Camp Delicious
Camp Delicious!

Camp Delicious? Sign us up.

While it’s meant for kids, parents will love the lessons at the latest innovative camp from local nonprofit Luminari.

Leslie Bonci, nutritionist and director of sports nutrition at the UPMC Center for Sports Medicine, says she finds some athletes can be “culinarily challenged and domestically disabled,” and realizes that kids are growing up in the same manner. “They don’t want to hear about nutrition – they want to hear about food,” she says.

That’s one of the reasons Bonci is helping to start Camp Delicious!, the latest from Luminari, which runs local writing and global-awareness programs for children.

Scheduled for July 7-11 at Rodef Shalom in Oakland, Camp Delicious! will include field trips to a local farm and the edible gardens at Phipps Conservatory. Kids will learn how to pick worthwhile food and how good food is grown. They’ll head outdoors with grills and blenders, learning different cooking approaches and tools. And in the end, they’ll  cook for their families.

Bonci is bringing in Lisa Silberg, a local personal chef and parent, to help with the camp. Right now, Bonci notes, kids are too busy during meals, if they have home-cooked meals with their families at all. Silberg, she says, “shares my philosophy, shares my interest and shares my passion to get these kids back to the table … savoring and actually knowing what they are eating.”

Children who learn to cook, she adds, enjoy their meals more and are a step closer to avoiding weight problems.

She likens the camp to a school’s summer reading assignment. “This to me is their summer eating assignment,” Bonci concludes. “I want them getting a 4.0.” Learning to cook and eat well “nourishes the brain and stimulates the rest of the body. We can apply this for the rest of our lives.”

Marty Levine's journalism has appeared in Time, and throughout Pennsylvania and has won awards from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Pennsylvania Newspaper Association, The Press Club of Western Pennsylvania and elsewhere. He teaches magazine writing for Creative Nonfiction magazine.