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St. Luke’s Teams up with Local Boys & Girls Clubs

By Michelle Bartlome, News and Community
July 21, 2016

St. Luke’s Health System and Boys & Girls Clubs are partnering to help shape the lives of young people in healthy ways.

In the Magic Valley, the St. Luke’s Children’s YEAH! program, which stands for Youth Engaged in Activities for Health, worked with the Boys & Girls Club to educate children through a week-long summer camp.

“Working with children is a blast,” said Kyli Gough, wellness coordinator with St. Luke’s Magic Valley. “You can constantly see their young brains spinning and learning new things during our classes.”

The YEAH! summer camp focuses on activity, exercise, fun with healthy food and hands-on cooking demos. The program is taught by volunteers, including St. Luke’s Registered Dietitian Melissa Sleight and Melissa Whitchurch, an exercise specialist with the College of Southern Idaho.

This year’s camp took place July 11 through 15 from 9:30 a.m. until noon for 25 children at the Boys & Girls Club of the Magic Valley. Along with the planned daily programs, kids also had the chance to visit a local farm.

“Partnering with the Boys & Girls Club allows us to continue to spread the word about the importance of healthy eating, activity and behavior change,” Gough said. “We believe the more children and families we can share the information with, the more impact we will have on our community over time.”

On July 12, children learned how to make green pineapple smoothies and summer quesadillas.

“I know children took away some valuable information, because they would come back and tell us the next day. Things like, ‘Look what I got – I got this treat because it was lower in sugar,’” Gough said.

Children join the program through a physician referral; YEAH! teaches kids and families about healthy eating, physical activity and positive behavior changes. The program is offered in 8- and 12-week sessions in Wood River, Magic Valley, Boise and Nampa, and teaches participants about food groups and portions, culinary skills and fun physical activities like rock climbing and swimming.

The Boys & Girls Club of the Magic Valley recently received grants from the St. Luke’s Magic Valley Community Health Improvement Fund. The funding will be used to provide Triple Play and Healthy Habits programs to help fight childhood obesity and a Healthy Habits program to teach club members about nutrition and healthy living, and to provide fitness opportunities, programs and education on healthy eating habits for youths.

St. Luke’s works with Boys & Girls Clubs across the area, including the Boys & Girls Club of Nampa, which received a grant through the Community Health Improvement Fund to support its Mind, Body and Soul program.

The organization’s mission is to enable all young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens. The Nampa location serves about 230 young people every day.

Boys & Girls Club of Nampa

Engaging Our Youth

Influential voices and positive role models shape all of our lives, especially when we’re young. That’s why St. Luke’s supports the work of the Boys & Girls Club of Nampa. Here, youth find a safe place to grow and develop surrounded by healthy behaviors and committed mentors.

About The Author

Michelle Bartlome is the public relations manager at St. Luke's Magic Valley.