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Trio Of AmeriCorps Members Make Zerbe Tasty and Healthy

A child posing with his lion mask during Zerbe Zoo week.

A child posing with his lion mask during Zerbe Zoo week.

WILLIAMSTOWN, NY – Alaina Perkins works with two other AmeriCorps members, Amanda McFarland and Ashley Wood, at Camp Zerbe in Williamstown.

Togetherness Flag of Camp Zerbe
Togetherness Flag of Camp Zerbe

“There are around 25 children from the APW school district that attended camp Zerbe this summer,” Perkins said. “Our program is designed to teach youth the value of a healthy lifestyle, including eating clean and exercising daily. We incorporate MyPlate nutrition into fun games like jeopardy, and work to make eating healthy a tasty adventure.”

Along with snacks like Butterfly Trail Mix, they also introduced tropical fruit smoothies (a favorite) and a fruit bar, where the kids could select fruits to try from several trays, including kiwi, banana, green and red apples, oranges, and grapes.

Butterfly Trail Mix, created with whole grain chex cereal, goldfish, and granola. Kids decorated clothespins.
Butterfly Trail Mix, created with whole grain cereal, goldfish, and granola. Kids decorated clothespins.

“To get the kids moving, we focused on tag games like ‘Sharks and Minnows,’ where minnows run from one end of the field to the other and must avoid being tagged by the middle three sharks, or else they become seaweed and must tag minnows from the spot they were tagged,” she said. “This became a camp favorite. We also hosted several water days, in which children participated in water balloon tosses and wars (counselors were prime targets, which made for good running practice even for us!).”

Camp ran from June 29 to August 14 this summer.

Each week was themed, including USA week, Tropical week, Zerbe Zoo week, Carnival week and more.

“For Carnival week, we hosted a Hula Hoop competition, a knock the bottle down game and pool noodle jousting,” Perkins said. “Outside of camp, we are currently wrapping up three murals for Camp Zerbe. Incorporated into three separate nature scenes are children’s handprints, which the kids enjoyed very much.”

A child posing with his lion mask during Zerbe Zoo week.
A child posing with his lion mask during Zerbe Zoo week.

AmeriCorps is a government national service program that aims to serve both local and national communities in critical need.

The Oswego AmeriCorps puts its focus on providing nutritional and fitness information for children and families.

Members not only do a great service for their community, but find that their leadership ability and career skills are strengthened through their work.

They also receive a modest living allowance and earn an education award to help pay for college, grad school, or to put toward paying off loans.

Camp Zerbe is just one of the many sites AmeriCorps has reached out to.

If interested in joining AmeriCorps or have any further questions, please contact Kathy Andolina (315) 349-3451 or at the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau, 70 Bunner St., Oswego, NY 13126.

For information about the summer program at Camp Zerbe, contact Brandon Morey at Camp Hollis, (315) 349-3241.

Feel free to visit Oswego County AmeriCorps on Facebook for other AmeriCorps news and information.