MESH Health Fair Series


Mental Health! A State of Well-Being

Mental health is not a "dirty phrase" and creating positive conversations will ensure its acceptance as a measure of one’s health. Learn more by watching one or more of the presentations in our MESH Series

Getting the MESH-age Out: Expanding the Camp Professional’s Toolbox for Mental, Emotional & Social Health Challenges.  Presented by Linda E. Erceg, RN, MS, PHN
Sensitively responding to campers and staff with MESH (mental, emotional & social health) needs can be challenging.  Balancing the desire to be as inclusive as possible with the reality of your camp’s capacity and the fact that most camp staff are not mental health professionals often creates a tough push-pull situation.  This is exactly the focus of ACA’s Healthy Camps Committee.  The content of this presentation is designed to build out your toolbox so you are more comfortable assessing and working with both MESH information and the people who have challenges in this area.  The session includes orientation to a new tool, “Assessing a Camper’s Behavior of Concern.”

Mindfulness. Presented by Katherine Soule, PhD & Robert Winthrow-Clarke, University of California Cooperative Extension
Join us for an interactive presentation on how to use mindfulness practices in your work with youth. Participants will increase their skills in leading youth through mindfulness practices, and also learn about the latest research in neuroscience and mindfulness. The presentation will include guided mindfulness activities in the form of mindful eating, breath awareness and body scans that you can utilize at your next camp event. 

Mental Health & Camp: Theory vs. Reality. Presented by Michael D. Amylon, MD, Camp Okizu 
While we can prep and discuss mental & emotional health issues and procedures at camp, the theory vs. the reality of those situations often vary widely! With that, hear from Dr. Mike as we explore real-life scenarios and how the team at Camp Okizu utilizes protocols and procedures to manage camper emotional and mental health.

Erceg, Soule, Winthrow-Clark, and Amylon


Member $95; Nonmember $190

Presenter Bio(s)

Linda E. Erceg, RN, MS, PHN: Linda has been connected to the Healthy Camps initiative since its inception.  Her years of full-time camp nursing experience, leadership in the Association of Camp Nurses, and varied service as an ACA volunteer add richness to the topic she’ll present. Linda’s practical approach means that her suggested camp strategies are grounded in the reality of a given camp’s capacity but also sprinkled with moments of humor.  Her personal motto, “Healthier Camping for All,” reflects her passion for improving the health outcomes for campers and the staff who serve them.  The session she presents here reflects the work of the Healthy Camps committee. 

Katherine E. Soule, PhD: Katherine is with the University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources  as the youth, families, & communities advisor in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties. In this capacity, Soule has oversight of two 4-H program, UC CalFresh Nutrition Education, the Master Food Preserver program, and other healthy community programs. She brings a passion for professional development, inclusion, and positive youth development.

Robert Withrow-Clark: Robert has been working in the education/youth development field for nearly 10 years in a variety of capacities. He developed youth cross-age, peer mentoring programs focused on social-emotional development during his time as a program manager at People Reaching Out, a Sacramento-based non-profit. As the School and Community Prevention Specialist at San Juan High School, Robert was responsible for the development, coordination and assessment of programs focused on addressing school climate and culture.  In his current role as a 4-H Youth Development Advisor with the University of California Cooperative Extension, Robert has piloted youth development programs that utilize mindfulness as a strategy to promote positive youth development.

Michael D. Amylon, MD: Dr. Amylon also has a long-standing interest in the psychosocial impact of pediatric cancer and its treatment on patients and their families. He has been extensively involved with Camp Okizu, a program of peer support, respite, mentoring, and recreation for children with cancer and their families, centered on a residential camping experience. He serves as Medical Director and Vice Chair of the Board for the Okizu Foundation. He has conducted research into the impact of camping and peer support programs on pediatric cancer patients and their well siblings, with Okizu and also the Children’s Oncology Camping Association –International (COCA-I). He previously served as a member of the American Cancer Society's Peer Review Committee on Psychosocial and Behavioral Research, and currently is a member of the Board of Directors of COCA-I and chairs their Research and Education Committee.