American Indian Youth Wellness Initiative

About the Camp

Youth Wellness Camp Video 2024
youth wellness camp Video 2022
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 six month program invites American Indian youth from tribes across Arizona to start off with 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, over a six month period, help reinforce the lessons learned and involves the entire family. We call these follow-up sessions Booster sessions. 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. ActiGraph wrist accelerometers 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, College of Medicine, Wellness Camp
1601 N Tucson Blvd, Ste 32, Tucson, Arizona  85716


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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