Camp FRESH (Fresh Resources Everyone Should Have) is a program designed to empower Wilmington youth to become agents of change within their communities, and is focused on improving health and quality of life by expanding access to quality foods. By becoming ambassadors for good nutrition and healthy lifestyles, the Camp FRESH teens hope to give their families and neighbors the tools to build a healthier lifestyle.
Bringing healthy foods to a nutritional wasteland
In 2007, 37 youth from five urban neighborhoods in Wilmington, Del., enrolled in Camp FRESH at Christiana Care’s Eugene du Pont Preventive Medicine & Rehabilitation Institute and learned how to become advocates for improving the health environment within their own communities. They surveyed more than 400 Wilmington residents to find out what affects their decisions to eat healthy and be physically active. The Camp FRESH teens also went into 24 Wilmington corner groceries, small stores, local markets and supermarkets to take a brief inventory of what healthy items were available and how much these items cost. They verified that a lack of access to nutritious foods was a serious obstacle to healthy eating habits in their communities, and they urged local store owners to stock more fresh fruits and vegetables.
Since that first summer, and based on the results of their surveying efforts, more than 300 Camp FRESH youth have assisted in the creation of two community gardens, at Howard High School and the Wilmington Urban Farm. Youth have also run produce stands in various locations around downtown Wilmington.
The program has also expanded its educational focus, addressing mental health issues, reproductive health topics, and future planning.
Camp FRESH runs each summer, from mid-June through mid-August, and registration is open to youth, ages 13-18 living in New Castle County.
For information about Camp FRESH, call 302-661-3012.
Eugene du Pont Preventive Medicine & Rehabilitation Institute
3506 Kennett Pike, Third Floor
Wilmington, DE 19807