Officer Kaera Watson of the Rockford, IL Police Department has started a program called FITGirls. Once a week, Officer Watson meets with middle school and high school girls to work out, talk about life goals and share what they have going on in their lives.
“The girls know my story and why I do what I do which helps me relate to them besides just being a police officer,” said Watson.
What’s the story?
In 2012, Watson agreed to meet a friend at QTown CrossFit in Quincy, IL.
“She told me to meet her at the gym and every day at 3 o’clock she showed up and kicked my butt.” But something kept bringing her back.
“Even though I couldn’t afford it, then co-owner Sam Dancer, allowed me to workout there where I learned about the community and what CrossFit really was about. I wouldn’t have passed my police physical agility test without this experience,” Watson told us.
Giving back through CrossFit.
In November, home on maternity leave, Watson began thinking about how much CrossFit had impacted her life, weight problems and relationship with food in such a positive way.
“CrossFit has allowed me to work through those things that have weighed on me for years and move on… I also love my job and work hard to build relationships with the community I serve and I thought a great way to do that would be to merge two of my favorite things.”
So she started FITGirls.
Right now, FITGirls is halfway through it’s first 12-week program. Once the first session is through, the police department will look into expanding the program and starting a second session.
The girls have responded well and Watson is hopeful for the programs future.
“Every single session I see confidence being built and them pushing beyond what they thought was possible…Just because one grows up in poverty or with the odds stacked against them that doesn’t mean you can’t be who you want to be and overcome stereotypes,” Watson said.
“I also strive to build a relationship as a police officer with our community here in Rockford, IL and what better way than to mentor these girls and equip them with the tools to work through anything in life.”