Every Tuesday night in Prairie City people are working up a sweat by dancing, cranking out jumping jacks during boot camp, and going through a fast-paced kickboxing class. And a lot of them are smiling.
“We’re just hoping that they get that exercise is fun! That you don’t have to be miserable every time you do a pushup or sit up or squat!” Tammy Steenhoek is one of the volunteers who started “PCM Fit Kids” in the fall of 2010. Back then about 25 kids were showing up each week, now nearly 60 are here to workout.
Allison Stafford loves it – and says she’s also learning a lot. “Yeah, we talk about a lot of other stuff like our calories, what we need to eat …” and what NOT to eat! “Yeah, you’re a kid, you want candy and everything!!!”
This is a community effort. A local church bought all of the equipment and lets the group use the gym for free. Fitness instructors and coaches donate their time. People are here because they care about kids being healthy.
“It’s a non-profit,” Tammy explains, “the kids pay a registration if they’re able and all the money goes to our facilities in town, like the sports and rec facilities in Prairie City and Monroe. If any family can’t afford it, then we just waive the fee and they get to participate, and all the parents all work out for free.”
Issac Tefler says that’s how his mom got involved. “This is the first time my mom came,” he says with a grin, “I just talked to her and she said, ‘Wow! This really works your butt!!!”
We can attest to that … and we only got in on the kickboxing portion of the evening! Something called “dead ant tag” rounds out the workout. It’s a high energy game that has everyone laughing and sweating… proof that getting fit can be a lot of fun.
“We’re hoping this starts habits, so even if they chose not to do sports in school they can still do other activities that are fun and get sweaty and burn some calories, too.”