Featured Event: Summer Leadership Camp 2015

Posted on September 17, 2015 by Steve Liberati

Steve’s Club athletes from across the country recently gathered at a National Guard training base in Fort Indiantown, PA, for the third annual Summer Leadership Camp. The week-long event challenged 25 young men and women with exercises in team building, leadership and personal development.

Organized by Steve’s Club National Program, the camp gives the leaders of Local Clubs the opportunity to meet other athletes from the program. This year there were athletes from Texas, New Jersey, Tennessee, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Guest coaches came to speak with the kids about a variety of topics including self acceptance, leadership, mental toughness, goal setting, team building, public speaking, injury prevention, nutrition and cooking basics.  


A long-time supporter of Steve’s Club, Austin Malleolo attended camp for the third year with fellow CrossFit Games athletes Spencer Hendel and James Hobart. 



Other CrossFit seminar staff members volunteered including Jennifer Hunter-Marshall and Aimee Lyons, who is also a leader of Steve’s Club King of Prussia.


Daily WODS, yoga, Olympic lifting, running and gymnastics clinics were included in the programming to challenge the athletes physically and test their mental fortitude.



The athletes completed a challenging group obstacle course while keeping a raw egg intact as they moved through the course in silence. Group members used non-verbal communication and teamwork to help each other complete the obstacles.


Also on the agenda was hiking with group sandbag carries. Many had never been hiking before. 


Numerous attendees cited the Leadership Reaction Course as the highlight of their week. This unique course is designed to challenge each athlete while promoting teamwork and efficient problem solving. A leader of each group was selected at random for each task and given instructions, and he or she would lead the group through the challenge. The task pictured below was to get all team members and the box across to the other side using only the planks of wood and rope provided.


Throughout the week athletes and camp guests were asked to share a quote for our ‘Wall of Inspiration’.


From the Inspiration Wall:

  • “If it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you.” – unknown
  • “Who are you not to be successful, your playing small serves no one!” - Nelson Mandela (chosen by Ray from Camden)
  • “Everything gets better in time…just be patient. I promise you that, because I went through it.” (chosen by Eddie from NYC)
  • “Today I am going to do what you won’t, so tomorrow I can do what you can’t.” (chosen by Coach Spencer Hendel)
  • “What the mind can conceive the body can achieve.” (chosen by Coach Aimee Lyons)
  • “Do or do not there is no try.” - Yoda (chosen by Coach Jennifer Hunter-Marshall)
  • “Dare to be great!” - Coach Steve Liberati

The evenings of camp gave kids and coaches an opportunity to share stories with the group, offering them an outlet to get to know each other on a personal level. They connected while empathizing over similar struggles. Through this vulnerability, inspiration blossomed.

“These kids are great examples of perseverance,” said Coach Kelly from Kelly’s Champions. “Listening to their testimonials has been inspiring, and makes me want to be a better Coach, mentor and father to my own children.”

“The kids grow and transform from the beginning of camp to the end,” said Coach LeAnn from Team Fearless. “They’ve completed obstacles, faced challenges and overcome them – together. The resilience and courage they’ve shown to face the physical and emotional challenges at camp has inspired me. The strength it took for them to open up and tell their stories is amazing and humbling.”


The last day and evening of camp was all about FUN. There was a picnic BBQ at Memorial Lake complete with volleyball, kayaking and games, as well as a campfire with s’mores.  

Before the kids boarded the vans for home, one last inspirational quote was read.

“In the present day when cynicism and aloof detachment are considered the cool trend, this quote by Teddy Roosevelt reminds us that glory and honor come to those who spend themselves in a worthy and just cause,” said former camp coach Abe, in a message sent from overseas where he is serving as a Marine.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena…who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds…who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…”
- Theodore Roosevelt

*Watch this year's camp video: