(WEAU) - According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention more than 18 percent of children are obese in the country. But Camp Wabi, put on by Mayo Clinic Health System and the YMCA is changing that.
13-year old Ty Pitt-Swanson has always struggled with his weight causing him to get picked on at school.
"It hurts…no just emotionally and physically but just all over it hurts," said Ty Pitt-Swanson, former camper.
But his mother Mechele came across an ad for Camp Wabi and decided it would be a good fit for him.
"While he was learning things and working on things we were changing things in our house to get rid of the foods that weren't so healthy," said Mechele Pitt, Ty’s mother.
"I remember before I went to camp I was eating out. I was every weekend everyday. I was eating out eating out eating out," said Ty.
Ty was one of the first 39 campers to try the program last year and at camp kids learned about nutrition for an hour a day while having fun.
"They canoe, kayak; they learn how to sail, they learn how to do archery, we go on hikes, and do camp games," said Carol Fahrenkrog, Camp Wabi Director.
"This is a marathon not a sprint, so our goal is not to rapidly lose weight, its really to make changes that were last their whole lifetime," said John Plewa, Camp Wabi Medical Director.
Those changes helped Ty lose 10 pounds while at camp and now a year later, he’s lost 35.
“It felt fantastic to have that weight off and know that I can run around, I can run just as fast as any of the other kids," said Ty.
“I think it just helps the kids and family understands what the dynamics are to make the kids more responsible for their part and I also think it helps the parents that they also have a role in the problem," said Plewa.
The camps costs 400 dollars for kids 10 through 14 and runs from August 5th to August 17th.
“Everything is extremely fresh, lots of fruits, lots of vegetables. We have fish, we have chicken, the food is really good,” said Fahrenkrog.
Ty's mother says before attending camp he didn't really enjoy going outside and playing but now activities such as basketball he loves to do.
"Adults struggle with their weight and to be able to do what he’s done and maintain it is just fantastic," said Pitt.
"It’s just great to have a family that cares," said Ty.