Tony Sparber's New Image Weight Loss Camps

Jennifer L. Betts
Contributor: Debbie Vasen
Kids walking on trail in forest

Educating kids on proper eating and nutrition guidelines while providing ample opportunities to build self-esteem is important for kid's health. New Image Camps run by Tony Sparber offer kids the opportunity to lose weight and have fun at the same time. Explore Tony's different philosophies for weight loss and how they helped New Image Camps to thrive.

About Tony Sparber

With over 30 years of experience and a bachelor's degree, Tony Sparber pushes kids to lose weight through healthy eating and physical activity at the New Image Camps. Having a history of being slightly overweight in his youth, Tony hopes to make a difference in children's lives by helping them to be more comfortable in their own skin. In addition to his education and experience, his camps hold accreditation through the American Camp Association.

About New Image Camps

Tony's New Image Camps include two separate locations: Camp Pocono Trails in PA and Camp Vanguard in FL. All the camps are designed for kids ages 7-25, to help them have fun while also losing weight. The program is designed to build their self-esteem and nutrition awareness, which are important skills to take home ensuring they continue to maintain their weight. The kids spend time in activities to build friendships, physical awareness, and healthy eating habits.

Camp Pocono Trails

Camp Pocono Trails is located on 350-acres with a mountain view and lake access. Kids will have a fun time doing lake, pool, and outdoor activities. In addition to an obstacle course and zip line, kids can enjoy fields for football, lacrosse and baseball/softball. To improve their health, kids can take part in different cooking and nutrition classes along with dramatic arts and crafts.

Camp Vanguard

Located on 114 acres and surrounded by trees, Camp Vanguard is located 30 minutes from some of the best theme parks in Florida. In addition to lake access and a pool for fitness, this camp offers an aerobics room, free weights, and a game room. Much like Pocono Trails, kids can enjoy all the different outdoor activities and nutrition classes. Staff at Vanguard is one for every four students and there are 24-hour security and medical staff.

How the Camps Work

Counselors giving instructions to kids at camp

Tony has used several philosophies through his camps to promote healthy weight loss at camp and after leaving. While it is important for kids to learn healthy habits and portion control, it's also important for parents and guardians to learn these skills as well to maintain the weight loss once kids leave. Learn some of the different philosophies that Tony employees to ensure healthy and happy kids.

Teaching Portion Control to Kids

The New Image Camps work to teach kids the importance of portion control. Tony has found that "the number one problem is portion control. Kids not knowing the correct amounts of foods they should be eating." Therefore, the camps "go on the theory that you can eat almost anything you want as long as it's portion controlled." Tony also points out that "when this comes to kids, it is mostly a lack of parental knowledge in knowing the right portion size. America is generally a country where the size of portions in our restaurants are twice the size they should be - a nation super-sized." Once you teach kids how to control their portions correctly, it can be easy for them to start their weight loss journey.

Healthy Eating Not Deprivation

While some dieting strategies take foods away, Tony doesn't "believe in deprivation." He believes "in portion control. At the camp, you can eat almost anything. We serve chocolate cake, frozen yogurt, spaghetti and meatballs, pancakes; but the difference is it's portion controlled and made with lower fat ingredients." Tony states, "I do think kids need to have some sweets, but all in moderation."

Teaching the Right Things to Eat

In addition to portion control, kids will learn the right things to eat through nutrition classes. The camp shows them how to pack lunches and the right foods. According to Tony, "one of the nice things about today's technology, is there are a lot more foods to pack in lunches, like low-fat chips versus the standard greasy ones. Portion control is even more important than what you give them. How big is the sandwich, how many bags of chips are you sending and the amount of cookies?" At New Image Weight Loss Camps, kids will learn the essentials for eating the right things in addition to how much to eat.

Getting Parents Involved

New Image Camps go beyond just kids. "Even after the kids leave the camp, the camp offers information to parents on how kids can keep the weight off." For example, "the website offers Internet counseling to help parents." But Tony points out that what is most "important is the implantation of doing what is right. Being firm and not putting high-fat products in their lunches."

Healthy Snack Choices

People cutting up vegetables

Additionally, New Image Weight Loss offers parents information on the right snacks to eat. For example, after school "is a great time for cut celery or carrots, and kids will come to enjoy them. Also, keep your kids busy and active. After school can be a dangerous time - kids will tend to sit in front of the TV, game box or computer. Instead, make sure that your kids are doing something. One of the main reasons for the large obesity problem is a lack of exercise. Parents really need to make an effort. Find programs, classes and things to keep them busy and give them a purpose."

Maintaining Nutrition

Once kids leave camp, Tony states that "parents need to be firm and strong. Times are changing and I think that parents need to look at the studies that say how obesity is affecting our country. Kids today are exposed to television, but why can't we also tell them about a study that shows how obesity cuts your life span by ten or twelve years? You need to educate your kids about why it is not good to be overweight and why it is important for them to eat healthy now."

Making Good Parenting Choices

Tony also emphasizes that the parent's choices are important to maintain the health of the children. He states that "in a brown bag situation, it is more about what the parents are bringing in. In grammar school through middle school, parents have a tremendous impact on what the kids are doing. Whether the parents make their kid's lunch or allow them to buy it, the parents are making the choices. Some parents also give their kids money to use the snack machine or soda machine. Parents that are giving their kids this access to money are making a big mistake."

Healthy Eating a Family Affair

Healthy eating isn't just for the individual. Tony points out that "especially as a family, they need to eat healthier. A big component is when you have two parents who are not eating healthy; it is going to be difficult to sell it to your child. Yet, if you set a good example, you are eating properly, you set a good table at home, and then you have the opportunity to teach your kids. The parents are the ones in control. This is particularly important when kids are young, and you still do have some control. Don't sit back and think they are just going to grow out of it."

The Importance of Health

Losing weight is important to maintaining health in kids. Teaching kids healthy eating habits, portion control and keeping active is the core of Tony Sparber's New Image Weight Loss Camps. Using these techniques along with parent education and fun activities, kids have lost hundreds of pounds between the two camps.

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Tony Sparber's New Image Weight Loss Camps