Health, Exercise, Technology & Aquaponics Day Camps

Teaching & Engagement, 2017


“Teaching Health, Exercise, Technology, & Aquaponics (THETA) Day Camps to Grow Future Health Professionals” is a collaborative project developed by a team of seven faculty members at the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK). The goals of the THETA Day Camps project are to inspire and motivate middle school students to pursue careers in health science. Students will participate in a series of half-day science education camps during which they will learn about various careers that are associated with health science topics through physical activity, nutrition and food growing programs. UNK undergraduate students with career goals in health science will lead the camps, and it is hoped that by leading these camps the UNK students will be better prepared for graduate education in the health sciences.



The pilot program for the THETA camps took place in McCook, NE from June 5-July 14, 2017. Two UNK students served as camp leaders and RFI Serviceship interns, and led between six and eight children as camp participants. The camps were held in the 4-H building at the Red Willow County fairgrounds, and were aided by the McCook Economic Development Corporation, the McCook Community Hospital, and Mid Plains Community College. This pilot program effectively identified the strengths and weaknesses of the program.


Between January and May of 2018, the research team (Drs. Brown, Adkins, Bice, Hollman, N. Bickford, & S. Bickford) recruited another camp leader, and met with the three students for training and discussion regarding the necessary supplies, educational curricula, and other matters concerning the THETA camps. The summer 2018 THETA camps began on May 28 and were hosted at the McCook YMCA facility. Camp attendance grew to 14 children from McCook and surrounding communities.

Project Team



SHAPE America Central District Conference

Farm to Fresh! A Multidisciplinary Approach to Teaching Health and Physical Activity

January 25-27, 2018 | Sioux Falls, South Dakota


Media coverage

Summer interns no strangers to small towns – McCook Gazette, June 13, 2017

Rural Futures Institute, UNK interns arrive for summer – McCook Gazette, June 6, 2017

Greg Brown, Todd Bartee receive RFI grants for rural health, wellness projects – UNK press release, July 7, 2017


Contact: Gregory Brown,