Wise Kids Make Healthy Life Choices!

Wise Kids® is a science-based curriculum for children ages 6 to 11. It combines wellness messaging and practical, hands-on activities that get kids moving and learning about healthier living. Wise Kids engages kids once a week for 9 weeks, focusing on giving kids the knowledge to make good choices that will get them healthy and keep them healthy for a lifetime! The Wise Kids program is a fun, upbeat program that incorporates workbooks, games, lively activities, and weekly challenges that help kids learn about a balanced and healthy life and have fun while doing it! They’ll gain valuable knowledge that will help them far into the future.

The Wise Kids curriculum focuses on the Energy Balance concept (Calories IN = Calories OUT). This simple theme promotes a healthy, lifelong approach to staying in balance for good health.

There are three programs available:
* Wise Kids: Introduces Energy Balance and how nutrition and exercise benefit the body.
* Wise Kids Two: Reinforces Energy Balance with more in-depth explorations of nutrition and activity concepts such as vitamins, water, and bones.
* Wise Kids Outdoors: A stand-alone program which explains the Energy Balance concept while encouraging children to explore the outdoors and to understand the way nature and the earth live in balance, just like humans.

The Wise Kids program was created by the Säjai (pronounced “SAW-zhay”) Foundation in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). Camp Fire Alaska was one of 9 demonstration sites for the program and, Camp Fire recently merged with the Säjai Foundation and is now implementing the Wise Kids curriculum in all councils.

Camp Fire Alaska piloted this curriculum at 6 sites during the 2012-13 school year: Loussac Place, Russian Jack, Polaris, Chester Valley, West Fairview and Tyson.

Camp Fire Alaska’s Rural Program took the Wise Kids curriculum out to almost 1,600 youth in 27 rural Alaska villages during the summer of 2013. In communities where dental decay, obesity and diabetes have been climbing over the last few decades, the youth responded enthusiastically to the fun and engaging lessons on portion size, the food groups, and healthy eating and exercise choices. Each community held a healthy living competition, in which the youth got points for good food choices, daily exercise and water consumption. Staff reported that children would often knock on their doors after program hours each night to talk about how much water they drank or show them the number of steps they had logged on their pedometers that day.

We are very proud to be taking a leadership role in Alaska, and are committed to bringing quality activities that promote healthy life choices to our programming. Plus, we are seeing excellent results!

Our results strong gains in both healthy eating and physical activity attitudes, values and behaviors. For example, pre vs. post program surveys of Camp Fire Alaska kids show:
* a 39% gain in the number of children who say most of the time they eat healthy not junk food,
* a 27% gain in the number of children who answered every day or almost every day they ate a healthy snack,
* an 18% gain in the number of children who said they liked to be active because it’s fun and
* a 45% increase in the number of children who said they played so hard last week that they got tired and sweaty.
* And, the children displayed double digit gains in knowledge of key wellness concepts.

If you have any questions about the Wise Kids program, please contact Emily Lucy