Camp Public Health Camp Public Health was started by Columbus Public Health in Columbus, Ohio. The camp is a weeklong summer day camp for 12-15 year old youth. It was first held in July 2014 and 2015 and will continue annually. The Camp Public Health Curriculum was developed during the past two years and is available on-line through the Columbus Public Health website at: www.columbus.gov/Camp Public Health.
Camp Public Health helps youth learn how public health issues affect their communities and relate directly to their own lives. The tenets of Camp Public Health include:
• TO INTRODUCE youth to the broad range of programs, services, and career possibilities the field of public health has to offer;
• TO CREATE a safe, supportive, and exciting week of discovery during which the campers will interact with their peers and public health professionals; • TO EMPOWER campers with the confidence and knowledge to apply and practice public health skills in their lives and also in their communities; • TO RESPECT and celebrate diversity; accepting and embracing the diverse populations we serve, while acting with fairness and equality through the programs we promote. ORGANIZATION
Columbus Public Health
Camp Public Health
Columbus Public Health (CPH) serves the 15th largest city in the United States with an urban population of 835,000 people and 1.9 million people in the greater metropolitan area. CPH’s Camp Public Health was developed for youth ages 12 to 15 living in the Columbus metropolitan area. Youth involved have been an ethnically, racially and socio-economically diverse group. The camp has been offered at a nominal cost per participant, however scholarships are available to eliminate any barriers to participation. It was first held in July 2014, again in July 2015, and will continue annually each summer. Camp Public Health has engaged 28 participants each year, the maximum number of allotted slots.
Real world experiences have been limited for youth to learn about public health both as it relates to their daily life and as an option for a career. CPH felt it was critical to provide that type of opportunity for Columbus youth. Camp Public Health was developed as a mechanism to expose youth to the field of public health through a structured week-long experience using the city’s existing summer camp system.
An extensive review of academic literature and online resources revealed no other public health department had created and implemented this type of summer camp program. CPH set about developing its own curriculum and is one of the first local health departments to implement a full-day, week-long educational public health camp for youth of this age.
The overall curriculum is intended to introduce participants to public health efforts that promote health and wellness, prevent disease, illness and injuries and protect individuals, communities and environments. The specific camp activities are designed to help campers choose healthier practices for themselves, connect their own experiences to public health, and explore public health-related career opportunities.
The program has goals for both short- and long-term impacts on the campers, from immediate changes in behavior to making longer term plans for their future. One goal of the camp is to empower campers with the confidence and knowledge to apply and practice public health skills and behaviors in their lives and in their communities. For example, we teach them about food protection in commercial kitchens, water protection and safety at public pools and spray parks, nutrition in local urban gardens, and global public health at The Ohio State University Byrd Polar Research Center. The youth experience how public health principles are applied in practice, but more importantly, how they apply to themselves.
Another goal is to stimulate campers’ interest in jobs and career opportunities in public health through fun and educational activities and interactions with a broad range of public health professionals. To that end, the curriculum includes a diverse set of presenters and activity leaders from all corners of public health to share what they do professionally in a fun and engaging way. Program evaluation has shown an improvement in campers’ understanding of public health concepts, as well as an increased awareness of public health career opportunities.
The camp grew from collaboration between Columbus Public Health (CPH) and the City of Columbus Department of Recreation and Parks (CRPD). CPH was responsible for the content and operation of the camp, and CRPD handled camp registration, transported campers, facilitated distribution of lunches from Columbus City Schools, and provided support staff during the camp. This partnership allowed CPH to focus on coordinating a range of activities lead by several public health professionals from numerous programs areas, as well as community outreach related to the camp.
Coordinated by one fulltime staff member and a summer intern, the camp has been a broad departmental collaboration involving more than 70 public health professionals each year supported by several not-for-profit and community partners. Hands-on activities demonstrate every major area of the programs and services CPH offers. Working through our community partners, we reinforce that while public health has a main campus at 240 Parsons Avenue, public health work also happens across the city with diverse populations and in various community settings.
By building awareness of public health’s role and career opportunities among youth, we believe we are making an investment in the future of public health for them and for all of us.
Summer programs from different specializations have been occurring for many years and offerings continue to expand each year. Summer camps come in various lengths, from hours to days to months. Summer camps also come in a wide variety of formats, from sports camps to art camps to academic camps. This wide diversity of camps appeals to young people of all backgrounds, interests, and learning styles.
Research has shown that well-designed and well-implemented summer programs that use a youth development model have had positive effects on youth participants and their communities (Henderson, 2007, Hakim, 2013). Well-run educational summer programs can help combat the academic slide that many students take in the few months of summer (McCombs, 2011). Results from studies of parents’ perceptions of the development of their children have shown that parents believe their children made gains in leadership, decision making, peer relationships and exploration through participation in summer camps (Henderson, 2007).
Recently, the number of camps that focus on career awareness and development has been growing across America. These camps spark an early interest in youth about their future career options, while helping to keep their brains stimulated throughout the summer months (Gibbs, 2005). A variety of approaches have been applied to help educate middle school and high school age youth about numerous professions in the health field. In particular, efforts to promote interest in health careers among students in grades 6-8 have gained momentum in the last few years (Lauver, 2011). Health career camps allow camp goers to observe and experience the everyday activities of a plethora of health related occupations (Gibbs, 2005). Such camps are one of the approaches used to attract and retain youth who may or may not have previously considered an occupation in the field of health (Gibbs, 2005).
Although efforts to promote interest in health careers among youth have traditionally targeted professions in medicine, programs promoting public health-related professions have also been developed. One program, offered by the University of St. Louis in Missouri worked with students, faculty and staff in a nearby minority middle school to develop a magazine about careers in public health and cancer control called Pathways. This magazine was developed to create awareness among the students about public health careers that they may not have known about. By gauging their knowledge of these careers before and after reading the magazine, the university found that those students who read the magazine reported more awareness and interest in the public health careers mentioned (Alcaraz, 2008).
Based on extensive review of academic literature and online resources, no other public health department had created and implemented a formal summer camp curriculum to educate youth about public health practices and to promote public health career opportunities. Existing public health camps or health career fairs for students have been offered by universities and by a federal health agency.One such program, “Disease Detective Camp” has been offered by the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, GA, since 2005. During this week-long camp, high school juniors and seniors engage in fun and informative activities and presentations that help them understand five different career paths within public health. Teams of youth probe a disease outbreak using epidemiology principles and report their findings to a group of CDC scientists. Other activities have included presentations by CDC experts and mock press conferences (CDC, 2014). Another such summer program is a public health camp that was offered by the University of Texas in 2013 and 2014. This week-long program led by university faculty and staff, featured public health field trips, service-learning projects, college level lectures, and one-on-one career guidance for high school juniors and seniors (University of Texas, 2014).
Within the criteria of the 2016 NACCHO Model Practices application, Camp Public Health is a new practice to the field of public health. The curriculum contains learning experiences with both environmental and behavioral health foundations. Each activity was designed to raise awareness and increase knowledge, while captivating campers’ attention in fun and engaging ways. Experience has shown us that including a wide range of activities, working with diverse populations, and reaching out to the community can help the program to successfully achieve these impacts.
The curriculum is organized by the three components of public health as outlined by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). These are prevention, promotion, and protection. Camp Public Health helps youth learn how public health issues affect their communities and relate directly to their own lives. The tenets of Camp Public Health include:
• TO INTRODUCE youth to the broad range of programs, services, and career possibilities the field of public health has to offer;• TO CREATE a safe, supportive, and exciting week of discovery during which the campers will interact with their peers and public health professionals; • TO EMPOWER campers with the confidence and knowledge to apply and practice public health skills in their lives and also in their communities;• TO RESPECT and celebrate diversity; accepting and embracing the diverse populations we serve, while acting with fairness and equality through the programs we promote.
Almost without exception, youth are not introduced nor do they have they any practical knowledge of how public health touches and improves their lives daily. This camp is promoted as a science camp with a public health emphasis. We have created the opportunity to introduce public health principles and practice to youth through hand-on activities and learning experiences. Importantly, we demonstrate how these principles are used to build stronger, healthier communities, and, especially, how they can be applied to each of them individually in their everyday lives. At a particularly formative stage of development, 12-15 years of age, we are building awareness of the role of public health within the broader health care system and knowledge of the career and job opportunities which are open to each of them within the public health field.
Each activity includes connections to personal behavior and opportunities to advocate for change in one’s community. Participants have opportunities to reflect on their own behaviors and opportunities to improve community environments related to nutrition, physical activity, disease prevention, injury prevention, smoking cessation, food safety, and environmental pollution. It also highlights public health research and assessments performed by universities and other entities. Participants are encouraged to explore possible career opportunities by posing questions to the presenters. Each activity includes discussion of skills needed by public health professionals in that area. The Core Competencies of Public Health Professionals provide an introduction to the types of skills that support successful public health practice, education, and research. Public health competencies include: assessment, planning, communication, cultural competency, community collaboration, financial management, leadership, and expertise in public health sciences (biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health sciences, health services administration, social and behavioral sciences, and public health informatics).
This Camp Public Health Curriculum is meant to serve as a guide for public health departments and other organizations that want to offer a similar experience for youth. This curriculum guide includes formalized learning objectives, lesson plans, teaching aids, and evaluation tools for future Camp Public Health sessions. Recognizing the importance of introducing youth to public health research and education, activities that can be held at universities or in other community settings have been added to the curriculum. It is intended to be adaptable and flexible, in order to utilize available resources at different locations. It is designed to appeal to a variety of learning styles. While the curriculum is intended for 12-15 year olds of all backgrounds, it can be adapted for other age groups. By collecting and documenting our activities, process, materials and recommendations we have developed a camp model which can be easily adapted and used by health departments in a variety of local situations.
As the demand for summer youth programs, particularly those focused on career exploration continues to grow and the need for competent public health workers also grows, interest in public health camps for youths and teens is expected to increase across the country. With collaboration between health departments, universities, schools and community partners, summer camps highlighting public health practices and career opportunities can be made possible in many more communities.
Camp Public Health has been organized according to three components of public health. These components, as outlined by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), are prevention, promotion, and protection. These components encompass everything that public health accomplishes while conveying that public health professionals work proactively and reactively to safeguard the public’s well-being. Camp Public Health is designed to introduce participants to public health efforts that promote health and wellness, prevent disease, illness and injuries and protect individuals, communities and environments. Camp activities are designed to help campers choose healthier practices for themselves, connect their own experiences to public health, and explore publichealth related career opportunities.
Prevent ? Promote ? Protect
The Camp Public Health program is designed to generate short- and long-term impacts on the campers. Experience has shown us that including a wide range of activities, working with diverse populations, and reaching out to the community can help the program to successfully achieve these impacts. This camp curriculum contains learning experiences with both environmental and behavioral health foundations. Each activity was designed to raise awareness and increase knowledge, while captivating campers’ attention in fun and engaging ways.
One of the goals of the camp is to empower campers with the confidence and knowledge to apply and practice public health skills and behaviors in their lives and also in their communities. As such, each activity includes connections to personal behavior and opportunities to advocate for change in one’s community. Participants will have opportunities to reflect on their own behaviors and opportunities to improve community environments related to nutrition, physical activity, disease prevention, injury prevention, smoking cessation, food safety, and environmental pollution.
Another goal of the camp is to stimulate campers’ interest in jobs and career opportunities in public health through stimulating and educational activities and interactions with a broad range of public health professionals. The curriculum includes ways to incorporate diverse sets of presenters and activity leaders from all corners of public health to share what they do professionally in a fun and engaging way. It also highlights public health research and assessments performed by universities and other entities. Participants are encouraged to explore possible career opportunities by posing questions to the presenters. Each activity includes discussion of skills needed by public health professionals in that area. The Core Competencies of Public Health Professionals provide an introduction to the types of skills that support successful public health practice, education, and research. Public health competencies include: assessment, planning, communication, cultural competency, community collaboration, financial management, leadership, and expertise in public health sciences (biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health sciences, health services administration, social and behavioral sciences, and public health informatics.
Each activity is matched with Public Health Competencies from the Ohio State University Bachelor of Science in Public Health (BSPH) degree. These competencies are:
1. Address intervention and disease prevention strategies to sustain and improve quality of life. 2. Summarize the major factors that contribute to human disease and compromised quality of life. 3. Identify political, cultural, behavioral and socioeconomic factors related to global health issues.4. Discuss various approaches for identification, response, and intervention to address common public health issues. 5. Communicate ideas and results that solve public health problems. 6. Summarize major sources and other exposure factors that contribute to environmentally-related human diseases. 7. Address how the quality of environmental media is adversely affected by contamination from various agents. 8. Identify regulations, policies, standards and guidelines applicable to the quality of food and the prevention of environmentally-related human exposures and diseases.
This curriculum begins with a general introduction to public health, followed by sections that include activities demonstrating the core public health functions: Prevent, Promote, and Protect. The activities have been organized to build on each other, so the campers can use knowledge learned at the beginning of camp and apply it to the new concepts that are introduced. Of course the order of activities in each camp will depend upon the availability of staff, facilities, and weather.
Each of the lessons includes the following:
• Activity name and associated public health core function(s)• Suggested facilities and supplies, and estimated duration• Learning objectives and associated public health competencies• Questions and/or hands-on activities* that encourage learners to:
(* based on the Ohio State University 4-H Experiential Learning Model)
Experience – become familiarized with the topic
Reflect – explore deeper meaning of the content
Generalize – connect learning to other examples
Apply – use along with real-world examples
• Adaptations for special needs participants
The Camp Public Health curriculum is designed to be adapted to fit the location and resources of the host organization. It is understood that not all organizations that offer Camp Public Health will have the same community resources and facilities or the same available staff and volunteer presenters, so each activity includes possible adaptations and recommended modifications. The curriculum has been developed with enough specificity to provide fully structured activity plans, while allowing flexibility for presenters to change, add to, and tweak the activity plan to accommodate their own program’s objectives and available time and resources.
Most importantly, each Camp Public Health should highlight the unique public health strengths and challenges of the community it is offered in. This involves introducing campers to various populations throughout their community and the public health issues affecting those populations. Camp coordinators may also want to introduce participants to the needs of diverse populations who reside outside of their communities. As much as possible, activities should utilize facilities around the community that address public health issues to show campers that public health and the community are often intertwined and that public health issues can be found everywhere. In order to achieve this, collaborations should be established and nurtured with community partners to maximize the campers’ learning experiences.
Public health is an ever-changing field and threats to the public’s health can become important and relevant in an instant. Events and conditions such as food poisonings, floods, contaminated water, and high ozone levels are all urgent public health concerns. Be sure to allow focus on both long-standing and recently discovered public health needs and events in your community. This will add relevance to the camp’s focus on the public health mission to improve and maintain population-level health now and into the future.
Prevent: Prevention involves takings steps so that diseases and injuries are minimized or never occur. Prevention efforts involve educating individuals and groups about potential threats and ways to minimize them. Preventive interventions are also targeted at the population level and may involve medical or scientific technology. For example, immunizations are given to prevent the spread of communicable diseases across communities. Public water filtration and sewage treatment systems prevent the spread of disease.
Activity Name FocusPearly Whites (AR) Dental Health/Prevention of Tooth DecaySexuality and Risky Behaviors Prevention of Sexually Transmitted DiseasesSTI Game Prevention of Sexually Transmitted DiseasesMosquito Eggstravaganza Disease Prevention through vector controlFood Handling Prevention of food-borne illnessSafe Food Storage (AR) Prevention of food-borne illnessOut of sight, in your hands Disease Prevention through proper hand-washingSafe sleep environment (AR) Infant Mortality PreventionAlcohol and Drugs Substance Abuse PreventionMobile data collection Tobacco use preventionSun Safety Skin Health/Cancer Prevention
Promote: Health promotion involves providing the knowledge, resources, and access that individuals and families need to make healthy choices. To promote safety and well-being, public health organizations offer health education in the form of contraception/family planning classes and support, nutrition education and demonstrations, physical activity events and campaigns, etc. The overarching goal is to promote healthy lifestyle behaviors.
Activity Name FocusMini Boot Camp (AR) Importance of physical activityArt Walk Importance of physical activityHealthy Equity Game Show Health equity and minority healthBuckle Up, Phone Down Distracted driving, seatbelt useClimate Change Climate Change, environmental protection Byrd Polar Research Climate Change, environmental protectionGreen Building Scavenger Hunt Environmental SustainabilityZero-Waste Tour Environmental SustainabilityWater First for Thirst Nutrition Promotion - Healthy BeveragesLevels of Community Change Environment change to promote healthy behaviors Community Garden Healthy eating, food access
Protect: Public health entities protect the public’s health and safety in numerous ways. The activities included in this section highlight the protection that occurs through ensuring safe environments at public places and the provision of first aid and rapid responders.
Activity Name FocusSwim Safely Water quality at public poolsFood production tour Food safetyWastewater treatment tour Water quality and safetyPool or spray park tour Water quality and safetyOutbreak activity Infectious Disease ResponseSexual Health Lab Disease identification“One Piece Flow” Health Care service efficiencyYour hands can save lives Rescue interventions: Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation and automated external defibrillators
(AR) = Amazing Race Format
In Columbus, the Camp Public Health concept has been received enthusiastically with exceptional collaborative support. Within the department more than 70 staff members each year have been directly involved leading activities and facilitating learning experiences. Departmental staff members have been the single most important source of ideas and thoughtful developmental input. The entire project has been managed by a fulltime (40% of their time) staff member aided by a summer intern(480 total hours). In building a camp infrastructure our most important partner has been the City of Columbus Department of Recreation and Parks (CRPD). Camp registration and much of our outreach and publicity was done through their existing on-line website or in-person through their neighborhood community recreation centers. CRPD provided vans for transportation, breakfast and lunch through their low cost meals program, three camp-week staff, who were drivers and helped manage the kids, plus a central venue for easy drop-off and pick-up of campers by parents and guardians.
In our second year (2015), The Ohio State University College of Public Health proposed bringing a full day of camp onto campus. This provided a fresh injection of new ideas and activities. For many of our campers, who are potential first generation college students, being on campus, even for one day, makes the likelihood of college attendance, a degree and a career in public health a firmer possibility. The college loaned faculty and graduate students who contributed their expertise to the creation and organization of the formal curriculum. They were especially helpful in aligning the activities with public health competencies and organizing the curriculum format. The critical comments and suggested improvements will be incorporated into the curriculum model during early 2016. We have received outstanding involvement from municipal and community organizations. We have toured water treatment facilities, water spray parks and community pools. The American Lung Association has provided educators to lead activities. Franklinton Gardens explained the challenges of and the connection between urban gardening and good nutrition. The Byrd Polar Research Center showed the campers glacial ice core samples and explained how climate change is a global public health issue. The Columbus City Schools opened their Food Preparation Facility to show the preparation of 14,000 daily lunches, sample new recipes and surveyed the camper’s food tasting preferences. Dublin, a local suburban community, opened a town park for Scioto River access where we examined macro invertebrates and aquatic insects as a measure of water quality. Everywhere we have asked, the campers have been welcomed. There are an unlimited number of activities and venues in which to demonstrate public health in action.
The full Camp Public Health curriculum with activities, materials are on-line at: www.columbus.gov/CampPublicHealth. Through the website, we can offer our camping experience to local health departments across the country. We have created a low cost learning experience which is highly adaptable to local situations, circumstances and budgets. We offer tested activities and advice about their use that can be utilized to demonstrate public health principles and practice in any neighborhood, in every community, in all environments.
Evaluation has been built into the program from the beginning. We have worked to expand the evaluative tools we use, the range of perspectives sought, and how often we ask for feedback. We sought feedback on each of our three primary objectives. These include: 1) testing and insuring the quality and value of the camp process and the materials we use; 2) demonstrating the use of public health principles, both how they are applied in the community and to the campers personally; 3) building awareness of the career and job possibilities within the public health field which campers might pursue; 4) assessing the satisfaction level of the campers.
Our camp programming and materials were tested and reviewed at every stage of their development, use and results. We solicited ideas from our entire departmental and program staff, from the OSU College of Public Health faculty and staff, other city agencies, city schools, not-for-profit groups and private businesses. We cast a wide net to insure a diverse range of proven activities, reflective of our metropolitan community. Most of the activities had been tested in the field previously by public health professionals or our collaborating partners. All of the individual camp activities were reviewed by camp staff and presenters, comments collected and added to the daily annotated schedule notes. Comments from experienced CRPD staff were especially helpful in judging the pace of the schedule and general engagement of the campers. Between the 2014 and 2015, we conducted extensive interviews with all presenters to ask if they would repeat the activity, what they would change, how it could be improved, what variations they might try, or what new ideas they had. Most importantly, we have submitted the entire Camp Public Health Curriculum to the Peer Review Process through The Ohio State University College of Public Health. This third party close examination will give us important feedback about the balance and range of our activities, how they align with specific public health competencies and our learning model. The resulting comments and recommendations will be incorporated into the curriculum prior to the Summer 2016 Camp Public Health. Finally, we expect to receive feedback from other local health departments as they use our on-line materials in their own versions of camp. We hope to receive adaptations, application advice in varying situations and new activities for our library. Our plan is to implement a continuous quality improvement process at every level.
The camper’s satisfaction level was assessed throughout the camp. We asked them to rate each activity on a 1-5 Likert scale and to rank each of the activities for the entire week. We plotted all of these results on pie and bar graphs to easily make comparisons. We asked then for their open ended comments about all aspects of the camp. Beyond the camp activity ratings, first year campers told us unequivocally the camp lunches needed to be improved. After considerable effort, the quality and the ratings of lunches showed marked improvement in the second year. The activities were grouped into high, medium and low satisfaction categories to serve as a guide for which to repeat, change or delete. It also gave us a stereoscopic view of the program. Throughout the camp each of the staff made a first-hand assessment of the camper’s engagement, and enthusiasm. This anecdotal measure closely paralleled the kids more objective rankings. However, it gave us an important perspective on the daily variables such as classroom style presentations and physical activity. We looked at how to use the physical activity to affect pace. For example, lower energy levels after lunch clearly affected their engagement and provided perspective on why some activities were rated lower. A presentation and discussion about making good sexual health decisions generated more positive engagement, however topics like this with which they were less comfortable produced a lower Likert scale rating.
We measured the campers understanding of public health concepts with a pre and post measure of their knowledge. They showed considerable improvement, which provided confirmation they received the intended message about principles and practice.
Our biggest challenge was engaging the youth in consideration of public health careers. Youth, 12-15 years of age are not going to choose a lifetime career. Our 2014 panel discussion about possible careers within the field did not engage the group. In preparation for the next camp, the 2015 intern created a job card for each of our department presenters which included the job title, education level, to whom they reported, job responsibilities, and a fun fact. During the week, the cards were passed out during each activity, collected by the campers, and then traded like baseball cards between them. When the job cards were discussed at the end of the week, the campers had preferences and made selections among the options. Nearly everyone wanted to be sanitarians or epidemiologists. This was not to be seen as a scientific measure, however, provided proof that they were more engaged with this approach and their awareness of public health career opportunities had improved.
All of this measurement was facilitated by the use of a Turning Point Technologies application. The software allowed us to ask all of these questions electronically. The campers responded on clicker keypads. The true/false, multiple choice answers, and the activity satisfaction rankings could be polled, reported, summarized and documented instantly. The use of the technology made these evaluation tasks immeasurably easier and more comprehensive. Because the polling is instantaneous, the responses are more accurate and individually detailed to the queries.
At the conclusion of the camp, we ask parents about their child’s camping experience, the mechanics of registration, camp access and cost. For example, we ask about what their child talked about during the camp week as a measure of engagement. These questions were in the form of a written survey with an opportunity for an open-ended response at the end. In 2014, we used an electronic survey addressed to parents in the week following camp and received just two responses. In 2015, we physically handed the survey to each parent and asked them for a moment of their time, resulting in nearly 100% percent response.
In total, feedback was gathered from staff at every level, from each of our collaborating partners, the participants and their parents. We measured it from multiple perspectives using a variety of methods, including tools which produced objective, anecdotal, inferential and comparative results. We will continue to apply this comprehensive evaluation as we hold more camps, gain more experience and apply the lessons and experience of others as they share their experience in the use of the curriculum and our materials.
Columbus Public Health made a commitment to make Camp Public Health an annual event, with the investment of the staff time and resources needed to support this model. The initial year did require additional time in research; however staff time for subsequent years was diminished once the curriculum was developed. Each year, the camp has operated with an existing fulltime staff member (40%) and a 480 hour summer intern. These positions are responsible for all coordination and development of every aspect of camp. This staffing level made the camp possible through the broader commitment of the department in supporting contributions of staff time across the department. Each year, more than 70 staff members were directly involved in sharing ideas, leading activities and doing presentations during the week of camp. The department’s in-kind contribution is essential. Many of the activities are conducted in the CPH building or on our grounds using department equipment. New expenditures for the program included items for the campers such as t-shirts, camp backpacks, water bottles, hats and some food. Less than $2,500 was spent each year on the camp including $1,000 for van transportation during the week. CPH facilities provided the perfect platform on which to base camp activities.
Two community partners play major roles in the success of the camp, the City of Columbus Recreation and Parks (CRPD) and The Ohio State University College of Public Health (OSU). CRPD provided the infrastructure for the camp. CRPD provides registration services through their neighborhood recreation centers and electronically on-line access to families who have attended camps in the past, van transportation and three staff to accompany the campers. In 2015, OSU provided a day’s experience utilizing faculty, staff and students to organize activities on campus. In addition, numerous not-for-profit organizations provided access to swimming pools, community gardens, a wastewater treatment plant, neighborhood parks and expertise to explain their connection to public health issues.
Our approach within the department allows us a low cost means to conduct the camp with minimal utilization of departmental program staff. Combined with our community partners, we are afforded access to a wide range of ideas for activities, community interaction and public health infrastructure. It creates a very diverse, readily available and multilayered view of the community. The ease of access and range of possibilities makes a flexible camp development process.
In Columbus, we aim to provide an engaging camp experience for local 12-15 year old youth every summer. Our primary goal is to extend that opportunity into every local health department(LHD) jurisdiction. We have created a comprehensive curriculum encompassing basic Protect, Promote, Prevent activities tied to the core competencies of public health. We have built an easily available learning experience through which youth can explore the career and professional opportunities within the public health field. Few LHDs have the range of staff and resources available to a large metropolitan health department such as CPH. By offering on-line the curriculum, the activity descriptions, our tools and materials, health departments can select and adapt resources which will fit their local circumstances and situation. If they want a single tested activity for a workshop, a series of possibilities for a day, or planning a schedule of full week camp experiences, the ideas are available.
We are asking LHDs to credit the use of the curriculum. More importantly, we have provided a feedback loop through our website. We offer an activity description template for other departments to document their new activities, adaptations or useful variations. We hope to update our curriculum listing with a continually expanding library of successful activities, learning experiences and advice. The field of public health continues to change rapidly. Public health faces new challenges daily. By creating an on-line exchange for camp ideas and experiences we believe we can create the best possible way to keep the camp curriculum up-to-date, abreast of current trends and relevant for use with youth. Columbus Public Health has already identified program dates, a commitment we will honor annually. By documenting our camp activities, supporting documents and learning experience we can offer the Camp Public Health Curriculum on-line to other local health departments nationally. We believe the materials can be easily adapted to any local circumstance and be a comprehensive guide for a successful public health camping experience.
I am a previous Model Practices applicant|Colleague in my LHD|NACCHO website|Public Health Dispatch|NACCHO Connect