Fourteen years of sHaPe camp comes to successful end

July 18, 2023 (Volume 46, Number 19)
Article by Peg West

For 14 years, the sHaPe (Summer Health Activities and Professions Exploration) camp has offered middle school students the opportunity to envision themselves in a health professions career.

With this year's camp being the last, co-directors Ranelle Brew, professor of public health, and Kathy Agee, program coordinator for the Regional Math and Science Center, reflected on the success of the camp experience and how it helped propel young people to their futures.

The camp served as an inspiration for students to aim toward college, Agee said. "My favorite moments have been when students’ faces light up in learning new medical technology or finding a future health profession that is a great fit for them," she said.

Many attendees eventually enrolled at GVSU and majored in the health professions, and a couple even returned to serve as sHaPe counselors while at GVSU, Agee said. The cadre of camp counselors, who were students majoring in the health professions, also obtained valuable leadership skills and hands-on learning experiences as they planned and led sessions.

Brew said a point of pride for her and Agee is that the camp was among the first in the country to offer a pipeline program toward workforce development.

"To witness hundreds of students who have learned and later become future health care professionals is a profound accomplishment," Brew said. "Their success stories have driven us to grow (into additional cities) and enhance camp tremendously over the years. I consider this work a highlight of my professional work at GVSU."

Agee said support this year from Meijer, a key supporter throughout the years of the camp, allowed the students to attend for free. The camp has also benefited from financial support from other organizations, including GVSU, she added.

Both Agee and Brew said they are also grateful for the hundreds of GVSU faculty, staff, and students from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, College of Health Professions, and the Kirkhof College of Nursing who have served as sHaPe staff over these years.


Across Campus

This article was last edited on July 18, 2023 at 8:47 a.m.

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