Emery County, Utah, Youth Focus on Healthier Living

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Emery County representatives on the County Youth Council attended the Utah State University Extension 4-H Teens Reaching Youth (TRY) training in March and decided to focus on health activities for younger youth in their community to practice what they had learned. Dani Jo, Dazi Mae and Deri Lee Thatcher, Sydney Carter, and Jakoda Funk conducted three wellness sessions for children in the Emery community, a planner site within the Well Connected Communities Initiative.

Each day camp included three activity topics, such as:

  • Teeth and tooth brushing with each child receiving a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss kit donated by a local dentist.
  • Physical activity with the children making activity dice to determine what they did and how many times they did it.
  • Basic first aid
  • Healthy eating with menu planning, drinking more water and foods they like to eat
  • Mental health with children making calming jars, garden of greatness flowers and “Don’t worry” journals

The curriculum used by the teens for some of the activities was “Learn, Grow, Eat. Go!” from Texas A & M University. The sessions were attended by 15 children.

The teens are also working on a day camp with 35 children registered.  The theme for the camp is “Don’t Bug Me; Bee Healthy”. Guiding the teens is adult volunteer coach Cassie Thatcher.

One 6 year-old was so proud to announce that she had brushed her teeth on her own with her new toothbrush. Another boy who had never played soccer had such a great time with it that he wants to play soccer all the time.  And one of the teens declared: “I thought this was going to be boring, BUT this was SUPER fun!!”

These events are part of the intervention for the opioid issue that the community is focused upon, with activities planned to enhance the mental health of the children of this community.