“What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly.”- Lao Tzu
Affiliate of the Month: From Cancer Research, to Neglected Animals, to Women in Need, and Recovery Programs: Ohio Affiliate Committed to “Noble Causes”
Any gym owner who has hosted a competition knows it’s a ton of work that often doesn’t provide a financial return on their time investment.
But this doesn’t matter to gym owners Seth and Carmen Hill, the owners of Great Oaks CrossFit in Wadsworth, OH. Every year they host multiple competitions and donate the profits to a local charity.
The details: In 2023, the Great Oaks CrossFit community donated money to neglected animals, women in need, addiction recovery services, and cancer research.
Last summer, their fifth annual women’s only competition raised money for Rahab Ministries, a charity that provides support to women in need, and their Summer Sizzler competition raised $1,200 for their county’s SPCA.
Further, they held a Pump and Run competition in the fall involving bench pressing a percentage of your body weight and a 5k run that raised money for a local fitness recovery program—Running2BWell—that provides a fitness program and shoes for those in addictions recovery, halfway houses and jails.
And finally, last October, they hosted their first-ever 24-Hour WODathon that raised $11,800 for the Cleveland Cancer Research Clinic. Considering their gym has five women who have experienced breast cancer, the decision to raise money for cancer research was a no-brainer.
Each year they select different charities that are meaningful to them, explained Seth, a recovering alcoholic with 19 years sober. That being said, the Hills insist their 180 members are the ones leading the charge.
“It’s our members and we just go along with it. We pick the ideas that we feel are the most noble and the most needed,” Seth said. “All our members love to do this stuff, and working out while we’re doing it is the easiest way to show support.”
“Our community is amazing. I don’t know what we would do without them,” Carmen added.
One big thing: The impetus to run multiple events each year might be to raise money for charity, but the Hills said it’s also the easiest way to get more people signed up for their competitions.
“And it’s easy to hike up the registration fee by a couple of dollars and say, ‘This is for charity,’ so it helps us get more people through the doors for these competitions because it’s a noble cause,” Seth said.
The big picture: Eight years into gym ownership, the Hills don’t think about running events as extra work or difficult. It has just become part of their culture at Great Oaks CrossFit, and they feel it’s the least they can do considering all that CrossFit has given to them.
“I was always active and considered myself to be somewhat healthy before CrossFit, but as soon as I joined I became so addicted right away and it changed my life in so many ways. And I really really believe in what we’re doing here, and I know there’s so much need for it out there,” Seth said.
So, they will continue to do their part, and continue to give back in any way they can.
“We are just going to go a little better and better in 2024,” he said.
Fueling Change: Ready to Redefine Your Eating Experience?
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Log your daily workout for one point each day, up to five points each week.
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Now that 2024 is here, we want to take a look at some of the questions nagging us as we head into the new year and the new CrossFit Games season.
The season itself will look mostly the same in 2024. The Open will once again be three weeks long and followed by Quarterfinals, however, the qualifying window has been expanded from the 10% out of the Open to the top 25%, allowing a larger group to extend their Games season.
Teen Adaptive Athlete Elina Villemure Welcomes Challenge into Her Life, Looks to Inspire Others to Do the Same
The non-profit Forging Youth Resilience is a charitable organization, whose mission is to bring fitness, mentorship, and support to youth in underserved and underprivileged communities. They do this by partnering with gyms across the country.
The organization began as Steve’s Club National Program in 2007, and in 2021 rebranded to become Forging Youth Resilience or simply, “FYR.”
Over the years, countless FYR coaches have worked with athletes throughout the country, introducing them to fitness, and helping them to set goals and find strength via fitness and physical challenges.
One such athlete is 19-year-old Elina Villemure.
brought to her home in Detroit, MI in the fall of 2010. Born without a right leg, at age four, her left leg was amputated, as she was missing bones in her ankle and foot from birth.
A self-proclaimed life-long athlete, Villemure has pursued sports and activities for as long as she can remember. She reminisces about playing catch with her brothers and swimming. For six years she rode horses competitively and has never shied away from a physical challenge, despite her limitations.
Several years ago, Villemure trained and completed a 100-mile bike ride, through Michigan, that took her three days to complete.
When asked why she seeks out such feats, she shares that her mission is to inspire others.
“Impacting others is what keeps me going. Knowing that I am inspiring others, and also the support I receive, and knowing so many people believe in me. Support and inspiration are what fuels me to keep going,” Villemure said.
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