Summer camps in East Texas help kids stay fit and healthy

Summer camps in East Texas help kids stay fit and healthy

TYLER (KYTX) - Parents, you may feel like you're working overtime to keep your kids busy this summer and that may be helping them more than you realize.  Harvard researchers recently looked at trends in summer weight-gain. They found some students pack on the pounds more quickly in the summer.

Researchers say there are many potential reasons for kids accelerated weight gain in the summer.  They could be sitting more, eating more or have less access to outdoor activities when school's out.  If you can swing it, there are some local summer camps helping kids stay fit and healthy.

Boys are sliding into summer at Tyler Junior College's summer baseball camp.  They're learning the fundamentals of the sport.  "To swing a bat and how to field a ground ball and how to catch a pop fly," says Carson Willingham, 9 years old. 

The 6 to 12 year-olds are staying active for 3 hours of their day.  "We get them out here and try to get them moving. It is important for them, during the summer you are right there are so many more options for them sitting inside in AC," says TJC Head Baseball Coach Doug Wren.

They're learning from head coach Doug Wren, who led TJC to a national title this year.  "We start out every day with camp with static stretches, dynamic stretching and we run through some agility drills with them. We make it fun," says Coach Wren.

It's a home run in Carson Willingham's eyes and the reason he's here.  "To stay healthy and be in shape and just have fun," says Carson on why he wanted to sign up for camp.

The aquatics classes are also making a splash with kids this summer.  "Because it is so fun, you get to move your arms and legs and it is all cool and wet and it refreshes you," says Stephen Campo.  Stephen Campo is enjoying a break from the heat and humidity, but he and the other campers aren't sacrificing their daily exercise.

They are going to get associated with water fitness, water aerobics, you don't just have to swim laps," says Sondra Ramsour, TJC Aquatics Coordinator. "You can do other kinds of exercises and it is something you can do all of your life."

Sondra Ramsour is TJC's aquatics coordinator. She is helping the students refine their swimming and diving skills.  They're also learning to snorkel and use kick-boards.  They like to race, race on their back.  They like to race on their side.  They like to do tricks with the noodles," says Ramsour.

Heath Stoner, the director of the Ornelas Health and Physical Education Center says safety always comes first-- every stroke and kick is monitored.

"We have 3 lifeguards who are always watching the kids. We have a couple on deck and inside the pool," says Heath Stoner. 

Instructors hope they're instilling good, active habits for life.  "They go home hungry and tired, I guarantee you," says Ramsour.

TJC offers a variety camps each summer. Some are athletic and others are more education driven, but they offer swim lessons year round.



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