Bridging the Gaps Teams Up with Patterson Summer Camp

BTG Interns- Kate, Jaylen, and Anjali- pose with Oscar the Fish. He is used to demonstrate proper tooth brushing and flossing technique for the students.
BTG Interns- Kate, Jaylen, and Anjali- pose with Oscar the Fish. He is used to demonstrate proper tooth brushing and flossing technique for the students.

Bridging the Gaps in an internship program through a collective of Philadelphia health professional schools that have joined Southwest CDC’s Patterson Summer Camp for many years to bring Health and STEM activities to the youth.

This summer, we are Kate Trieschman from Penn Dental, Kimi Sharma from Penn Vet, Jaylen Davis from Penn Nursing, and Anjali Patel from Jefferson Public Health. The first week of camp, we jumped right in with heat and sun safety with all age groups. Campers came up with a hypothesis and tested out how sunscreen protects construction paper from the sun, much like it protects our skin from damaging UV rays. We also talked about staying safe in the summer heat by drinking plenty of water, staying in the shade, and telling an adult if you start to feel dizzy and overheated. Finally, the campers cooled down with a water balloon toss, which led to smiles and splashes all around.

In the second week of camp, we started with the younger campers by talking about germs and hand-washing. We started our “germ experiment” by shaking hands with everyone in the room, touching some door handles, and then holding a piece of bread for a minute. Then, everyone washed their hands including the palms, backs of the hands, and between all the fingers, and held a new piece of bread. We will see in the coming week which piece of bread will spoil faster. The youth have predicted the “dirty” pieces of bread will spoil the most. What do YOU predict?

The older campers played a dental health and nutrition themed game of jeopardy, complete with the theme song and scoreboard! The campers worked as teams to come up with answers, and really enjoyed the competition. The hardest question was Nutrition for 500 points: What nutrient is found in whole fruits but not found in fruit juice? See the end of
the article for the answer! All groups of campers had fun practicing brushing teeth on the dental puppets who joined us for the week, Oscar and Bernard, and they had a chance to try disclosing tablets, which turn your teeth temporarily pink where you have dental plaque and need to brush a little more.

Jaylen and student, Tamia, performing an experiment with sunscreen that we use to teach heat safety and playing outside!


In the upcoming weeks, we will be learning about heart healthy exercise, building robotic fans, and some animal safety to prepare for the campers trip to the zoo! The youth at Patterson Summer Camp are engaging, curious, and bring so much positive energy to the activities and experiments we’ve planned for this summer! This group of campers is such a joy to work with, and we can’t wait to see how they learn and engage with the activities we have planned for the rest of the summer. (Answer: Fiber! Though juice is a good source of some servings of fruit, whole fruits provide necessary fiber to keep our digestive systems healthy)

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