Imagine a world where you ate breakfast on fresh whole wheat toast, had broiled lemon pepper fish for lunch, and got moving in the afternoon to a dance video workout. Pretty great right? Healthy eating and an active lifestyle have been part of a nationwide effort to change many troubling statistics including youth obesity, higher diabetes rates, and more. Oconaluftee JCCCC is doing its part to ensure students start and continue the path to health and well-being.
This summer, Oconaluftee launched the HEALS (Healthy Eating Active Lifestyles) Program for all students and staff. The center started with a large kick-off celebration including a 5K Walk Against Tobacco followed by a fun Health Food Cookout featuring Veggie Burgers, grilled chicken, broiled Lemon Pepper Fish, Low Fat Potato Salad, Low Fat Cole Slaw, whole wheat buns and dessert of fresh cold Watermelon.
Throughout the day, ‘Get Moving’ activities in the gymnasium helped teach new forms of exercise as well as bring back some old favorites. “We had everything from yoga to Zumba to double dutch jump rope like when I was a kid. I’d never done some of that before but it was kinda cool” said student Claudette Nolan. Yoga instruction was led by one of the center’s very own staff members, Holly Krake. “Yoga is about body and mind. You can’t have a healthy life style without engaging both to work towards your health goals” said Krake.
Oconaluftee hasn’t stopped at a one time event either. Wellness Manager, Trudy Crowe, stated that many other changes have been made to implement HEALS across all areas of campus life. “We added more juice options, switched to many low fat choices in the cafeteria, and made more activities available in recreation such as dance video games and dedicated ‘ladies hours’ in the weight room and gym” said Crowe. Tracking booklets have also been made available for those wanting to learn to food diary and keep track of activities- and have been a huge success.
The local North Carolina Cooperative Extension program through NC State University was also on hand to teach students how to make their own sodas. In this activity, fruit juices were turned into great tasting ‘fizzy’ drinks- giving the look and feel of soda but without the high sugar content.
The Oconaluftee Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center is associated with the National Forests of North Carolina. It is accredited by the Council On Occupational Education and currently serves 68 students. The mission of the USDA Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The Agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to State and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. For more information about the Oconaluftee JCCCC, visit oconaluftee.jobcorps.gov
– Oconaluftee JCCCC