Sutter Health Plus Helps Fit Quest Program Expand into Central Valley Schools
Hundreds of school children in the Central Valley will soon experience the joy of hands-on learning about health and wellness through the Shady Creek Outdoor Education Foundation’s Fit Quest Program. This year’s community benefit donation of $75,000 from Sutter Health Plus will help the popular program currently serving Placer, Sacramento, Sutter and Yuba county schools expand into Stanislaus and Merced counties.
The Fit Quest Program teaches fifth and sixth grade students fun and easy ways to increase physical activity, adopt healthy eating habits and engage in activities that promote mental wellness. During the 2015-2016 school year, Fit Quest reached over 2,500 students with its outdoor and classroom programs. During the 2016-2017 school year, it will reach hundreds more children at 11 Central Valley schools and outdoor camps.
“We are excited to offer Fit Quest to Central Valley schools that will actively engage children in making healthy choices,” says Shannon Cueva, Shady Creek Outdoor School and Event Center’s director. “Fit Quest not only helps the children, but the teachers and parents benefit from the program too.”
Fit Quest is implemented in four phases throughout the school year. Children become familiar with the program during initial classroom visits, and then move on to participate in the Shady Creek Outdoor School for one week. The Fit Quest Shady Creek Outdoor School offers garden and nutrition classes, where children learn about where their food comes from and try new healthy foods. Physical activity is an important component, where the children are active for eight hours a day hiking, playing sports and learning in an outdoor environment.
The next phase of Fit Quest takes place back in the classroom, culminating with a family camp experience. Family camp is a fun-filled weekend for the whole family, where both kids and parents experience healthy cooking classes; gardening; low-ropes challenge course; workshops on nutrition, mental wellness and physical activity; naturalist-led hikes and games; swimming; and an evening program.
“During the family camp, the children learn to set goals for themselves, overcome challenges, and learn how to work as a team,” Cueva says. “The kids love it; they are having the best week of their elementary school career. And whatever they learn, it goes back to their families at home and changes lives for the better.”
The Fit Quest program is sponsored by Sutter Medical Foundation, the Shady Creek Outdoor Education Foundation, and United Way. Sutter Health Plus’ $75,000 investment in the Fit Quest program is just one more way the health plan fulfills its not-for-profit mission to give back to the community, by supporting programs that promote health through education about better nutrition, physical activity and mental wellness. This is the second year Sutter Health Plus has supported the Fit Quest Program.
For more information, visit shadycreekoef.org/fitquest/