A Knight in Shining Amour is a Man Who Has Never Had His Metal Tested
As I traveled west on the PA turnpike at 70 mph (because that's the speed limit out here) it was shocking to see how different this region of Pennsylvania is from Philly. Don't get me wrong I love the culture, the hustle and bustle, and the FOOD of Philly. However, the rolling hills out here that were full of greenery, certainly live up to the term God's Country. Upon arrival it was inspiring to see all the service men and women in their uniforms, hard at work, protecting us from threats both at home and abroad. It made me think about how brave soldiers like that sacrifice daily, so that we may gather to participate in events like Steve's Club Leadership Camp.
When I arrived, the group of 28 campers and a handful of staff had just completed a WOD. I could tell by the flustered facial expressions, sweaty foreheads and their disheveled appearance that it was a Tough WOD (the kind I usually skip). I then witnessed the campers fumble through roll call which resulted in 5 burpees. A task that they would do a lot more over the course of the day. The campers were full of energy and were all welcoming as I took a head shot after head shot for each and every one of them. They spoke of being from places I had never been like Cashville (Nashville), Denver, and Alaska. There were also campers from places that I visit frequently like Camden, Philly, and Pennsauken. Although they had ventured from different regions and across time zones they all had one thing in common. They were glad and thankful to be here in Fort Indiantown Gap.
The campers were provided with a healthy snack and reminded to hydrate hydrate hydrate! The campers then made the quarter mile trek to the basketball courts to put in some work. It was there that they were lead by Coach Jack and Coach Matt in a progression that addressed the components needed to successfully complete a one legged squat, also know as a pistol. As the campers worked together in partners I was able to capture their excitement through the art of photography. The campers were nearing the half way point of a spicy WOD when ZAP!! lighting struck in the distance and Coach Steve made the executive decision to head back indoors. He emphasized that while fitness is the goal, safety is first! Once back indoors the campers worked as a unit to transform the mess hall into a House of Gainz! The campers completed a work out that caused chaos on the core. The workout culminated with a plank challenge. During the challenge one camper pulled of an accomplishment that I had never seen the likes of in all my years of CrossFit. He planked for 6 minutes and 30 seconds! If that doesn't impress you, I challenge you to give it a shot and see how close you can get. It was a sight to see, as his fellow campers rallied around him and cheered for his success and commended him on his epic feat. After rearranging the mess hall the group earned some down time, during this less structured time many of the campers showered, hung out , relaxed, enjoyed each other's company.
When it was time for roll call, the campers once again had to bang out some burpees. After getting back on track they were treated to a healthy yet tasty meal that was prepared by some of the campers under the direction of master chef Coach Elise. Smiles filled the room as stomachs filled with the delectable dining. When everyone finished eating, Coach Duncan provided the campers with a brief history on who he is and how he became passionate about the science of counseling. His knowledge and love for helping others was evident by the way he spoke and explained what it meant to be resilient. The campers paid close attention and participated in the activities that Coach Duncan led. The 28 campers were engaged and participated actively. I am sure that they all became more aware of what it means to be resilient.
After the lesson from Coach Duncan it was time for circle sharing. It was during this time when the mess hall transformed into a complete open and judgement free zone. Two coaches and two veteran campers shared their stories and the life events that brought them to the point where they are today. This was a moving experience that words cannot describe. The four individuals shared their lowest and most shameful moments with people whom they didn't know 48 hours ago. The room was silent as pain, fear, and heartbreak was shared. Each person who shared was faced with adversity and with the help of others they made it through. They each expressed thankfulness for growth that occurred and accepted that the past helped to create the better person they were today. There were tears that were shed thought out the room but that is to be expected when people with good hearts are emphatic toward others. But with each one of the speakers, after the struggle came progress. Today was truly a great day, one that I will never forget.
Coach JD and Coach Matt