Health Education And Leadership Training for a Hopeful Future (HEALTH) Initiative

Basic information

Health Education And Leadership Training for a Hopeful future (HEALTH) is a five-day camp (Monday to Friday) for girls ages 9-15. There are two camps for these girls–week 1 camp for 9-11 years old; week 2 camp for 12-15 years old from low socioeconomic and diverse racial backgrounds in Grand Rapids.

Girls from the four partner neighborhoods of Calvin’s nursing program are specifically recruited for participation in HEALTH.  The camp is a health promotion program designed to introduce basic health concepts related to nutrition, exercise, reproductive health, mental health, genetics and cancer education to young people. HEALTH’s main goal is to equip young people with knowledge and leadership skills that will help them desire and model how to live a healthy life with hope for a good future.  A secondary goal is to introduce the roles and activities of health professionals including nurses, physicians and other allied health disciplines as possible career paths. An important feature of the camp is that it takes place on a college campus so the students and their families experience college first hand and see that they are welcome. Further, camp counselors are Calvin College students and campers get to know these students and learn about college from them.  

HEALTH Camp was designed as part of the efforts to respond to requests from mothers in the Grand Rapids Community to teach their daughters about reproductive health. This request was presented by groups of women in an earlier Women’s Health Promotion Project in the nursing department. However, the camp is designed to provide this health education from a holistic perspective that integrates other aspects of health, and in an exciting way. Each day of the camp is six hours of classroom and interactive/hands-on activities. There is a general (welcome) session at the start of the day, when an expert from the different health professions namely nursing, medicine, speech and audiology, sciences (e.g. biology), and public health/social work presents about their profession to the campers. There are three to five concurrent classroom and hands-on sessions every day taught or facilitated by health professionals (e.g. nurses, biologists, psychologists, medical doctors, speech and audiologists, psychologists). Participants have opportunities to tour facilities relevant to the focus of the HEALTH Camp such as the Spoelhof Sports Complex, Nursing simulation lab, Biology lab, Speech and Audiology Unit, etc.

Health Camp Initiative Project Team

Health Camp Initiative Director: Adejoke B Ayoola – Associate Professor of Nursing, Reproductive Health Application Sessions Coordinator

Health Camp Initiative Deputy Director: Barbara Timmermans, Associate Professor of Nursing, Reproductive Anatomy Sessions Coordinator

Current and Past Health Camp Content Expert/Instructors

  • Amy Wilstermann, Associate Professor of Biology, Chronic Disease, Cells and Cancer Education Sessions Coordinator
  • Arlene Hoogewerf, Academic Dean and Professor of Biology, Nutrition Sessions Coordinator
  • Beth Kalkman, Assistant Professor of Nursing, Taking care of me and of you Sessions Coordinator
  • Carol Rossman, Professor of Nursing, Cardiovascular Sessions Coordinator
  • Cassandra VanderWell, Teaching Staff Kinesiology Department, Dance Sessions Coordinator
  • Dawn Frambes, Assistant Professor of Nursing, Healthy Behavior Sessions Coordinator
  • Florence Funk, Health Services Staff, Health Services Day Coordinator
  • Gail Heffner, Director of Community Engagement, Healthy Community Sessions Coordinator
  • Gail Zandee, Associate Professor of Nursing and Community Partnership Coordinator
  • Heather Koole, Assistant Professor and Co-chair of Speech and Audiology, Career Talks Coordinator
  • Irene Kraegel, Director of the Center for Counseling and Wellness, Emotional Self Care Sessions Coordinator
  • Jaclynn Lubbers, Assistant Professor of Nursing, Physical Assessment Sessions Coordinator
  • Katie Kunnen, Assistant Professor of Nursing, Career Fairs Coordinator
  • Kristen Alford, Associate Professor of Social Work and Public Health, Chronic Disease and Genetics Sessions Coordinator
  • Laura Champion, Medical Director, Director of Health Services, Health Services Day Coordinator
  • Laura DeHaan, Academic Dean and Prof. of Psychology, Mental Health Sessions Coordinator
  • Laura Martzke- Affiliate Professor of Nursing, Cardiovascular system Sessions Coordinator
  • Shayne McNichols- Counselor, Center for Counseling and Wellness, Team Building Sessions Coordinator
  • Teri Crumb- Pre-Health Professions Advising Coordinator, Career Fairs Coordinator

Current and Past Research Assistants and Camp Counselors   

  • Alexandra K. Lyons, nursing student
  • Annika Zandee, nursing student
  • Claire A. Gerrits, nursing student
  • Clarissa L. VanderHoning, nursing student
  • Elise Veurink, nursing student
  • Emily Heitsch, nursing student
  • Erica Heetderks, nursing student
  • Hannah M. Whyte, nursing student
  • Jennifer J. Lee, nursing student
  • Josie R. Granner, nursing student
  • Laurel C. Machiele, nursing student
  • Mackenna B. Nesky, nursing student
  • Mariana Perez, nursing student
  • Nina Thampy, nursing student
  • Rebekah Sytsma, nursing student
  • Shelby Waterson, nursing student
  • Soeyeon Shin, biology student,
  • Tega Ebeye, nursing student
  • Wendi L. Hallberg, nursing student



Adejoke Bolanle Ayoola

Adejoke Ayoola

Dean, Health
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