Posted on September 14, 2016 by Steve's Club National Program
Do you remember the first time you hit a major PR?
It may not have been a lot of weight compared to the experienced CrossFitter next to you. It may not have been the prettiest lift in the world. It may not have even been seen by anyone else. None of that mattered.
Nothing could stop you from feeling like you were walking on air. It left you feeling like a totally different person - a more self-assured version of the person who had walked into the gym a short time earlier.
That’s exactly the feeling Liric, a 12-year-old from Chattanooga, TN, got when she nailed a 105-pound clean and jerk for the first time. "The feeling you get after hitting a big lift, the sense of accomplishment, there is nothing like it,” said Liric.
“After I did that, my confidence level went way up. It helped me begin to encourage myself through challenges, but also my peers. Now when I see others struggling with a concept in school, or a lift at CrossFit, I can help them much easier with my new leadership skills and confidence.”
She even credits CrossFit with boosting her social skills. “Before joining Unbroken Kids [a Steve’s Club program hosted by CrossFit Brigade], I was a very shy person. Through Steve's Club I became this very outgoing, confident person. CrossFit changed my whole personality."
Liric, one of the 22 at-risk teens selected to participate in Steve’s Club Leadership Camp this summer, made an impression before even showing up. Athletes submit applications to attend Camp that include an athlete profile, coach recommendations, and a personal essay. Where many kids wrote short paragraphs explaining what CrossFit meant to them, Liric felt as though she may not have enough time, or space, to explain how much CrossFit has meant to her life.
“The long paragraphs weren’t something I did consciously. I just set out to write how CrossFit has helped me, how CrossFit has affected me and my leadership in the gym and other places, such as school, and that is what came out.”
“I view myself as a leader now. Before, I didn’t have the self-confidence to step in when I saw someone struggling. It’s totally different now. I have no problem speaking up and helping someone I see in need,” Liric said proudly.
By exposing more kids to the positive disciplines of CrossFit, we provide an opportunity for kids to get off the streets and become leaders among their peers.
Donations allow us to reach more kids like Liric by starting Steve’s Club programs in the cities that need them the most.
An easy way to raise money for Steve's Club is by hosting our BEAT THE STREETS Fundraiser. Through this Suggested Donation Partner WOD, you can help us expand our reach. To schedule your BEAT THE STREETS Fundraiser, check out the WOD, and hosting details, click here.
To learn how you can start your own Steve’s Club in your community, click here.
Posted on September 12, 2016 by Steve's Club National Program
“Mentally, things aren’t even close to how they used to be. Steve’s Club has helped me relieve so much stress and anger.”
Blake said as he reflected on his personal change since joining Steve’s Club Team Fearless in Belton, Texas.
“I used to get in trouble. A lot. It was all about the people I was around. When I was with them, I had a real problem with obedience. But once I joined Steve’s Club and began to learn who I could become, I began to separate myself from them and hang out with people who do the right things. It’s made a huge difference.”
Throughout his time at Steve’s Club Team Fearless, a program hosted by CrossFit CenTex, Blake has learned that he is capable of a lot more than he had ever imagined.
With college now on the radar, Blake set his sights on the upcoming football season to put many of his newfound skills, both mental and physical, to work.
“I’m really excited for football to start this year. Steve’s Club has me feeling more prepared than ever before, physically, but especially mentally. In CrossFit, there are a bunch of mental hurdles we have to push through. I hear the voice in my head yelling, ‘Stop! Stop!’, but I know I have to keep pushing forward.”
“I do a lot of this for my family and friends. I have a phrase that really helps me push through the hardest times. It’s ‘Remember who you’re doing this for.’ It helps remind me of all the people I care about, all the happy memories, and makes it much easier for me to keep pushing ahead.”
Blake was one of 22 teens selected to spend a week at the Steve's Club Leadership Camp to learn the skills necessary to become successful individually and as a teammate. Blake and the other athletes were chosen to attend Camp through a selection process that placed a high emphasis on commitment, embodiment of the SNCP values, and potential to be role models in their Local Clubs back home.
Mental toughness and self-motivation were some of Blake's strengths while at Camp, but he brought even more than that to the weeklong event. With an infectious smile and an upbeat demeanor, he has found many of his teammates look to him for guidance and inspiration.
This unfamiliar role caught Blake a little bit off guard. As a 14-year-old, he was one of the younger teens at Camp and, as with many young teenagers, it takes Blake a little while to feel comfortable around new people.
Pushed out of his comfort zone, Blake realized he did have something to share with his fellow teens.
“Being a leader is a big responsibility,” Blake said. “But I’ve had people come up to me and tell me that I’ve been a big inspiration to them, which has been such an awesome feeling. It was not something that I was used to or planned to do, but it’s something that just happened as my confidence grew during Camp.”
Much of this newfound confidence may be attributed to the moment when Blake overcame his fear of heights on the obstacle course. His fear was well known throughout Camp. As he approached the rope ladder that towered above him, many were left wondering what would happen.
With each rung, Blake climbed one step closer to the top of the obstacle, and one step closer to conquering his fear.
“The challenges we faced at Camp made that possible. Each challenge I’ve overcome helps build momentum to where I can accomplish something major, like overcoming my fear of heights,” Blake said, beaming.
As he made his way back down, his now famous smile lit up. A cue to his peers that they, too, could overcome the fears they were facing, in the gym and in everyday life.
Find out how you can support more kids like Blake through our Suggested Donation workout. Host our Beat the Streets Fundraiser at your gym, read more here.
Also, to receive more stories about kids like Blake overcoming huge challenges, sign up for our newsletter here and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube for inspiring updates about those involved with Steve’s Club.
Posted on September 01, 2016 by Steve's Club National Program
You’re dumb. You’re stupid.You will never make anything of yourself. How could you? Look around.
No one from this neighborhood ever does.
These are the sentiments that Steve’s Club’s athletes hear almost daily back home.
And if they aren’t hearing it, they are seeing it all around them.
They walk out their front door and experience uncertainty.
• Who cares what they do?
• Will they get home safely tonight?
• What is waiting for them around the corner?
That is exactly how they show up at Steve’s Club for the first time, full of uncertainty.
Local Club Leaders: How One Individual Can Transform Doubting Teens Into Proud Leaders
After attending Steve’s Clubs for just a few months, becoming a part of the CrossFit community, and being surrounded by people who care about them, these kids see their uncertainty become a feeling of hope.
Local Club leaders, like LeAnn McMillan, consistently work with the at-risk kids in their communities each week, providing them with a stable, nurturing, and positive presence in their lives.
Under the positive influence of their Local Club leaders, the kids see this transformation take shape in many ways they never thought possible; in the form of leadership, discipline, and grit.
Lessons Learned At Steve’s Club Change Not Just An Individual, But A Community
Particularly noticeable during the weeklong Leadership Camp, the at-risk teens combine the positive reinforcement with the leadership, perseverance, and dedication to reshape their own image and definition of success.
McMillan, the Local Club leader of Steve's Club Team Fearless (sponsored by CrossFit CenTex) in Belton, TX, noticed that, “the group of kids arrived on the first day very unsure of themselves. However, throughout the week, you could see the kids understand that this was an opportunity to grow and see things from a new perspective. By the time they left, they were individuals full of confidence, determined to make a difference in their own lives, as well as those around them.”
During Camp, there are countless skills and lessons to be learned. Lessons in leadership, perseverance, and dedication are all extremely important to lifelong success. However, McMillan believes that the two most important lessons learned are those in trust and self-worth.
“If these teens can leave Camp believing in themselves more than when they started, that’s a win.”
“It moved my heart to see kids come in as strangers and leave with a support system created by solid friendships and connections that will last a lifetime. This trust in others, and a belief in one’s self, lays the groundwork for the kids to overcome fears and achieve things they never thought possible.”
All it takes is one positive influence.
One person to believe in these kids.
One person who is willing to show up, show they care, and show them the confidence they can claim for themselves.
One person like LeAnn, and our other Local Club leaders, to create a much different, much brighter future for these teens.
Posted on August 31, 2016 by Steve's Club National Program
“Every single person has at least one secret that would break your heart.
If we could just remember this, I think there would be a lot more compassion and tolerance in the world.” - Frank Warren, founder of PostSecret
Posted on the quote wall by Elise Black, Frank Warren’s statement rings especially true in today’s world of suspicion, disdain, and uneasiness towards those different from us.
Elise Black, founder of the weekly meal prep and catering company, Fueled by Elise, experienced this first hand as she volunteered as a chef this summer at Steve’s Club Leadership Camp.
During the first couple days of Camp, amidst grueling workouts, obstacle courses, and other challenges, one of the at-risk teens said he had gained weight.
When Elise asked more about it, the answer was one that would stick with her forever.
For the first time, he had access to three meals a day.
Something most people take for granted was rare in his everyday life.
“When I heard his story, I realized why I was there and the impact that I could have,” Black said.
“It was at that point that I recognized why Camp was so special to these teens.”
Elise Black began her own CrossFit journey three and a half years ago and began to notice the diversity and depth that it brought to her life.
She realized how much of an impact the CrossFit community could have on an individual and decided to give back in the best way she knew how: cooking.
Elise spent long days as the chef throughout Leadership Camp this summer and saw the impact that a healthy diet, positive role models, and the discipline of CrossFit can have on anyone, especially those at-risk.
“Every kid deserves a good meal along with a happy and healthy environment to grow and learn.”
Along with donating her time as a chef, Elise hosted a cooking workshop for the Teens.
Like most things anyone does the first time, people shy away from cooking because they aren’t sure where to start.
But, like anything else, through coaching, continued learning, and practice anyone can conquer cooking and become more self-sufficient.
Elise walked the teens through some kitchen basics before everyone chipped in to create the dinner for that night, lasagna.
And according to some of the teens, it didn’t turn out too poorly.
“Oh my gosh. The lasagna. That lasagna was so good. Easily one of my favorite parts of camp,” said Blake, a 14-year-old from Texas.
The impact of Elise’s workshop did not end after just one night. Many of the teens found themselves so enthralled with the experience of the kitchen that they volunteered their time throughout the rest of Camp to chip in; washing dishes, cutting vegetables, and prepping for meals.
“Anyone who sees the impact of Camp first-hand will want to be involved for years to come. The manners these kids possessed, their eagerness to help, and their readiness to learn was so impressive,” Black beamed.
Elise Black, who also volunteers her time at Steve’s Club Camden, offering cooking classes to teens of that community, hoped to share the importance of resiliency through all situations in life, even through her cooking workshop.
During the workshop, Elise drew comparisons from the kitchen to day-to-day life.
“Things don’t always go right in the kitchen. Some days you’re going to overcook a dish, or mix the ingredients incorrectly. That will absolutely happen.
It is how you react to that adversity which is important.
If we master our emotions in other areas, like the gym, like the kitchen, we can extend that into our everyday lives and better position ourselves for success.
No matter who you are, or where you come from, we will all face adversity. But how we react to it, positively or negatively, is who we are and either enables us or holds us back from who we can be. There is no doubt in my mind that the future of these teens, and their communities, is extremely bright.”
To stay involved with Steve’s Club, click here to join our mailing list with updates about the accomplishments of our at-risk teens achieving things they never thought possible.
Posted on August 26, 2016 by Steve's Club National Program
For the last three years, Tre has been one of the teens selected to attend Steve’s Club Summer Leadership Camp.
In his third trip to Camp, it was evident how far Tre had come personally, and as a leader of his peers.
He had grown into a mature, thoughtful, and caring teenager, who served as a role model to the less experienced campers frequently looking to him in times of doubt.
He has been getting more from Camp than anyone could have ever hoped.
But it wasn’t the Olympic lifting, gymnastic clinics, or hiking that was the biggest thing he was getting from Camp.
The biggest thing that Tre was getting from Camp was what he was missing back home – a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose, and a genuine interest from guest coaches and volunteers to see him succeed.
Each of the last three years that Tre has been away at Leadership Camp, learning teamwork, perseverance, the skills needed to succeed in life, someone on his block has been murdered.
This change in environment from one of constant danger, despair, and worry to one of safety, hope, and reassurance allows these at-risk teens to grow in ways they never thought possible.
Tre was one of the 22 at-risk teens who attended Leadership Camp this summer. They were intentionally challenged physically and mentally throughout the weeklong sleep-away Camp.
Workouts, workshops, and group discussions were created and led by the Steve’s Club staff and guest coaches, who include elite CrossFit athletes, military personnel, and first responders, along with Local Steve’s Club leaders.
The teens absorb a variety of valuable skills and lessons, and learn how concepts in the realm of fitness can be applied to their everyday lives.
A Support System, A Positive Influence, And A Sense Of Belonging Is The True Definition Of Family
Many of the kids come from backgrounds with very little support, positive role models, or a sense of direction.
Through the help of the volunteer coaches and staff, the teens leave feeling like they’ve gained a whole new set of family members.
“The kids encourage others more than thinking about themselves. They don’t think about beating other kids in the workouts. They think about getting through the workout with each other, and that helps a lot,” said Liric, a member of Unbroken Kids, a Local Club in Tennessee.
“When they are encouraging me, I encourage them right back and I shine. It’s helping me a lot because I know that they are going through the same struggles.”
“I feel like it’s family,” said Kleymer, a 15-year-old from Steve’s Club Nashville.
“I feel loved, welcomed, and appreciated….and pushed,” she said with a mile-wide smile.
Through the challenges faced at Camp, a shared passion for CrossFit, and hearing each others’ stories of struggle, these at-risk teens forged meaningful connections with each other.
“CrossFit Is The Common Denominator”:
Positive Change Is Created Through Hard Workouts, Encouragement, And Persistence
Under the tutelage of coaches like two-time Olympian in Olympic Weightlifting Chad Vaughn, elite CrossFit Games individual athlete Christy Adkins, and CrossFit HQ and Seminar Staff member Cherie Chan, the teens learn the proper techniques of Olympic weightlifting and CrossFit movements while also being exposed to what they can achieve with positive-thinking, hard work, and determination.
“I like to see change in people. That positive change may be a product of a few things that I say to them, but mostly it is what they have done for themselves,” Vaughn said.
“Immediately, within the first 30 minutes of working with them, you see something special. You see light in every single one of them. What stuck out to me the most was the level of sincere kindness, respect, and appreciation for one another and everyone else involved, in spite of the very tough, very sad, stories I heard from each of them about what they have been through or their current situation.”
It made Vaughn wonder, in spite of all of this hardship, what was the turning point for them?
Why didn’t they end up on the street alongside so many of the other kids from their neighborhoods?
And perhaps most of all, how did they end up in this position of being noticed, and further molded to be a positive example and leader?
“As difficult as each of the kids’ stories were to hear and accept, of all that they had been through, and are still going through, they were even more encouraging and uplifting. All 22 stories ended with, “and then I found CrossFit!”
Steve’s Club National Program partners with gyms across the country to provide at-risk teens with a place of safety, positivity, and hope. A source of confidence and a sense of worth.
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