BALTIMORE - Students open with a prayer at Chef Connie's Culinary Camp at Calvin Rodwell Elementary School in West Baltimore. After morning prayer, it's down to business.
Students learn about preparing healthy meals and leaving out the salt. Chef Connie Johnson guides them to healthier eating.
"We want children to conduct a healthy lifestyle. Healthy lifestyle equates to better study time, higher test scores and good grades. I think it starts at home, but I try to emphasize it here at camp," said Chef Connie Johnson.
This Culinary Camp runs for seven weeks in the summer. Students enjoy fitness and healthy eating tips including picking fresh vegetables from a garden.
The goal is to set students on the right track at a young age.
"I enjoyed the cooking and the exercising because we did lots of fun exercises. We did lots of exercises that I already knew and I love to cook in the kitchen," said Sydney Pinkett, a student.
"The things I like mostly are the cooking and exercising because exercising is mostly what I love to do and when I am cooking, it's like I am in another world," said Emanuel Malik, a student.
During the school year at Calvin Rodwell Elementary School, Chef Connie works with a program called "Vegetable Time" and a student catering service. First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" Campaign encouraged her to help kids to reduce the childhood obesity rate.
The death of her teen daughter also motivated this mother to help other children.
"I can honestly say I am seeing a result with children's eating habits and changing lifestyles. What is most important is that the children know how to season the food with no salt," said Chef Connie.
Students receive breakfast, lunch and dinner in the summer program. 37 students enrolled in the camp this summer.. Students also prepared a cookbook with all the recipes they learned over the summer.