Gardening, Culinary Skills Part of Immersion in Wellness Camp Experience

AMES, Iowa – Youth can have fun in the garden and the kitchen during the Immersion in Wellness camp experience at the Iowa 4-H Center this summer. This year, youth enrolled in Everything Camp and Counselors in Training Camp will have the opportunity to participate in the immersion experience, a research study conducted by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach targeted toward lowering childhood obesity in the state.

The two camps will immerse youth in health promoting activities in five areas: nutrition education, gardening, culinary skills, physical activity and a health-promoting environment.

“The immersion experiences will develop youths’ skills and abilities so they can succeed, and transfer the positive health behaviors they experience at camp to their home and community,” said Ruth Litchfield, associate professor and state nutrition extension specialist at Iowa State University.

Immersion in Gardening and Culinary Skills

Research shows that eating behaviors beginning in childhood continue into adulthood. Fewer than 10 percent of children (ages 4 -13) meet the recommendations for fruit and vegetable intake, and it has been found that nine out of 10 youth consume too much saturated fat daily.

During the Immersion in Wellness camp experience, campers will grow fruits and vegetables in the camp garden and help prepare them in the kitchen. Through the many activities this summer, youth will improve their diets.

“Most people know the basics of what is healthy versus what is not,” Litchfield said. “Through the activities at camp, we are trying to empower youth to take charge of their health and wellbeing.”

Campers enrolled in either camp can sign up to participate in the research study. Should they choose to enter the study, campers can receive up to a $65 camper scholarship. Youth can register for camp online at

“The Iowa 4-H Center is devoted to helping kids develop to their highest potential and lead healthy lives,” said Abbie Parker, Iowa 4-H Center program specialist. “Through this new camp experience, we’re hoping to help youth learn more about growing and preparing healthy food and participating in physical activity to lead healthier lives.”

For more information, contact the Iowa 4-H Center at 515-795-3338 or contact any ISU Extension and Outreach county office.