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Nearly 70 Attend 29th Annual Fitness Camp
By Celeste Ryan Blyden
Nearly 70 summer campers supported by 25 volunteer staffers recently traveled to the Allegheny East Conference headquarters in Pine Forge, Pa. They arrived with their bedding, swimsuits, summer clothes, cameras, and air conditioners. But this was no ordinary summer camp. They didn’t bring snacks, they didn’t sleep in late, they didn’t have late night bonfires with roasted marshmallows. This was Fit 4 You, the conference’s 29-year-old Health Ministries initiative that’s changing lives and freeing people from chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and inactivity.
For two weeks every year, adult campers from all over the east coast and from as far away as Bermuda and Colorado, head to camp to learn and practice the secrets of longevity and good health. Many come because they can’t seem to lose weight. Others come because they can’t get a handle on their diabetes or blood pressure, but all come ready to embark on a health educational journey filled with seminars, cooking classes, and early morning walks.
One of those campers was an 18-year-old man from Philadelphia who is obese and already has high blood pressure. After two weeks of daily exercise (and no tv), gourmet vegan meals, lots of water, lots of encouragement, and strictly following the natural health principles espoused at Fit 4 You, he lost 20 pounds and his blood pressure normalized.
“It was very rewarding for all of us—the staff and the campers—because everyone realized the importance of a lifestyle change. They left understanding how simple it is to adopt and how it can be done, something heavily emphasized in our theme Mission Possible!” said Leah Scott, executive director of the camp. “Many can’t believe that this place exists, and they can’t wait to tell their friends and come back next year with those friends.”
Two ladies who attended last year went home and started a group called Soy Sistas, which meets weekly to enjoy vegan meals using the Fit 4 You recipes and share health tips. This year they returned with several friends who enjoyed losing weight and getting healthy together. “After seeing the results of the Soy Sistas, I came to jumpstart the healthy new me,” exclaimed one attendee from New Jersey.
Another attendee from Philadelphia summed up the experience of many who—prior to attending this special health outreach program—had been battling major, and sometimes debilitating health challenges: “This place is a miracle of God, and Fit 4 You staff are God’s ministering angels!”
The event ended with a graduation, where attendees received diplomas and lots of congratulatory hugs, and a vegan Caribbean food celebration.
For more information, call (800) 830-0224, ext. 260 or visit www.fit4youretreat.org.