2015 Fashion, Etiquette and Health Boot Camp

BY JOYCE NANETTE JOHNSON

ST. PETERSBURG – It’s that time of year again. The 2015 Fashion, Etiquette, & Health Boot Camp is in full swing, and the second session will begin July 20. There are still some spots open, so sign your young divas and dudes up for fashion, fun and a chance to step out of their box.

The boot camp presents an opportunity for children of the community to be exposed to a treasure-trove of knowledge and new experiences. Audrey “Pat” McGhee, a leading area designer and model, is the founder of the event and CEO of APM Images, Inc.

This years’ collaboration is with Deuces and Beyond (DAB).

“DAB seeks collaborations that will ensure we develop and build effective programs,” stated DAB Founder and CEO Faye Watson. “Those programs should meet the immediate needs of individuals and families throughout our community.”

Professionals in the fields of health, cosmetology, business, modeling, etiquette and fashion were invited to share their expertise. McGhee and Watson both felt that one of the most important components of the camp is to address health issues that affect our youth today.

This year the camp has the distinct pleasure of having Dr. Natalie Ellis on hand for both sessions to guide the youth in the field of medicine. At a young age she had strong black female figures in her life, and is happy to pay it forward.

She admired her grandmother who was a medical assistant at an urgent care clinic, and an indelible mark was left on her when she attended the graduation of her godmother’s sister. Ellis was in awe of the fact that a black woman was graduating from Dartmouth, an Ivy League college. These women helped shaped her career path, and she aims to be a role model for all those who attend the camp.

The Barbados native, who grew up in Pensacola, graduated Magna Cum Laude from Bethune Cookman College. She then earned her Doctor of Medicine Degree from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn.  Ellis did an internship in internal medicine at Portsmouth Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, Va., and her residency at Eastern Virginia Medical College, Portsmouth Family Medical Program.

She is a diplomat of the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine and a fellow with the American Board of Anti-Aging. However, Ellis downplayed her accomplishments as she enthusiastically spoke of her commitment to volunteering and providing communities with valuable medical information.

She is a sought after speaker and facilitator and has conducted seminars, workshops and forums at Metro Wellness Center, Metropolitan Ministries in Tampa and as a medical advisor on the Julius Adams Aids Task Force.

Ellis specializes in family, anti-aging and holistic medicine, which she touts the benefits of.  “Holistic medicine has multiple branches,” Ellis explained.  “It is a mixture of alternative and allopathic medicines.” She feels that holistic medicine is an “integrative approach that cures the disease rather than treating it.”

During her presentation in the first session of the camp, Ellis concentrated on several core areas that address the mental and physical body of the adolescent. Her goal was to present the information by linking it to their self-interests, such as them being concerned with their appearance.

“Food is a medicine,” Ellis proclaimed. “Millions of children are not given the proper tools.”

She encouraged and challenged the small group of girls to expand their minds by learning new things, limiting television and computer time and to be linked to a school counselor. Ellis also spoke of the “spirit within” and introduced the girls to the benefit of deep breathing exercises and meditation.

Ellis feels that important health information is not being thoroughly disseminated throughout the community.  She feels that parents put too much trust in educational institutions to teach their children what they need to know about health, and is hopeful events such as this camp will have an impact on not only the child, but also introduce new healthy guidelines and attitudes to parents.

The second session of the 2015 Fashion Etiquette & Health Boot Camp will begin on July 20.

“We believe in our youth and want to give them the best opportunity to be successful in whatever they do,” said Watson. “Transformation is possible, we’ve seen the results of changing the conscious thinking of a community so they may live healthier, happier, smarter and longer. We witnessed transformations last year as a direct result of the support from our presenters.”

Some of the second sessions presenters, including Dr. Ellis, will be professional photographer, Jerrod Douse, model Mayra Gomez, who is also the founder of True Model, Christian Fashion Week, Robin Quiggs from Wellness Specialist (eyes) and School Board member Renee Flowers.

Camp is open to boys and girls from 7-17, and will be held July 20-30 at the Boys & Girls Club at the Royal Theater, 1011 22nd St. S., from 9 – 1 p.m.

For more information and how to register, please call Faye Watson at (727 692-9570.

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