This week concluded an 8-week CrossFit program we held for a local branch of the Boys and Girls Club. To say I was pleased with the outcome would be an understatement. To say I was inspired by the kids would not entirely capture all this program meant. The group of 12 kids ranged in age from 13 – 18. I don’t know their specific backgrounds, but I do know they’d never heard of CrossFit before we started – and after week 1, I’m pretty sure, they wished they never had. None of them wanted to come back. But they did. For 7 more weeks.
I could talk about how we tested/re-tested a WOD and a strength and the kids, on average, doubled their AMRAP and max pull-up scores after 8 weeks.
I could talk about how three of them signed up and ran a 5K (a first for them) around week 6 of the program – in the freezing rain/sleet – and couldn’t wait to tell us how they did the next time they came in for class.
I could talk about how I described their form and technique on day 1 as “wet noodles” flopping to the ground, squatting in their knees, the girls squealing with each rep and the boys tripping over each other – and by week 8 how their squats were damn near perfect, their range of motion increased and the “noodle” factor – well, no longer really a factor.
And those things alone would be enough to define “success.”
But so much more happened….
At the end of the program, we asked each participant to reflect on the past 8 weeks – what they learned, what surprised them, did they reach their goals they’d set on our goal board, etc. One by one, even the shyest ones spoke. One girl opened with “I hated coming…” – one of her goals was to “be more positive” – but I’m really glad I did because I did things I didn’t think I could do and having the support of everyone helped me push myself harder.” Some spoke of how their grades improved, how they became leaders on their various sports teams and how they acted with virtuosity (a word we taught them on day one and asked them to keep in mind throughout the program) not just inside the walls of CrossFit DeCO or the Boys and Girls Club, but at school and home as well.
One of the students “liked” DeCO’s facebook page, so I decided to check out her profile to see if she made mention of her CrossFit experience. Boy did she ever:
When it came time to say goodbye, I thought the kids would run (faster than they used to, of course) out the door – but there were hugs all round, a chorus of “thank yous” and even one who couldn’t hold back tears.
Was the program a success? By every possible definition, a resounding yes.