how many pounds each camper will lose. Calories provided each day add up to approximately 1800, which meets the nutritional needs of young, growing bodies.
I’m concerned about my child’s weight. We haven’t really talked about how her weight is increasing. How do I talk to my child about coming to camp when it’s my idea, not hers?
We can certainly understand your concern. Going to a camp for weight loss may never have crossed your daughter’s mind, especially if she doesn’t consider herself overweight. Kids are sensitive about their weight and any discussion about it may be perceived as a personal attack. You are right to give this consideration. Rather than talk about weight, or how one looks, it’s best to talk about being fit and healthy!
There are a number of things you can do to set the stage for a positive discussion before the actual discussion occurs.
Start by approaching the topic of healthy living in small ways. Talk generally to the entire family; doing so will take the issue of weight out of the picture. That way if the skinny sibling complains that you’re doing this because of the other sibling, you can frame the information as promoting health for all, parents included (we can all get healthier, even lean people, even parents).
Bring up with the family ways that you can become healthier: talk one day about
- wanting to eat a piece of fresh fruit a day,
- another day about having more vegetables at dinner, or
- cooking as a family one night a week, or
- designating Tuesday through Thursdays as soda-free days, or
- walking the dog together, or
- getting pedometers for everyone in the family and tracking the number of steps of the entire family for a week.
The idea is, for you, the parent, to seriously move your family into a healthier place. Not with the zeal of a New Year’s Resolution, or a proclamation of no more junk food, but with a one-step-at-a-time approach. As your child becomes accustomed to hearing you set some expectations about healthy living over the course of a few weeks, she will know that you are serious about living well. Continue along this path of healthy choices, slowly but surely. Look for ways that each family member can be active outdoors. Make small changes, bit by bit.
Now you are ready to start thinking specifically about this conversation of attending Camp Endeavor, a camp for weight loss. Ask yourself how you can bring this up in a delicate, caring way to your daughter. Listen for the answer. You are laying the groundwork to be sensitive. Bring it up privately, when you are calm and loving and your daughter is not distracted.
This is not a time to scare them about health concerns that seemingly are in the distant future. Scare tactics have no place in this conversation. We as adults can understand that each person’s health truly is of concern; diabetes and cardiovascular disease are serious.
It’s hard for kids to understand what adults mean when we say ‘get healthier.’ People who are sedentary don’t feel bad, they aren’t in pain. The decline in energy, strength and endurance is slow and is rarely noticed, so talk of getting healthier is not understood, it doesn’t make sense. Some kids who are overweight don’t realize how much more energetic they will feel if they are active and that it gets easier and easier to be active as one becomes more fit.
Hence, speak of healthier in a wholistic realm: that childhood, including the teen years IS the time for you to be active, move, be involved in individual and group fun. The human body is designed for movement and we are healthiest if we MOVE everyday! It’s recommended that kids get at least 60 minutes of active play every day!
Also, keep the notion that the weight is a “problem” out of your vocabulary and thinking. Let your child know that they are okay. Bring up the idea of a camp for weight loss as a place and a time to establish better eating habits, and get fit. Plus it’s fun and a terrific place to make new friends! Look at the website together, so she knows she’s not alone. Lots of kids come to camp to get fit and end up having the best summer of their life!
Camp works for a number of reasons; the food, the education, the ‘just right’ physical challenge, the group-living together in a cabin, days spent outdoors AND the level playing field. Together, these components set the stage for the depth of experience for kids to connect the dots between lifestyle choices and how one actually feels physically and emotionally. This is what creates the difference, fueling the conviction to choose healthy lifestyle behaviors long after camp, with the know-how to do so.
Again, the emphasis at camp is on enabling our campers to choose healthy behaviors long-term, not quick weight loss.