Posted on October 03, 2016 by Steve's Club National Program
Two-time Olympic Competitor
9-time National Champion
Pan-American Games Gold Medalist
American Record Holder in the Clean and Jerk at the 77-kilogram weight class
What prompts someone with these credentials to get involved with Steve's Club and give back to the CrossFit community?
Chad Vaughn was born with a clubfoot, meaning his foot was developing to the side. After surgeries to correct this, he was left in a cast for the first year of his life. Because of this setback, Chad Vaughn's right calf is half the size of his left and lacks flexibility, but has created a more mentally tough human being. He knows the meaning of a setback.
Throughout all of the highs and lows, a tough childhood being "different", and many other failures along the way, Chad Vaughn has chosen to embrace his deficiencies, weaknesses, and failures to grow and come out stronger on the other side.
This is exactly why he loves being involved with Steve's Club. "We all have stuff that will knock us down in life. That part is certain and out of our control. How we react is the part that we can control. We can choose to either learn, improve, and grow from these setbacks, or we can be held down by them," Vaughn said.
"At Steve's Club, there is such an opportunity to do good. I like to see change in people, whether that is physical, mental, or emotional. By being involved with Steve's Club and CrossFit, I am able to provide these kids with something to do, someone to be, and a community," Vaughn noted wisely. "Family is a word that constantly comes up. Many of these kids didn't have that love before. And because it has impacted them so strongly, many of them feel the desire to stay involved and give back to their own communities by bringing more people into the CrossFit community to embrace the lessons one learns here."
As mentioned before, Vaughn is no stranger to setbacks. He acknowledges that he has failed way more than he has succeeded. But what has made him a success is that he continued to show up. "I've missed big lifts in competition. I've had competitions where I haven't hit a single lift. These things happen and they are so difficult to deal with at the time. But if you attack them head on, you will always come out as a better person on the other side. That is what I'm hoping to teach these kids."
Vaughn, who works with at-risk teens at Steve's Club Team Fearless in Belton ,TX (hosted by CrossFit CenTex) knows that it is difficult for any human being to change, especially mentally. But his advice to promote change with kids is to pick one area, your biggest weakness, and attack it with vigor. It is difficult to make large-scale changes, but by attacking that one weakness, most will see improvement in other areas.
"I like to use CrossFit as an example. There are millions of movements to choose from, but if you tried to focus on them all, you'd see little to no improvement. But if you approached one movement with total focus, you would improve greatly and see improvements in many other aspects of your CrossFit abilities. It is the same with life," Vaughn said.
"And it's funny. As much as I try to provide wisdom to these kids, ranging from CrossFit to life advice, it's incredible how much I've learned from them and been reminded of some very important life lessons myself. I think, sometimes, as adults we can start living life so quickly that we can forget some pretty simple, but extremely important life lessons. Working with these kids has really helped to keep life in a much better perspective for me personally to continue to grow as an adult," Vaughn remarked smiling.
To learn more about how Chad volunteers his time to help at-risk youth, click here.
If you'd like to give the gift of fitness to at-risk youth, you can:
Posted on September 01, 2016 by Steve's Club National Program
What do you do when you look around and all you see is hopelessness, devastation, and despair?
What do you do when you go home and there is no one to lean on?
To ask how your day went.
To ask if you learned anything in school.
Or if you even went at all.
These are things many of us don’t understand at all, yet are the very realities the at-risk teens at Steve’s Club’s Leadership Camp face everyday.
They take a step out their front door and see:
• Drug dealers selling drugs on the right
• Teens involved with gangs on the left
• No positive future right in front of them
What options are they left with?
Does It Have To Be This Way?
What happens when those same kids are surrounded by:
• Peers in similar situations to lean on in times of trouble
• Coaches to improve their self-esteem by helping them create their best selves
• Adults they can trust and count on as mentors in their lives
What happens when those same kids are taught the skills needed to succeed:
• How to lead in the face of adversity
• How to communicate under pressure, differing opinions, and uncertain outcomes
• How to work together to achieve a goal unattainable alone
What effect could that have on the future of those kids? On the future of their communities?
The Skills Needed For A Brighter Future For The Kids, And Their Communities, Are Within Reach
At Leadership Camp, supported by generous sponsors and caring volunteers, these kids see a dramatic shift in their behaviors, beliefs, and outlooks on life.
This shift occurs because of the support system built around the kids - both at their Local Steve's Club in their hometowns and at Leadership Camp.
“The kids see our belief in them. We believe that they are capable of defining their lives on their own terms,” said Duncan Seawell, the founder of Steve’s Club Denver and Secretary of the SCNP Board of Directors.
Seawell, who is also a professional child psychologist, went on to say, “So much about their home environment only reinforces their concerns for the future.”
“But that's not the case at Leadership Camp. Camp is where the teens get to display their strength, show their resolve, and gain the support of like-minded people who know there is a better future in store for them.”
With the campers’ newfound strength, resolve, and grit, they learn how to face challenges in their daily lives head on and not give up.
“As a volunteer, I was given gifts I didn’t see coming. I got to witness action, hear statements, and connect with young adults that reinforced my sense of what is right in the world, the antidote to the skepticism, pessimism, and cynicism that surrounds us.”
“I saw the best parts of growing up, believing in your personal strengths, and combining efforts for a common purpose,” Seawell added.
The ingredients for a better world.
Or to hear how all of this support affects the teens directly, watch this video of the 2016 Leadership Camp that captures how the skills learned at Camp allow these kids to become future leaders in their communities and the nation.
Posted on August 23, 2016 by Lee Knight
Everyone has seen the impact that CrossFit can have on a person:
• A former athlete who lost his way is re-inspired to regain his past form
• A soccer mom who never lifted weights before now loves Olympic lifting
• Someone who has fallen into the routine of life, sitting at work all day, now chases PRs and enjoys the positive side effect of a healthier and fitter body
It inspires people to change the way they live.
After only a few weeks, the way that they walk, talk, and carry themselves totally changes.
They are hooked.
At Steve’s Club, at-risk youth across the nation are provided with the exact same opportunity.
These young athletes come from varying backgrounds, each one seemingly more difficult than the next:
• Absentee or abusive parents
• Friends & family in jail or juvenile detention
• Murders and gang activity on their block
Experiences no child should have to go through, yet they know no different. They see no way out.
Once athletes like Tre find CrossFit and are exposed to the environment at Steve’s Club, they, too, are hooked.
They have a realization that they are much more capable than they ever imagined. Their future is in their own hands, and it can be very bright.
At 30 Local Steve’s Clubs across the country, these young athletes learn lifelong skills, taught through the CrossFit lifestyle, within a positive, safe, and supportive environment.
Alongside their coaches, volunteers, and peers at Steve’s Club they begin to beat the streets one day at a time.
That is the inspiration behind the Beat The Streets workout.
Each Dollar Raised Means A Brighter Future For Someone Who Didn’t Realize They Had One
In order to provide more and more opportunities for at-risk youth across the nation to get off the streets and break the cycle, Steve’s Club National Program hosts a Partner WOD to raise the money needed to continue starting new Clubs that:
• Provide kids without direction with a new sense of purpose
• Create safe environments for kids to flourish alongside their new ‘family’
• Generate brighter futures for kids who never knew they had one
Events like Beat The Streets give kids an opportunity to change their future, and create a different, much more productive cycle.
“How Can I Get My Gym Involved?”
Beat The Streets (BTS) is a partner WOD, open to any gym or CrossFit affiliate, that can be programmed as a regular workout during the week or as a larger community event.
The BTS WOD has a suggested donation of $25 per person that is fully tax-deductible.
Keep in mind as you and your community start generating momentum that for every $1000 raised through Beat the Streets, a new Local Club can be started in a city in need, meaning:
• Less crime in underprivileged areas
• Brighter futures for youth most people write off
• Better leaders to create better communities
To learn more about how to get involved as a local gym owner, click HERE.
• Cookie cutter letters ready to send to potential donors
• Videos to share detailing the impact Steve’s Club has on athletes and Local Club leaders alike
• Marketing material detailing what the money raised is going towards
There are 30 current Local Clubs, and with your donations we can bring fitness, nutrition, and mentorship to more kids like Tre by starting new Local Clubs.
Through Beat the Streets, you too can help Strengthen the Nation, One Kid at a Time!
Posted on August 22, 2016 by Steve Liberati
Do you remember the first day you showed up to a CrossFit gym?
You probably looked around at all the equipment, the rings, the bars, the racks, and thought, “what did I just get myself into?”
There was no way you could have imagined the impact and the change it would create in your life.
So imagine the impact I felt when I sat next to our athletes at Leadership Camp as they told their stories. They were relieved to finally be sharing their life challenges with a supportive group. Some of them cried - but they weren't tears of sadness, they were tears of belonging.
For the first time in their lives, many of these athletes finally felt that they belonged to something and that they had a place in the world.
More often than not, they’ve grown up without a sense of direction. In their neighborhoods, there are very few role models, high-achievers, and adults showing them all that they can achieve.
They have grown up being told all of the things they can’t do, instead of empowered to think of all the things that they can do.
“You can’t graduate high school.”
“You can’t go to college.”
“You can’t be successful.”
Until they join Steve’s Club, a safe place that at-risk youth can come to discover their true potential.
And something changes.
All of a sudden, many of these youth who previously thought achieving their dreams was unrealistic begin to believe in themselves.
Like Rachel from Steve’s Club Nashville climbing her way to the top of the rope at the end of a taxing Obstacle Course at Leadership Camp. This was something she had never done before, and probably couldn’t have imagined doing a short time earlier.
“Despite struggling to pull herself up to the very top, Rachel wasn’t giving up no matter what,” said Steve Liberati, co-founder of Steve’s Club National Program.
“I was amazed by the enthusiasm, determination, and strong will of the kids despite long days of tough workouts, thought-provoking workshops, and grueling team challenges.”
Liberati, who is co-founder of Steve's Club National Program and has been running a Local Club in Camden since 2007, said that although he has been “fortunate to watch the athletes at my gym in Camden grow as people and come closer together as a family, it always inspires me to see how quickly our extended family and Steve's Club community grows over the six days of Leadership Camp.”
Over the course of a week, these 22 athletes forged new friendships, gained new knowledge, and left with a new sense of purpose - taking with them leadership skills that will help them inspire other kids in their Steve's Clubs at home.
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Posted on August 15, 2016 by Steve Liberati
The fourth annual Steve’s Club Summer Leadership Camp was held July 31 - August 5 at Fort Indiantown Gap, a National Guard training base, in Pennsylvania.
Leadership Camp is Steve’s Club National Program’s (SCNP) largest initiative of the year, and brings together teens from our Steve’s Club chapters nation-wide and amazing guest coaches from the CrossFit community.
The week-long sleep away Camp is an opportunity for Steve’s Club athletes to learn about leadership, teamwork, mental toughness, grit, perseverance, self-talk, etc. Campers are challenged physically and mentally throughout the week - they are required to step out of their comfort zone and into leadership roles. Through workouts, workshops, journaling, and group discussions, they're given the chance to reflect on and absorb these experiences on many levels.
Campers are chosen based on an application process that includes a coach recommendation and short answer questions about leadership. This year, 22 Steve’s Club athletes from across the country were selected to attend.
“We received applications from more of our Local Steve’s Clubs this year than ever before,” said Leora Hafri, Program Director of SCNP. “We had athletes from six states including Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey, and 10 different Steve’s Club chapters were represented. About 40% of the Campers this year were female which is almost double the percentage from last year’s Camp!”
SCNP was honored to be joined by an amazing group of 20 coaches and volunteers. “Camp wouldn’t be possible without the help of guest coaches,” said Lee Knight, Executive Director of SCNP. “They bring a variety of different skill sets and knowledge to the workshops and workouts they lead, and truly make Camp what it is.”
Our Camp guest coach and volunteer roster included:
• Christy Adkins, 7-time CrossFit Games individual athlete, led a workshop about mobility and self-Care, and a WOD + lesson about mental toughness and perseverance.
• Chad Vaughn, 2-time Olympian and national record holder in Olympic Weightlifting, led a weightlifting workshop and discussions about overcoming obstacles.
• Cherie Chan, CrossFit HQ and Seminar staff member and past CrossFit Games athlete, led a hike + WOD and lesson on leadership.
• Representatives from the Travis Manion Foundation, an organization dedicated to empowering veterans and the families of fallen heroes to develop character in future generations, ran the Obstacle Course and Leadership Reaction Course.
• Representatives from Snap Kitchen, a national healthy meal shop, led a workshop about nutrition.
• Chef Elise from Fueled by Elise, a meal prep and catering company, led a hands-on cooking demonstration.
• SCNP Board Members/Officers led a few workshops: Duncan led sessions about self-talk and gratitude, Roger led a session about finding comfort in discomfort, and Steve led a workshop about public speaking and a WOD + lesson on positive community.
• Other workshops and workouts by volunteers and Local Club leaders: gymnastics led by Coach Stephanie, first-aid led by Coach Sarah, yoga and goal setting led by Coach Carla, a group workout led Coaches Roger, Matt & Dom, and a team WOD created by the leaders from Denver, Team Fearless (in TX), Nashville, and Camden.
“There’s a very full schedule of activities planned for the kids at Camp,” said Steve Liberati, co-founder of SCNP. “This year’s Camp was the best we’ve had yet, which is due in large part to our dedicated staff and coaches, and the support we received from our generous sponsors.”
Thank you to all of our Camp sponsors!
More posts about Camp to follow!
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