American Indian Youth Wellness Initiative

About the Camp“I promise to continue to be active at home. Also to take home what I learned to share with my family.” student promise made after camp

youth wellness camp Video 2021
youth wellness camp Video 2020
Youth Wellness Camp Video 2019
Youth Wellness Camp Video 2018
Youth Wellness Camp Video 2017

The program invites American Indian youth from tribes across Arizona to a one week intensive residential camp held in Prescott, Arizona. The camp was established in 1991 to assist a growing number of Arizona's Indian youth who are at risk for or who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. At camp, kids learn healthy eating habits and ways to make exercise fun, consistent, and habitual. The best part? All camp activities take place in an American Indian context, deeply rooted in culture. This integration increases our effectiveness, makes health fun, and places its practice within a greater American Indian history.

How it Works

CAMP—Kids, ages 10 to 15, come to camp for a week of healthy eating, exercise, learning, and fun! There they receive in-depth physical assessments to track progress and personalize pathways to health. We also use this data to improve the effectiveness of our program.
FOLLOW UP—After camp, classes and programming help transition students back to daily life. Progress is monitored through personal check-ins, supporting both students and parents after the safety net of camp is gone. Connections with parents are especially important, since their habits and actions largely influence the health of children.
DATA ANALYSIS—With innovative technology we collect data from students during the 6 month intervention. This includes body composition, waist circumference, blood pressure, fasting cholesterol, Hemoglobin, and much more. These assessments occur at camp, 3 months after camp, and 6 months after camp, intricately tracking progress. Polar Loops or Fitbits also allow students to track steps, exercise, sleep, and monitor other important data. We use this data to improve student health, and also to increase the quality of programming.

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For More Information

Please contact: Francine C. Gachupin, PhD, MPH
Camp Director


University of Arizona, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Wellness Camp
PO Box 210491, Tucson, Arizona  85721


Funds for the camp come from private charitable donations, tribal contributions, and tribal diabetes prevention programs. Funds to cover volunteers are strictly from private donations. You can become a sponsor!

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