Wellspring Offers Individual Customization

Weight loss is not a “one-size” fits all process. Each person comes with their unique set of challenges, barriers and habits that have gotten in the way of their success in the past. Wellspring recognizes this and adjusts our staff to camper ratio to be able to give the individualized attention that each participant needs. Each camper is assigned a behavioral coach. In collaboration with that coach, each participant will have the opportunity to create a plan for home based on their unique set of circumstances. Campers will also get to meet with that coach 1 on 1 at least once a week to discuss their personal goals and challenges.

Wellspring also employs nutritionists, dietitians, personal trainers, culinary specialists and program coaches—all with the knowledge, expertise and time to help each participant determine what path is realistic for her. Mindfulness and meditation not her thing? We will help your child determine the tools that best align with her personality and family system so she has what she needs to be successful long-term.

Each camper will walk away with a tool called the “My Journey Binder.” In this binder you will find nutrition education, exercise plans specific to the participant, the camper’s plan for home, worksheets and motivational excerpts that have meant something to her at camp. This tool allows the child to refer back to their program at any time and remind them of the steps needed to be successful at home.

Learn more about healthy and safe approaches for weight loss for kids.

Finding Motivation

When parents contact us about their child’s weight issue, they are often concerned that their child is “lazy” or unmotivated. At Wellspring we understand that being overweight has a negative impact on a child’s self-image and confidence, often resulting in behaviors that seem to indicate a lack of motivation or desire to achieve. These can be behaviors such as watching excessive amounts of television, not wanting to participate in activities with friends, and not putting forth adequate effort in school.

For many overweight kids, these types of behaviors have become habitual, and in some cases serve as a defense mechanism from fear of failure. After all, if a child believes that he or she will not succeed at a given activity, it is easier and less risky to simply not try at all, rather than put forth effort and risk the sense of failure that is familiar to so many overweight children.

This lack of motivation is one of the many issues we work on systematically in the lifestyle change component of the Wellspring Plan. To provide support for lifestyle change across all areas of camp, Wellspring utilizes a camp-wide structure called the “level system” for helping campers rediscover the joy of accomplishment and the rewards of self-discipline.

Level System Explained

Many years of research on motivation have shown that we work harder to change when we set clear goals and experience immediate feedback. On the very first day of camp, your child will learn precisely what is expected in order to advance from level to level, each week of camp. Advancing from one level to the next not only results in camp-wide recognition at the camp’s weekly ceremony, it also results in additional privileges and rewards, such as special trips.

The goals at each level are achievable by all campers, regardless of their fitness level. They involve mastery of the components of the Wellspring Plan, including consistent self-monitoring (writing down food intake, activities, and thoughts and feelings) and meeting daily step goals (10,000 per day, and higher as the camper rises up the level system). Each level also requires campers to demonstrate support and respect for other campers.

As campers rise from level to level, they not only benefit in terms of rewards and privileges, but most powerfully, they benefit from the tremendous support they receive from each other and from Wellspring staff.

The level system is a fundamental part of the camp experience at Wellspring, both in terms of helping campers learn to set and meet goals, and in establishing a positive social environment.

Here’s how the director at one of our camps introduces the level system at her camp:

“The journey you’re undertaking at Wellspring this summer is much like climbing a mountain; it takes strength, determination and perseverance and once you reach your goal, the rewards are spectacular! Acknowledging these similarities, we use the ‘Summit System’ to recognize milestones you’ll reach along your path to health and permanent lifestyle change. The Summit System is designed to provide support and motivation throughout your journey. As you progress through the levels, you’ll experience the successes and struggles of balancing responsibilities, expectations and personal time. You’ll challenge yourself to make good decisions, set goals and incorporate healthy choices in all aspects of your life. While you’ll earn tangible rewards, praise, and community recognition here at Wellspring, the true prize is the internal discipline, health, well-being and emotional maturity you’ll retain for a lifetime.”