Summer Fitness Camp

August 8, 2008 7:23:50 PM PDT
Hard to believe that seven weeks of intense workouts and healthy eating could actually be fun for kids. But that was the goal achieved for the Fresno parks and recreation summer lifestyle and fitness camp Friday-- the kids got to see the results of all their hard work.It's the final day of camp-- and not a pizza party in sight. Instead the kids run their final mile.

"Finish hard, finish hard, finish hard ... "

Finish hard they did-- 50 boys and girls spent the summer working out with trainers, learning about healthy eating, swimming, bike-riding, even doing a little dancing. The pace has been non-stop.

"We worked their body harder but at the same time we kept it fun," says Amanda Cogdill, the recreation specialist with the Fresno Parks and Recreation Department.

And though it wasn't easy for some, not a single student dropped out.

"In the beginning I thought I couldn't do anything, now I know I can," says a proud Toni Frank. "And I'm probably going to come back next year-- because I had a good time here."

Today-- the final weigh-in.

"You started at 150-- you're at 142; you lost 8 pounds. Good job."

Coaches and campers also kept track of their body mass and fat percentages. And while overall, the numbers dropped ... "Ahmad, I lost nine pounds!"

... something else was as an all-time high.

"To see their self-esteem go up-- to see their self confidence go up-- it's amazing," says Cogdill.

15-year old Ana Garza was the biggest loser ... 14 pounds in 7 weeks. "I feel a lot better than I did before-- I feel healthier."

And then there's Steven. "I used to be mean when I was fat."

Now that he's 8 pounds lighter, he's even a bit of a comedian, with a new healthy self image. "My mom keeps saying that every girl is going to steal me from other girls-- because I look too cute."

Kids now head back to school with a little extra muscle and some life-changing knowledge.

"We can light that fire, but it's up to them to keep feeding that fire and feeling that desire to reach their goals."

The campers leave for Yosemite this weekend, for a week-long camping trip. A few of the campers will be "graduating" from the program-- and may return next summer as staff.

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