Coaching Kids in a COVID Lockdown
When the pandemic of 2020 hit, many people were forced to change their lives. For Ben Roberts, it meant moving home and leaving an exciting new fitness opportunity in the Middle East and returning to a statewide lockdown in North Carolina. But despite his disappointment, he was determined to make an impact in the fitness community in any way he could.
One big thing: As the pandemic grew worse, Roberts saw a growing need for kids to be able to get outside and be active after being locked up in their homes all day. With the help of one of his former athletes, he began to formulate a plan.
- The program was called “CrossFit Kids in the Park” and has given more than 40 kids ages 5-12 a chance to get outside, socialize, and move around.
- While based in the methodology of traditional CrossFit, Robert’s main goal was to make sure the kids were able to focus on good movement, proper body mechanics, and most importantly, teamwork.
- Within 24 hours of announcing the class, all slots were already filled and just a few days later, the kids and Roberts hit the park for their first workout.
More than just fitness: While the program is a chance for kids to burn off that extra energy from staying inside, it’s more than just air squats and burpees. It’s a chance for kids to socialize in a safe environment during a time where social interaction is limited to Zoom calls and Facetime.
- “It’s a bit of normalcy and interaction that our kids so desperately need during this time,” says one parent. “Our children look forward to seeing Coach Ben every week!”
- “I only hope the kids have fun, go home and tell their parents how much they enjoy it,” said Roberts.
- “We are putting down the foundation of healthy and fun habits they can take with them in their young lives,” Roberts added.
- “For me, nothing is more exciting than seeing the grins on the faces of the children when they arrive and the look of satisfaction when they leave,” he concluded.
Moving forward: Roberts hopes to continue to grow this program even beyond the pandemic and continue providing fitness to children of the Briar Chapel community in North Carolina.
- “I think there is an opportunity to continue this program going post Covid,” said Roberts.
- “My long term goal would be to continue to develop this program and work with other communities that have HOA’s who see the value in keeping kids active through the CrossFit Kids methodology,” he added.