Posted on October 24, 2016 by Steve's Club National Program
Physical Changes Are Easy To See: The Real Change Takes Place Below The Surface
Physical changes are easy to notice. Someone starts working out, or begins eating differently, and after a couple months, it’s very easy to see.
What most people don’t notice are the internal changes as one undergoes changes mentally and emotionally. That is what drew Aimee Lyons to CrossFit. In 2008, after a friend introduced her to CrossFit she experienced a huge change in her confidence levels that helped her approach life situations differently.
Since getting started in CrossFit, she’s dove in wholeheartedly. Aimee now holds her L4 certification, is a member of the CrossFit Seminar Staff, owner of CrossFit King of Prussia in PA, and runs a Local Steve’s Club (Steve’s Club King of Prussia).
“There is no doubt that CrossFit changes lives. From changes in body composition and blood work to the changes one experiences mentally after pushing themselves further than they ever imagined they could. All of these experiences, after happening again and again, begin to transfer to everyday life situations outside of the gym,” said Lyons.
For this reason, after seeing the impact CrossFit had on her personally, and those around her, Aimee knew she had to get involved with Steve’s Club after meeting Steve Liberati, founder of the original Steve’s Club in Camden, NJ, and seeing the impact he was having with the at-risk youth there.
“I was inspired right away. I visited a few times to see how they ran the program and volunteered some time to help, but it was evident that we could create our own program at CrossFit King of Prussia and that was a huge goal of mine,” Lyons, a 4-time CrossFit Games Regional competitor, shared.
And that goal became a reality in 2011 when Lyons and her team held their first Steve’s Club class. “To shape the lives of kids who are growing up less fortunate was an opportunity that I could not pass up. If we could provide role models for these underprivileged youth through the CrossFit community, and show them what values we hold, they will be able to take this confidence, positive attitude, and leadership out into the real world to attain opportunities that wouldn’t have existed otherwise.”
This hard work, sweat, and determination paid off for Lyons and her team when she began to see her first group of kids improving their SAT and ACT scores through CrossFit King of Prussia’s SAT prep program before going on to college. “I think one of the moments that it paid off is when we began to see our kids move on to college. These were the same kids who were choosing to not even attend SAT classes only a short time earlier. This huge shift in personality, making right choices over wrong, is 100% due to CrossFit, Steve’s Club, and the positive mentors within our community.
Steve’s Club King of Prussia has been the catalyst for change through its support of teens like Tre, who has attended Leadership Camp several years in a row, and the young twins Jayden and Davin who were abandoned by their mother, and promptly adopted by members of CrossFit KoP, Lisa and Chris Agnew. Both have been integrated into the CrossFit KoP community, and thanks to Steve's Club they've flourished.
If you want to help youth through CrossFit, consider starting a Local Club in your community - we can get you set up quickly and easily so you can start training kids right away!
To help us add more Local Clubs like Steve's Club KoP to our national network, please donate here. Each new Club works with kids and teens in their local community to break the negative cycle and create leaders from within.
Posted on October 19, 2016 by Steve's Club National Program
Which Wolf Will You Feed?
Fear of failure stops most people before they even start. Everyone has big dreams and aspirations but so few are able to act on them because of this fear.
Unfortunately, many people don’t even realize it is a fear of failure that is stopping them dead in their tracks. They say it’s too hard, not worth the effort, or takes up too much time. We’ve all heard the various excuses.
What they don’t realize (or maybe they do) is that deep at the root of all these excuses is this fear. That is why you must call it out. Christy Adkins calls this the “Wolf of Fear”, a concept she first heard about when reading Mark Divine's "Unbeatable Mind”. The Wolf of Fear has a counterpart: the “Wolf of Courage”. And it is up to you to choose who you will feed.
Christy Phillips Adkins, a 7-time CrossFit Games Individual athlete, shared this story with the at-risk teens at Leadership Camp this past summer. To her, it is one of the most important lessons that anyone can learn in life. We all live with both of these wolves, but do we feed the Wolf of Fear or the Wolf of Courage?
“The Wolf of Fear will always be there. But so is the Wolf of Courage. We can choose to feed either one. So what do we do? We feed the Wolf of Courage and starve the Wolf of Fear,” shared Adkins.
Christy got involved with Steve’s Club because she understood the positive impact CrossFit can have on someone physically, and the type of impact the CrossFit community can have on that same individual emotionally. “I came across Steve’s Club and saw their generosity immediately. Their generosity with their time, their support, their advice, it is what makes the CrossFit community so incredible,” said Adkins.
“Steve’s Club doesn’t just help kids in Camden - it's now a national program that is affecting many kids across the country in a positive way. That is why I wanted to be involved with an organization like Steve’s Club."
"Steve’s Club is made up of a bunch of ‘doers’, not talkers. I believe in them and their ability to have a long-lasting impact on these kids."
Christy has been a long time supporter of Steve's Club. Along with volunteering as a guest coach during the 2016 Leadership Camp where she led several workshops and workouts, she's graciously donated gear from the CrossFit Games to the girls in our program.
Christy Adkins, known throughout the CrossFit community as one of the most humble elite CrossFitters, has a genuine heart for giving back especially to a population of kids that desperately needs that message of courage and perseverance. She is no stranger to hard work and bouncing back from adversity herself.
“Prior to the 2016 Games, I tore my bicep in the off-season and had surgery. I believed my goal to make it back to the CrossFit games was still possible so I put in a lot of hard work with the help of my coaches and physical therapist to prepare. The moment that I realized it all paid off was during the second to last event of Regionals where I was fighting to earn a spot to go to the Games,” Christy recalled.
“I was able to hold onto the barbell for all 10 reps of the 155-pound overhead squat, something I had never done before. The months of hard work I put into strengthening my back and shoulders during physical therapy paid off!” Adkins said, excitedly.
Christy, who works as a nurse when she's not training, wanted to pass on the lessons that she learned through many years of training and competing, to these kids who are going through, and have gone through, some very challenging experiences in their lives. In times of adersity it is very easy to feed the Wolf of Fear. This fear can lead one down a path of self-destruction.
“A lot of these kids live in unstable environments. They are unsure of what will happen day to day, and that uncertainty often leads to self-doubt and negative choices. That’s where CrossFit can help them change."
"You don’t know how far you can push yourself until you physically do, and CrossFit has that ability to show you how much more you are capable of than you may have realized.” Christy was inspired to be able to share that message with the kids of Steve's Club and is proud of the CrossFit community for supporting such a worthy cause!
Posted on October 14, 2016 by Steve's Club National Program
Rebecca Brown is no stranger to a troubled past.
Growing up in a family that was struggling with alcoholism and substance abuse, she would alternate between retreating from the world and acting out. Trying to balance the desire for affection with need for self-preservation, she entered into adulthood with serious self-confidence issues and her own battle with alcoholism.
When Rebecca found CrossFit in 2010 she quickly realized that this was how she could help at-risk teens like herself in her community.
In working with these kids, Rebecca saw a reflection of her younger self. She knew that they were not mean-spirited, unintelligent, or incapable, but rather had been traveling through life without a purpose up to that point.
She chose to use her personal experiences, and CrossFit, to make a difference in the lives of others.
“I was a troubled, misguided, and difficult teenager growing up,” Brown said. “I wanted to use that experience to give back and help these teens get on the right track to turn their lives around.”
The CrossFit Community Comes Together To Change Lives
Rebecca Brown, who started Steve’s Club Nashville in 2012, and opened CrossFit Gulch soon after that to create a space for the program, knew that the CrossFit community was the right place for these teens to be embraced, empowered, and encouraged to make the changes they needed.
“These kids inspire me everyday. It’s incredible to watch them grow and light up with confidence as their strength and skill continues to improve each day,” Brown beamed.
Coach Rebecca is described as generous, hardworking, and caring by those around her, and thinks nothing of dedicated countless hours to organizing fundraisers, coaching teens, and making sure they have someone to talk to.
One of Rebecca’s proudest success stories is Tommy. Tommy came to her after his mother overdosed and passed away. He was acting out and getting into trouble. That is when Tommy was brought to Brown, and introduced to CrossFit.
Fast-forward three and a half years, Tommy is described as a “kind, caring, and determined kid who supports the others in the program.” After graduation next summer, Tommy plans to join the Marines to continue leading. He has attended several of the Steve’s Club Leadership Camps and has become one of the most genuine, respectful, and supportive teens at Camp. The newer kids look up to him, and he's the first to volunteer for the toughest tasks. He leads by example at Camp and has also become an inspiring role model at his Local Club, Steve's Club Nashville.
Rebecca’s dedication to these kids is not an act or a show. Brown, along with SCNP co-founders, Steve Liberati and Lee Knight, is the only Guest Coach to attend every single Leadership Camp since its creation. She loves volunteering at Camp because she knows these kids are the ones that will become leaders at home and begin changing their families and communities from the inside.
Once again, Rebecca would not make it about her, but how incredible it is to have the opportunity to work with, and support, these teenagers. “I wish I could bottle up the tiniest bit of how amazing Leadership Camp is, and give it to everyone. These kids fill my heart to the brim. They are so kind, hardworking, vulnerable, and tough at the same time. All of the Steve’s Club supporters are truly helping to change lives.”
Rebecca decided she wanted to continue to build the sense of camaraderie and community among the teens at Leadership Camp, and hosted a Teen CrossFit Competition in Nashville, TN.
Through the direction and hard work of Brown and SCNP staff, 12 at-risk teens from other Local Clubs were able to fly to Nashville to compete, be pushed outside of their comfort zone, and to experience the broader CrossFit community. “We were able to raise money from 10 different CrossFit gyms to fly in kids from various Steve’s Clubs across the country for a young adult only CrossFit competition. The day after the competition, these kids also had the opportunity to workout side by side with Rich Froning and the rest of the CrossFit Mayhem Freedom team, who are like heroes to them,” Brown shared proudly. A lot of work went into the logistics to make it possible, and it was worth every ounce of effort.
This feat was nothing short of miraculous and certainly one the teens won’t soon forget.
If you've had a challenging background and know what these kids are going through, maybe consider starting your own Steve's Club.
Or support our mission with a donation, or by sharing Rebecca and Tommy’s story with your friends on Facebook or Instagram.
Posted on October 10, 2016 by Steve's Club National Program
"The Accident In My Career I’m Grateful For" – a guest post by Sarah Sabella, EMT volunteer at Leadership Camp
My name is Sarah Sabella MICP, NREMT-P, CCEMT-P, FPC, FFI, Rescue Technician, Water Rescue Operations, CFL1. Yes, that's a lot of letters after my name. They represent 15 years of Emergency Medical Services experience.
The title of this blog post does not reflect a car crash or cardiac arrest, but a true "accident." Those letters earned me an opportunity I will forever be grateful for.
In the spring of 2015, Erin Kelly, co-owner of CrossFit 1Force, approached me while working out at her gym. She said that Steve's Club National Program (SCNP) was looking for an EMT for their summer Leadership Camp. No pay, sleep in the barracks, handle the bumps and bruises of 30 teenage kids, and work out a couple times a day in the heat of the summer. She thought I would be the girl for the job. If the SCNP staff only knew...
Of course I accepted!
My first year I kind of flew by the seat of my pants. I knew my only responsibility was to help a kid if they got hurt. But only after an hour or two I wanted to do more. I wanted to interact with the kids - their spirits were remarkable.
I had always supported Steve's Club as a Steve's PaleoGoods patron and Beat the Streets supporter. I already knew a couple of the kids from Steve's Club Camden but at Leadership Camp I was soon introduced to the extended "family" - 20+ other kids from all over the nation.
Every night at Camp there’s a time reserved for a "get to know you" sharing activity. By the second night, I could see there were kids that had so much to say, but couldn't. The volunteers and coaches were also asked to share. As the "new guy" I was a little apprehensive to raise my hand, just like some of the kids, but I did. That night I told the entire room what I saw in each and every one of them, and why the universe called me to be at Camp.
I was a "high risk youth" and knew what they were going through.
My entire childhood I grew up in an abusive home. Physically and emotionally abused daily, and given the responsibility of caring for my younger siblings that no child should have to bear. When I got to high school I ran out of excuses to cover for my home life, and I also started to fight back. My mother went to the courts and reported what was happening in our home. But I didn't get the treatment I expected. In fact, things got worse.
At 15, I was removed from my home and placed in a teen shelter. I was taunted, convinced to preform criminal acts, offered drugs and alcohol, and often heard inappropriate activities in neighboring rooms. But NOONE EVER KNEW! Since the shelter was in my hometown I was able to continue at the same high school, and I was good at hiding the trauma in my life.
The next few years of my life were spent gluing the pieces of my family back together. But 15 years of damage had already been done. Even now as an adult I still search every day for where I belong. Turns out that Steve's Club is where I belong. These kids are my family.
After listening to every heartbreaking story from these kids for the last two years at Camp, every one of them ends their story with "CrossFit saved my life." These are powerful transformations that start at Steve's Club. This program creates a family and sense of belonging, and not just for the kids but also for the coaches and volunteers involved.
I am an example that your childhood doesn't make you, and I want to share that with these kids. I was able to overcome my own challenges, and through CrossFit and Steve's Club I’ve found a way to give back.
Being a high-risk youth is a status, and in this day and age we change our "status" several times a day. The kids of Steve’s Club have the power to change their status!
Most people take vacations to places like the Caribbean or Disney. I spend my vacation in the woods of PA with 25 of the coolest, toughest, spirited young adults the CrossFit world is raising. And that's exactly what we are doing for these kids...raising them.
Being an EMT and guest coach at Leadership Camp is one of the most meaningful experiences I've ever had. It's where I will always long to be. I want to thank Steve's Club for this opportunity that I hope to continue every year.
Posted on September 16, 2016 by Steve's Club National Program
A lot of times it's easier, sometimes better, to blend in rather than to stand out.
A human being who stood in the middle of the savannah amongst the lions, tigers, and bears probably doesn't have many descendants today.
Armies spend millions of dollars creating the best camouflage for their soldiers.
People walk into a classroom and head for the furthest seat from the teacher in fear of being call on.
It's a survival tactic.
Similarly, Kleymer, a 15-year-old from Steve's Club Nashville, wanted to blend into her surroundings rather than stand out when she first arrived at Rebecca Brown's gym in Nashville (SC Nashville is hosted by CrossFit Gulch). She was very quiet, fought at school, and was carrying some pent-up emotions. She had a very hard time trusting anyone she didn't know.
According to Coach Rebecca, "Kleymer struggled with her confidence initially, especially when meeting new people. She could be outspoken, outgoing, and energetic around those she knew. But around strangers, you may not hear her say word."
That is until she walked into the gym 9 months ago. Since then, Coach Brown has seen a tremendous change in Kleymer physically, mentally, and emotionally.
"When Kleymer first started working out here, she lacked a little determination and grit to push through the tougher workouts. Now, not only is she powering through her own workouts, but she is encouraging others, her friends, and her family to get through their own workouts," said Brown, who founded SC Nashville in 2012.
One of the biggest areas of improvement that both Kleymer and Coach Brown notice is in Kleymer's leadership abilities. While Coach Brown notices it around the gym when Kleymer volunteers to help another teen with their deadlift form (Kleymer's favorite lift), Kleymer has noticed it the most in her home life. "I feel the change everyday. I've taken on a bigger leadership role at home. I encourage my family to live a healthier lifestyle, get more involved at the gym, and live an overall more fulfilling life," Kleymer said proudly.
While she has begun to see the changes take hold with her immediate family, it's the people at the gym that she credits for a lot of her personal improvements. "It's like my second family here. Since joining CrossFit, I'm so much calmer. I haven't fought with anyone and, instead, I find myself more relaxed, focused, and dedicated to everything that I do. I've learned how to be a better leader, how to motivate others, and the power of self-talk," Kleymer paused.
"I think that may be one of the most important lessons that I've learned. I no longer talk down to myself, and I certainly don't let anyone else talk down to me. I hold myself, and those around me, to high expectations regardless of what people outside our family believe."
Kleymer credits Coach Rebecca for many of the life-altering changes she has seen in her own life. When faced with two different paths, Kleymer opted to take a different path than many of her peers. Her path has led her to CrossFit, leadership, and personal improvement, while many of those whom she grew up with have opted for sex, drugs, and gangs. These are all things that are not in short supply in her neighborhood.
"I just stay out of it by going to CrossFit. Rebecca has let me make Steve's Club Nashville my home. I will stay there for hours. I get through so many life problems by going there and talking with Rebecca. We talk about everything."
Now, the girl who walked into the gym uncomfortable in her own skin, shy around strangers, and unsure of her own capabilities, walks out each day full of pride, passion, and appreciation with a new family behind her.
Help us continue to support more kids like Kleymer and start Steve’s Club programs in the cities that need them the most. Consider hosting our BEAT THE STREETS suggested donation partner workout, or donate here.
Also, to receive more inspiring stories about kids like Kleymer, sign up for our newsletter here and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. To learn how you can start a Steve’s Club in your own community, click here.
Page 1 of 4 pages 1 2 3 > Last ›