Rockin’ Docs was one of this year’s CFMS SIG Recipients.
The Rockin’ Docs summer camp is a week-long summer day camp for youth ages 7-13 held at the University of Alberta. In its 5th year, the camp’s main goal was to provide a high impact, engaging health and medicine themed summer camp for 40 youth from low socio-economic backgrounds who would otherwise not have access to this kind of programming. This program provided youth with a positive educational experience at the University of Alberta and exposure to the many health sciences careers available to them. All of the camp instructors were first and second year medical students who acted as role models for the students and taught the health curriculum. The health curriculum was delivered in a hands-on, engaging manner and projects included a helmet design challenge, making a wearable model of the brain, exploring the dangers of smoking and even extracting DNA from a strawberry!
Rockin’ Docs benefited children throughout Edmonton by helping them develop resiliency, teamwork skills and problem solving skills. By recruiting youth from lower socio-economic backgrounds and challenging them in new and creative ways, we helped build resiliency in these youth. Additionally, by involving the camper’s families every day and concluding with a family celebration on the last day, we helped share that passion and excitement for medicine with the community and hopefully contributed to a stronger and healthier Edmonton. Finally, in order to ensure that there were no barriers to youth from attending Rockin’ Docs, all participants attended the camp free of charge, received transportation to and from the camp as well as a healthy lunch every day.
In addition to the benefits that the campers received, the Rockin’ Docs summer camp also enhanced the educational experience of the medical students at the University of Alberta. 16 first and second year medical students had the opportunity to develop and deliver health themed curriculum and games to groups of children. The medical students developed teaching and public speaking skills, essential skills for our future profession. Additionally, the volunteer instructors had the opportunity to learn from and form relationships with youth and families in the camp. We believe that this experience helped them understand the importance of health advocacy within our own community and develop a greater understanding of the social determinants of health.