Facts and Questions about Weight Loss Camp

Camp Pocono Trails: the leading wellness camp offering a specialized focus on fitness, weight management, managing online activity, good eating habits, self-esteem and more.

What is the food program like at weight loss camp?  

At Camp Pocono Trails we give campers three real meals per day. Meals are specially designed by chefs and nutritionists to so that they are specifically geared for adolescents, teens, and young adults. The food is very normal but it is portion controlled and cooked in a healthy way. The combination of healthy meals and activity ensures a net-negative calorie intake and steady, maintainable weight loss.

It is very rare that we ever hear of a camper being hungry at camp. We offer three meals a day along with two snacks. Campers are also required to carry a water bottle with them and keep hydrated.

We eat a lot of traditional foods at camp, they are just prepared in a way that is healthier. For example, nothing is fried at camp. Instead, we grill, steam, or bake.

We also don’t serve soda at camp. Finally, we teach campers how to prepare their own meals so that they can implement the changes they learn at camp back home.

If your child has any anxieties about the food served at camp you have to assure them that our portions are more than adequate, our food tastes great, and they will learn recipes they will want to show you when they return home. We make sure no one goes hungry and our portions are sufficient. If your child does not like the main dish, there is always a substitution available.

The number one goal of Camp Pocono Trails is to have fun. We combine that with nutrition, fitness, and healthy living skills. Raising self-esteem is also built into our process. Camp Pocono Trails helps kids lose weight and keep it off through a combination of fitness, nutrition, and education.

How much do I exercise at weight loss camp?

Weight loss camps for kids and teens are not designed to be boot camps; campers will be working out, but not overworked. Physical activity is an important part of the weight loss process. Campers need to burn more calories than they take in for weight loss to be effective. For campers to keep the weight off, they need to find activities they will want to continue upon their transition back home.

Camp Pocono Trails seeks to make exercise fun through activities and sporting events. Campers may not even know they are exercising when attending Camp Pocono Trails. This is really the key for long term weight loss. Campers must find an enjoyable activity they embrace and will continue in the long term. In this respect, they must find a workout activity they don’t really consider a “workout.”

Often, this is a sport or game they can play with a group. Having the group influence helps keep campers motivated and participating in the sport or game of their choice. It can be difficult finding a sport or game that is offered back home. This is why we try a wide variety of activities at camp. Sometimes, a solitary activity like jogging, yoga Zumba classes or weight training is the best match for campers that are limited by geography or other environmental factors.

Your child can be at ease about any exercise concerns at camp. We encourage each other to bring out our best and work hard, but we would never force a camper into doing something in which they are uncomfortable. Surprisingly, almost all campers participate in the Camp Pocono Trails 5K race at the end of camp.

We also have theatre, camp trips, camp theme days, dance, and out of camp activities that are intertwined with physical activity. We have a ton of fun at camp and make sure we maintain each camper’s interest with a variety of fun activities.

What if my child does not lose weight?

Our experience is that every camper loses at least some weight, and most campers lose a substantial amount of weight, the average weight loss is 4-5 pounds per week. With everything else, you get what you put into the program. Because our atmosphere is 100% positive, we encourage campers to embrace the lifestyle changes and return home with recipes they have learned in a culinary skills class so that they can continue their health and wellness journey. We have a completely private facility- and we get campers every year that come back even though they don’t need to lose weight. They come back just to have fun and be on a maintenance program. Many kids that attend don’t need to lose weight at all.

We also find a variety of fun activities the child will want to do when they return home. We have over 101 activities that adolescents, teens, and young adults enjoy from tubing to golf, swimming, tennis, zip lines, Zumba and more.

We have so much fun with our daily activities most campers forget they are exercising and just focus on the game or activity we are participating in. Our mission is to find not only food but activities your child will love and will want to continue upon transitioning back home. In this way, the weight loss at camp is only part of the victory for your child. The ongoing weight loss at home is where the program really shines.

My child is addicted to video games. Will this program work?

Removing a child from their current environment is that fastest way to “reset” a child’s mental framework. For depression and compulsive behaviors such as repetitive gaming, there is no better first step than removing a child from their current surroundings and immersing them in an environment governed by health and wellness.

Your child will be surrounded by 350 acres of beauty in the Pocono Mountains. Adventure activities, wakeboarding, jet skis, theatre, dance, swimming, fishing, golf and so much more await your child.

Once your child has stepped back from their current routine, they will be placed in a focus group that encourages the development of insight into how gaming has affected our lives. Having those “ah-ha” moments are rewarded and encouraged in a group.

Best of all, every camper in the tech track learns how to keep a Behavior Planning Journal where we write down our long and short-term goals. We then plan our day to fit around our goals and what we want in life. Campers then learn how to self-regulate their screen time as simply quitting all screen activity is impractical in today’s modern society.

How can my child get to weight loss camp? 

Camp Pocono Trails is located in Reeders, PA. The closest airport is the Allentown, PA airport. We can pick your child up from the Allentown, PA airport or the Newark, NJ airport. Please give us a call before booking your flight.

Many families chose to drive to camp. The address of the camp is as follows:

300 Camp Akiba Road

Reeders, PA 18352

Phone: 570-619-7761

My child won't have any friends there. Are their cliques of former campers that will bully my child?

70% of kids that attend are brand new. We are a structured program and everyone your child lives with will participate in the same activities as your child. Some campers do arrive with friends or have friends they have made in year’s past. However, the majority of campers come alone and most come from states or even countries located far away.

At Camp Pocono Trails our staff to camper ratio is 1:4 and we go above and beyond creating an atmosphere that is warm, open, and conducive to making friends quickly. We play “get to know each other” games and camp counselors are trained to ensure everyone is participating and enjoying camp.

How long should my child attend weight loss camp?

With most things in life, the more someone practices a new habit, the more it becomes reinforced. For some campers, they really embrace the lifestyle changes we encourage at camp and within a few weeks, they are ready to go home and live a healthier new lifestyle.

The average weight loss campers experience is 4-5 pounds per week. Even if your child is only able to stay a short amount of time, we also send every camper home with the tools they need to be successful. We also offer an excellent follow up program.

What if my child does not want to attend a weight loss camp?

The great news is that campers make friends very easily at camp. We have a great camp video that will help get your child on board. Once they watch the tour video it usually changes a camper’s mind. We also offer open houses at the camp where you can meet other new campers and our staff. You can also talk over the phone with prior campers that and families that have previously attended.

We have a sign at camp that reads, “There are no strangers here, just friends you haven’t met yet.” This is really the motto of camp. We encourage an atmosphere of 100% positivity.

My child only interacts through screens. Wouldn't limiting screen activity do more harm than good?

It is true that today, social media and socialization through video games to a lesser extent is, in fact, an important part of identity development for most kids growing up in the US. However, this is not a black or white issue.

Take salt for example. Everyone needs salt to survive- we would, in fact, die without it. But should we then take salt in unlimited proportions? Should we put extra salt on every meal? Of course not. The old adage is true, there can be “too much of a good thing.”

A good question parents can ask themselves about their child’s online activities is: does my child’s screen activity interfere with their ability to make and keep friends, get good grades or interfere with any other aspect of life such as keeping their room clean or doing their required chores? Is it a constant source of arguments in the home?

Parents can also ask themselves, “If my child left for college today, would they study their hardest and make A’s or would I be worried they are online all day goofing off?”  If the questions lean towards worry about goofing off online, or if online activities are interfering with your child’s ability to meet their most basic expectations in life, it may be time for an intervention.

Take the following survey to determine your next steps with screen time overuse:

What effect will weight loss camp have on my child's self-esteem, and will my child hate me for sending them to a weight loss camp?

Parents often express concern about sending their child to weight loss camp in that one of two things will happen: 1) my child will hate me for sending them and 2) my child’s self-esteem with somehow be negatively affected.

First and foremost, our attitude at camp is positive, positive, positive. Everyone is here is working on their fitness, health, habits, and general well-being. In that way, there is no stigma from being here at camp. There are no bullies (we have a zero-tolerance policy for bullying) and everyone is rewarded for inclusion and encouraging others to participate.

Take a moment to compare the outcomes of sending your child to camp versus not sending them.  Here is a decision balance sheet to assist with your decision process:

Send my child to camp:

  • It will be a tough decision and my child may be temporarily upset at me (but they will get over it). I do know that sending my child away will be an exciting adventure that is also a growth opportunity.
  • If the camp does what they promise, my child’s health and wellness issues will be significantly decreased. This will be a huge source of tension relieved by our family.
  • My child will look back at this moment and say, “My parents made the tough choices to set me on the right path. I remember how resistant I was. That must have been very hard for them. I have the best parents.”
  • My child will get a corrective experience being in such a structured environment. It will actually be the first time they’ve ever felt in control of their weight.
  • My child will be exposed to so many activities they are bound to find something they will want to do when they come back home.

Don’t send my child to camp:

  • My child won’t be mad at me this summer, but it also means another wasted summer sitting around on the couch with screens all day.
  • I won’t have to worry about any stigma of sending my child to a wellness camp, I’ll just have to worry about bullying and stigma they receive at school instead.
  • While 100% of campers see some level of success, my child will probably gain weight this summer and will, therefore, make future weight loss more difficult as fat cells only contract, they never actually go away (short of liposuction).
  • It will be another missed opportunity to guide my child successfully into adulthood and provide a corrective opportunity to build their self-esteem.
  • While my child would improve in their athletic skills going to camp, not attending means they will go another year with an aversion to sports participation at school.