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The program invites American Indian youth from tribes across Arizona to a one week intensive residential camp held at Whispering Pines, near Prescott, Arizona. The camp was established in 1991 to assist a growing number of Arizona's Indian youth who are at risk for or who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The program invites American Indian youth from tribes across Arizona to a one week intensive residential camp. At camp, kids learn healthy eating habits and ways to make exercise fun, consistent, and habitual. The best part? All camp activities take place in an American Indian context, deeply rooted in culture. This integration increases our effectiveness, makes health fun, and places its practice within a greater American Indian history.
Eight Arizona tribal communities participate: Hopi, Pascua Yaqui, Salt River, White Mountain, Colorado River, Tohono O’odham, Yavapai-Prescott and Yavapai Apache. These communities provide volunteers and transportation for the youth. The staff and faculty coordinate the camp and help organize volunteers who provide medical coverage, teach classes, and assist with fund raising.
CAMP—Kids, ages 10 to 15, come to camp for a week of healthy eating, exercise, learning, and fun! There they receive in-depth physical assessments to track progress and personalize pathways to health. We also use this data to improve the effectiveness of our program.
FOLLOW UP—After camp, classes and programming help transition students back to daily life. Progress is monitored through personal check-ins, supporting both students and parents after the safety net of camp is gone. Connections with parents are especially important, since their habits and actions largely influence the health of children.
DATA ANALYSIS—With innovative technology we collect data from students during the 6 month intervention. This includes body composition, waist circumference, blood pressure, fasting cholesterol, Hemoglobin, and much more. These assessments occur at camp, 3 months after camp, and 6 months after camp, intricately tracking progress. Polar Loops or Fitbits also allow students to track steps, exercise, sleep, and monitor other important data. We use this data to improve student health, and also to increase the quality of programming.
Funds for the camp come from private charitable donations, tribal contributions, and tribal diabetes prevention programs. Funds to cover volunteers are strictly from private donations. You can become a sponsor!
Francine Gachupin, PhD, MPH
Assistant Director, Native American Research and Training Center
1642 E. Helen St.
Tucson, AZ 85719
fcgachupin [at] email [dot] arizona [dot] edu