The Health Trekker Challenge for youth is an opportunity for high school students to participate in experiential activities during a six month period to learn about life-long, healthy living and to adopt an outdoor life sport, such as mountain biking, kayaking and rock climbing. The project couples fitness testing and training (provided by Louisiana State University Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences) with periodic, local outdoor adventure challenges provided by the nationally recognized One Great River Youth Development Program.
Students also participate in a capstone adventure challenge in a wilderness setting during the summer. Upon successful completion of the program protocol, students are awarded and recognized with Health Trekker status. Many youth are not drawn by team sports, such as football, and The Health Trekker Challenge is an alternative program for them to be physically active with their peers and to learn from skilled adult mentors.
A significant program component is learning to select and prepare health promoting meals and snacks. For example high fat, high salt and sugar sweetened beverages are not consumed during Health Trekker activities.
The pilot program is being developed by One Great River with support by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation and other private contributions. Youth participants contribute to the wilderness adventure by conducting an entrepreneurial project. Costs are comparable to programs like local soccer and swim teams.
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