Healthy eating and physical activity solutions for kids

On the Road with Healthy Kids Challenge

Once again, a training where I learned and received so much more than I gave. This training, Circle of Nations School in Wahpeton, North Dakota. The small but energetic and caring staff that I worked with consisted of classroom teachers, the PEP grant coordinator, food service staff, after school/evening staff, and dorm staff.

I learned about the culture, challenges, and needs of being responsible for approximately 180 Native American students, grades 4-8th, 24/7 for an entire school year; with most of the kids only seeing their families a handful of times during the year.

I heard the stories about how, after that year, kids go back to the reservation, so that year is key to helping them carry home knowledge and skills to become advocates for not only their own health, but for advocacy with their families.

With all the same elements I usually teach with in a nutrition education workshop, this time the discussion shifted to helping these dedicated staff develop a plan for generating ownership and support from all staff, not just this core group! The work was hard, the discussion deep, but I felt like I was in a warm blanket the entire time, safe, comfortable and knowing all was well. The patience, the courage, the positive attitudes of these staff were truly amazing. This was not about we can’t or excuses or we have too much to do, it was about HOW shall we go about making healthy changes, WHO can be involved, and WHEN do we start!

And, I was rewarded greatly! Thank yous, warm wishes and send offs led me out the door back to Kansas. One evaluation read “Vickie is a quick thinker! Excellent at adapting and teaching to the audience who came today! This is all do-able, USEABLE, and something we can implement right now!”

Aaahhhh...home sweet home, but not for long! Next stop after some re-energizing, Buffalo, New York! Get your bags packed, keep up with us On the Road with HKC! -VJ, 08-24-13