Shapin’ Up

Michelle Romain discusses her Bible-based fitness camp for kids

by Sarah Ranson

Michelle Romain has over 20 years experience in children’s ministry as a pastor, speaker and writer. She created Shapin’ Up Fitness Camp to help kids have a passion to serve God with all of their heart, mind and body. Michelle lives in Lexington, Ky. with her husband, Denny, and has three children.

Sarah Ranson: You have created a Bible-based fitness camp for children. What do you want children to understand about their bodies?

Michelle Romain: Shapin’ Up is centered on 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” The camp is designed to teach children that they are created by God for a specific purpose. He gives each of us unique abilities and gifts that we can share with others. Therefore, we need to take care of our bodies so that we can accomplish God’s purpose for our lives as He reveals it to us. We need to take care of our hearts, minds and bodies!

Your program is often used as a Vacation Bible School curriculum. What takes place during that week?

There are three main components to the curriculum: fitness, the Bible, and health. Each one has a separate approach. First is the fitness segment that uses a video-based exercise program. Next, we use Bible lessons to teach children to model the character of God in their lives. These lessons also emphasize the health segment of the day. To teach heath, we use experiential lessons that demonstrate proper ways to take care of our bodies including fitness, nutrition and substance use. There are several other activities in the curriculum that can be chosen such as game time, snack time, field trips and special areas. The Iron Chef Challenge is a favorite!

Can you give me an example of one of the Bible lessons that is used?

We look at Daniel, a teenager who was taken away from his family and forced to eat and behave in a way that was contrary to his morals taught to him by his family. But Daniel practiced self-control and stayed true to what he knew was right. Because of that, Daniel was able to accomplish God’s purpose for his life and many people came to know God through his example.

What guided your interest in this subject and to develop your Fitness Camp?

As a children’s pastor, I was looking for a summer activity for the kids to attend. I wanted something that would be interesting, yet spiritually and physically beneficial to the kids. I also wanted an activity that the parents would be excited about. During summers, kids can tend to develop poor health habits, such as too much media time and unhealthy eating. This program was a huge success for outreach to our community.

What advice would you give to parents who are interested in keeping their children and families healthy?

Parents intentionally modeling the lifestyle they would like their child to live is the best way to teach kids anything. Kids will generally grow up with the idea of what is “normal” by what they were used to in their young lives. When it comes to kids’ health and spirituality, parents are the main influence. I encourage parents to eat a variety of healthy foods, be aware of how they are spending their “downtime,” and show self-control in all aspects of life. We like to say in Fitness Camp—“Just say, ‘Whoa!’”

To order Shapin’ Up Fitness Camp visit

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