“To offer a man unsolicited advice is to presume that he doesn't know what to do or that he can't do it on his own.”- John Gray
How All Level CrossFit and the Chasing Hazel Foundation Promote Connection and Comradery Through CrossFit
All Level CrossFit in Windsor, Ontario, Canada has been operating as an affiliate for approximately ten years.
But in July of 2018, owner John Mack made a change to the classes, offerings and community that drastically impacted who All Level was as a gym, what they stood for, thus defining their core values moving forward.
Some background: At the time, Steph Seguin’s daughter, Hazel, who has Down Syndrome was five years old. Steph saw the writing on the wall that as Hazel became older, she would find herself with fewer opportunities for community and growth.
As adolescents with Down Syndrome approach teenage years, the opportunities dwindle. They are able to remain in public school until age 21, but beyond that, there aren’t many activities and programs available, let alone many that are inclusive.
Inspired by her two daughters and with the ultimate goal of inclusion, Steph formed the Chasing Hazel Foundation, a registered charity that advocates for people with Down Syndrome of all ages. They organize, assist and lead community programs that promote inclusivity.
Chasing Hazel Foundation: “We advocate for inclusion on all levels and compassionas a means to strengthen our community as a whole. We have a vision for the future to be a more accepting place where potential is highlighted, differences are celebrated and the uniqueness of each individual person is respected and appreciated.”
With the ethos of CrossFit in mind, (the ultimate community builder with universal scalability), Seguin and Mack combined forces to create fully inclusive classes at All Level CrossFit, incorporating typical athletes alongside adaptive athletes.
Seguin and Mack began a pilot program, with four teenage athletes, all with intellectual disabilities. This first step was not inclusive, as the athletes were coached on their own, separated from the group classes, but it gave Sequin and Mack motivation to continue to grow the program and push it to what they hoped it would become.
CrossFit’s model was already perfect: everything was modifiable, adaptable, scaleable. What Steph and John wanted was an inclusive program, where everyone is working at their own levels.
“It was a sticking point–how can we maintain the authenticity of inclusion,” said Seguin.
The big picture: What Mack and Seguin hoped for and dreamed, is what All Levels has become today. There are multiple “inclusive classes” a week that serve as a stepping stone, have extra accommodations and volunteers to make sure all the people in the class have what they need to be successful, including typical members.
After this “phase in” process, after adaptive athletes are given a chance to become comfortable in the new environment, they are then given the option to join the group classes.
“Those inclusive classes are stacked with typical members and adaptive athletes and we all work out together,” said Mack.
All Level CrossFit: “The All Level Adaptive Athlete class is a place where everyone belongs. It models inclusion, acceptance, and partnership for people of ALL abilities. Using CrossFit we focus on promoting physical and mental fitness, as well as the integration of all our athletes,”
📖 📚 Good Read: Check out this piece in Business Insider on Annie Thorisdottir’s experience with childbirth, postpartum depression and training her way back to the CrossFit Games (and her identity).
The Fittest of the Coast Online Qualifier starts on September 28. There will be 41 divisions competing at the January competition in Charleston, SC. Register now!
Dave Castro sat in on the Mike Ritland podcastand among other things, mentioned that the Games would be “changing format” this year, that “95%” of the tests will be held indoors, and that before selecting Fort Worth, he and the Games team “really liked” Birmingham, AL as the next host location.
The Fittest Experience Online Qualifier starts tomorrow, September 27, and registration closes on October 3. Here’s the qualifier equipment list.
🧮 🧮 Need help converting meters, calories and time across different cardio machines? Check out this useful chart from Functional Bodybuilding and Rogue Fitness.
Who's Competing at the 2023 Down Under Championship?
The leaderboards for the Down Under Championship qualifiers (DUCQ) have been finalized, and invites have been sent to the top:
20 Elite Individuals, men and women
20 Elite Teams, male and female teams
8 Futures, male and female (16-19 years)
8 Masters, men and women in each age group
16 Intermediate Teams, male and female
Remind me: The Down Under Championship (DUC) is Australia’s largest off-season competition. Online qualifiers took place over two weeks–September 4-8 for Elite Individuals and Teams, and August 21-25 for Futures, Masters and Intermediate teams.
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