Nevada Affiliate Offers Subsidized, Free Training to Adaptive Athletes, First Responders, Military, Nurses, Teachers
Greig Jameson always knew he wanted to do something to help children with disabilities, but he wasn’t sure how or what. Then in 2011, weighing more than 300 pounds, Jameson found CrossFit and so began a journey that led him to lose 80 pounds.
That’s when the wheels started turning.
Having grown up in a family of first responders and teachers, and as an adult finding himself surrounded by many first responders and military veterans, Jameson immediately saw how the fitness and social aspects of CrossFit could help first responders and military veterans, as well as children with disabilities all at once.
These thoughts were the foundation of his gym, Upstate Nevada in Reno, NV, a non-profit CrossFit affiliate that offers reduced prices or free training to people they define as “everyday heroes.”
The details: Upstate Nevada, which Jameson opened in 2017, serves both active and retired military, all first responders, teachers, nurses and adults and children with physical or cognitive impairments.
- Some of their members pay the base rate of $70 a month, while “everyday heroes” receive free training, and those who can afford to donate an additional $70 a month—bringing their membership to $140 a month—of which the surplus goes to subsidizing another member’s training.
- Further, in order to adequately compensate his two full-time and six part-time coaches, Upstate Nevada, a 501c3, also relies on cash donations and fundraisers, such as their annual golf tournament that generally raises $20,000 a year.
- “We also go to local small businesses and we have a sliding scale of which you can donate. So $70 a month covers a (monthly) membership for somebody…and $1,680 covers a membership for an adult and a child with a disability for one year,” explained Jameson, who also works as a firefighter and EMT.
The big picture: Today, Upstate Nevada, an affiliate with 250 members, is home to a large population of military veterans and first responders, including 20 veterans in a local addictions program, as well as 25 adaptive athletes. And when you put all of these people together, Jameson explained, magic happens.
- “I kind of had an idea about this dynamic, but I didn’t realize how well it would actually work…The first responder community sees that negative part of life for their jobs. So seeing all those negative parts of life, and then you throw the CrossFit physical activity in there to help give you that balance, but then on top of it we now have these adaptive athletes, specifically children, working out in the same room, and the positivity that comes out of that has created this dynamic that we didn’t expect. (It has changed) the first responders outlook on life,” Jameson said.
- He added: “When you start something like this, you always say, ‘If I could help one person it would all be worth it,’ and it has greatly exceeded what we ever thought it would be.”
It’s a message Jameson is eager to share with anyone looking to run a similar gym.
“I’ll give you everything I have…It’s not proprietary. I want to spread the word,” he said.
Donate to Upstate Nevada here.