Summer camps: offerings include novel options like health and technology

The lazy days of summer – time for selling lemonade on the sidewalk, watching Canadians games at Nat Bailey Stadium, hanging around the pool, and.… learning about health technology?

Yes, that’s right – “eHealth” is on the agenda for 50 curious teens this summer, thanks to a new UBC summer camp that will showcase how information technology is transforming health care and will encourage participants to become part of that transformation.

The eHealth Young Innovators Summer Camp will take place mostly on UBC’s Vancouver campus in two week-long sessions, one in July and the other in August, organized by the eHealth Strategy Office of the Faculty of Medicine.

The camp was the brainchild of Kendall Ho, Director of the eHealth Strategy Office and an associate professor of emergency medicine. He noticed that young people have been conspicuously absent from public forums organized by his group over the past two years on subjects such as diabetes and heart disease.

“When you don’t need health services, and you’re not sick, you don’t think about it,” Dr. Ho says. “But we know kids like technology. And they have the ideas about the next generation of technology that might elude their elders – including me.”

Thanks to financial support from Telus, the summer camp became a reality, with three core goals: introducing young people to various health career tracks, eliciting ideas from them about new eHealth applications, and encouraging healthy practices – especially diet and exercise – by the participants.

“This really made sense for us,” says Preet Dhillon, marketing director for Telus’ consumer health division, which is piloting a couple of products in the eHealth realm, including online personal health records and an iPhone app that helps people with diabetes manage their condition. “We want to make sure that there is a pipeline of bright, motivated young teens who can make the most of the technological revolution in health care.”

Registration opened April 20, and filled up by early June, with some teens coming from as far away as Smithers and Pitt Meadows.

“I’m hoping to get a behind-the-scenes look at the health care field, something you can’t usually get as a 16- or 17-year-old,” says Bavenjit Cheema, who is entering her final year at Crofton House School in Vancouver, and is thinking of becoming a pediatrician.

Activities during the week include: career discussions with professionals working in the health field; touring a virtual hospital and escorting a patient to an MRI in the multi-user online platform “Second Life;” and field trips to the Telus Innovation Centre in downtown Vancouver and the Centre of Excellence for Simulation Education and Innovation (CESEI), a high-tech classroom for health professions students at Vancouver General Hospital.

Campers will also team up to create a health-related smartphone application. On the final afternoon of each camp, students will demonstrate their programs.

But, like any camp, there will also be time for outdoor play – but even then, technological components, including heart rate monitors and pedometers, will be integrated with the activity.

One of the camp instructors, Francisco Grajales, a UBC graduate student in eHealth and health services research, gained his appreciation for eHealth while learning to use simulation technology as an Army medic.

“I wish I could have had an opportunity like this in high school,” Grajales says. “And seeing how quickly the registration filled up makes me even more passionate about the future of eHealth.”

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UBC Reports | Vol. 57 | No. 7 | Jul. 7, 2011

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summer 2011

When summer hits UBC’s Vancouver and Okanagan campuses a much younger crowd takes over. Youth of all ages come to UBC to take part in summer camps of all kinds from sport camps to farm camp to physics camp:


UBC Camps offers youth aged 2 to 18 programs in sport, adventure, leadership, music, art, theatre and more. New this year: Nature Studio, a camp where participants will get creative outside and explore the wonderful world of natural arts.

Young Explorer Summer Camps is a weeklong environmental and recreational adventure camp for children aged 7-11 at Canada’s oldest continually operating university botanical garden.

FarmWonders summer camps offer an innovative, educational program that allows children to explore the wonders of science at the farm and discover the mysteries of the food they eat.

UBC Physics Outreach Summer Camps are for children in Grades 2-10 who enjoy building things and learning new cool science stuff! Come build planes, go SCUBA diving, learn the physics of sound, or build a Martian habitat.

GEERing Up! offers week-long engineering, science and technology themed camps for children in Grades 2 – 10. For one week this summer, GEERing Up! is offering Girls Only! camps.

TechTrek Summer Camps – Campers will take computers to a whole new level, learning how to create cell phone apps, design games, program robots and more.

Gymnastics Camp – Children aged 4-12 will enjoy a week filled with gymnastics activities and games, arts and crafts, water fun, and special events such as swimming.

CampOUT! is an empowering outdoor summer camp for queer, trans, two-spirit, questioning, and allied youth aged 14-21 from across British Columbia and the Yukon.

Emerging Scholars summer camp Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences and the UBC Longhouse are collaborating to run a five-week camp for 24 First Nations students aged 16 to 18, who will take English and math courses and work with members of the university, community.


U Camp offers themed week-long activity camps at UBC’s Okanagan campus. Camps include: Mini U, Kreative Kids, Multi-Sports, UBC Survivor and The Power of Being a Girl.
Heat Athletics’ sports camps at the Okanagan campus gives campers the opportunity to enhance their athletic skills in a fun and exciting way.

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