I Support Steve’s Club: An Olympian Gives Back
- 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:
- Start a Local Club in your community.
- Volunteer your time as a coach or mentor to an existing Local Club.
- Donate to help us start new Local Clubs in communities that need it.