WOW, what a great day! Approximately 50 people gathered at Camp Max Straus eager to start a day full of health and fitness. It was so rewarding to see each person pass through the gates for the camp grounds into a 112-acre oasis. Mother nature was great to us. The weather was perfect for a “fun picnic with a purpose.” Serjik Grakasian.
At 10:00AM the group started with a Tabata warm-up. After the warm-up, we split into two groups. My group ventured onto the bunny slope hike and Dr. Chiman Lad, Dr. Sunjay Lad, and Narbeh Ebrahimian led a more aggressive hike into the Verdugo Hills of Glendale. 40 minutes later we all met at the camp grounds for workshops.
Our first workshop was led by Emil Der Gevorkian, a local physical therapist. He spoke to the group about the importance of R.I.C.E. Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate. And I learned something new, now we have P.R.I.C.E. Protect, Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate. I thought to myself, of course that makes sense, especially if you saw Kevin Ware’s gruesome right leg injury during March Madness. Protect that leg immediately! What I loved about the presentation is that Emil was able to address all physical issues, from young to the young at heart. The Q and A’s could have gone on for more than an hour but it was time to move on.
Dr. Chiman Lad and Dr. Sunjay Lad, a father and son duo led the next workshop. They spoke to the adults about plaque and it’s association with heart disease. The workshop was extremely informative and the focus was on prevention. What surprised me most about this workshop, is that so many of the adults had questions about basic dental health care. Once again, the Q & A could have gone on for hours, and I finally had to tell the adults to take a hike (literally) to their next workshop.
While Dr.(s) Lad were presenting to the adults, the kids were involved in a healthy nutrition workshop with Sharon Townsend Roth, from Healthy Kids Glendale. She was AWESOME. She had pamphlets for the kids that were in English and Armenian. I absolutely LOVED her teaching technique. She went through breakfast, lunch, and dinner and assigned the kids to be a macronutrient. Then she would take a macronutrient out of the equation and discuss why the equation would not work. The kids were laughing, completely engaged, and most importantly, the learning objective was a success.
So, you may ask, where did the parents take a hike? We had a workshop set-up in front of a baby waterfall and pond. The presenters were a mother daughter duo, Ida Karayan, PsyD, LMFT, CBT, and Ani Karayan-Avanessian, PhD (Healthy Souls, Happy Family). They began their workshop by tossing the parents a frizbee. The rest is history. Before long, parents were opening up with their everyday challenges of raising children. The mother daughter duo educated the audience with humility, humanity, and humbleness. Again, the Q & A could have lasted through our lunch break, but we had to move on.
Before lunch, we had a scavanger hunt for the kids. The kids were all given OH-Wellness backpacks filled with a “MyPlate” that teaches portion control, a water bottle, health promoting bracelet, health promoting pencil, and a tag. We had hidden jump ropes, frizbees, and flashlights. One teen was partnered up with three children and off they went. They were given five minutes to find 50 items that were hidden and then each team sat down and counted their findings. What, there is a tie? OK, off we go for another minute to break the tie. The teens were fantastic with their younger teammates. They were strategizing and the commeraderie between the ages brought tears to my eyes. I was incredibly impressed with all of the teens. Every time they would find something they would hand it off to their younger teammates, which made the behavioral objective a success. While observing the children, the judges and I noticed that the kids were not very creative in their hunt. This is very indicative of our society today. Children are so use to staring at electronics, that they are not creative when thinking out of the box, which confirmed the importance of having an activity that promotes creativity.
After an event filled morning we all sat down for lunch. I had been working with 7-Stop Pizza in Montrose on creating healthy pizzas. OMG, they were SOOOO delicious…thin whole wheat sesame crust, light cheese, and vegetables. Accompanying the pizza was a delicious green salad with tomatoes, black olives, and feta cheese. 7-Stop Pizza took the time to measure a serving size of their “secret” salad dressing to teach portion control. Their generousity in donating the food was much appreciated by everyone and we all cannot wait until they reopen, after a 4-month renovation, on May 1, 2013.
What’s for dessert? But wait, it’s a health and wellness camp? It cannot be good...WRONG! Graziella B., one of our volunteers, made her famous mango puree and Jello dessert. Each serving was individually packed to teach portion control. I remember sitting with one of the Dads while he was enjoying his Jello. He said to me that it was the best tasting Jello he has ever eaten. I want to have another one. I agreed, and then followed up by saying, “Oh, by the way, that’s a serving size”. Poor guy, you should have seen his face. Helik I. made the other dessert. It was the most gorgeous fruit salad. It had every fruit under the sun, plenty of every healthy seed you can think of, and non-fat yogurt to bind. HOLLY MOLLY CANOLLI, it was delicious. We also had a variety of healthy snacks for everyone to enjoy throughout the day. All of the snacks and beverages were ‘health based’ and can be purchased in our vending machines at Homenetment, Ararat.
After lunch, we broke into two groups. The children followed Narbeh Ebrahamian, a Senior at San Diego State and basketball player, and Azad Galustian, who is currenty achieving his Masters in Social Work and an Ararat basketball coach. They spoke to the children about Positive Sportsmanship. The children were totally engaged and focused. I am proud to say, these two young men are the future of the success of our program at OH-Wellness.
During that time, I took a brief moment to speak to the adults about the importance of “Leading By Example” and being positive leaders for their children. I handed out goodie bags with many goodies donated by our sponsors and a booklet providing information about current statistics on child health and the importance of the STARS (Structure, Technique, Ability, Reaction, Sports) program.
Let the games begin…
Game 1: The 1, 2, 3 game. This game requires partners to count up to three while taking turns. As the game progresses, the number two gets swapped out by an action, then the number three gets swapped by another action. Young and old partnered up and as one became eliminated, they were partnered with another winner. The face off was a 16 year old teen and an eight year old. It was FANTASTIC. They were so focused and determined.
Game 2: We partnered up two people, as they jump roped for two minutes. The team that jump roped the most prevailed.
Game 3: Family Tabata Basketball shooting. A family of four, or a made-up family of four, had 20 seconds to shoot as many baskets as possible, and then in 10 seconds hand the ball off to another family member. Each member had two chances. At the end of 8 cycles, the family that made the most baskets prevailed.
Last but not least, the parents played basketball against the teens. This was hilarious. The parents were determined to win. The win was by one point, however I think the parents will be taking Advil for a couple of days.
You know a day has been a success when everyone is laughing and no one wants to go home.
The program objective was met…THE END!
I thank the amazing volunteers that made the event such a success. Steve Artinian worked exteremly hard in gathering donations. We received generous donations from Glendale Adventist Hospital, Web Hawk, Lad Dentistry, New Look Skin, Closet World, Fertility Pacific Clinic, Skyline, Issagholian Family, Go Mediateam, and Arsine Aghakanian.
I would also like to thank all of the volunteers that presented. It wouldn’t have been half the success without their expertise and presentations.
And lastly, I would like to thank the amazing volunteers that helped us all day. Laila, Catherine, Masiss, Helik, Armond, Tomik, Ernie & Tami, Graziella, Roubina, Arteen, Jashu, Chiman, Sunjay, Armik, Narbeh, Ani, Shara, and MOM & DAD…You guys are AWESOME!