Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
Child and Youth Services’ Youth Sports and Fitness brought Fort Leavenworth youth together for a socially distanced Fitness Camp Aug. 24-27 at Normandy Field.
The four-day camp was led by Jason Fullen, YSF assistant director, and Mallory Barnhouse, YSF fitness specialist.
“It gets them that social interaction with kids their own age that they may not be getting right now because of (COVID-19),” Fullen said. “It’s a different perspective on exercise.”
“Seeing another kid doing what you’re doing … is a motivator as well,” added Patrick Shelton, YSF director.
During the camps, children were taught bodyweight exercises, agility and reactive exercises, sprints and plyometrics and then ended the camp with fitness obstacle courses and relay races.
“It gives them a taste of a little bit of everything involved with fitness,” Fullen said.
The Fitness Camp had two sessions, with 5- and 6-year-olds followed by 10- and 11-year olds.
Denysse Alcantar’s daughter, 6-year-old Ariana Alcantar, was part of the morning group.
“It’s good to get (Ariana) out to meet new kids because she’ll make friends with anybody,” she said. “She enjoys being in settings like this.”
“My main thing for her is to just be active,” Alcantar said. “Because of COVID-19, she’s been missing playing with friends a lot, and she’s been indoors a lot. We try to get out as much as possible, but I’m still kind of on the, ‘I don’t want to be around too many people’ spectrum.
Christine Farrington, mom of 5-year-old Chris, said she signed him up for the camp for multiple reasons.
“I signed Chris up to give him opportunities to interact with his peers,” Farrington said. “We’ve decided to homeschool him this year due to COVID-19, so opportunities like this camp are so huge for him when it comes to feeling like a ‘normal’ kid.
“With COVID came many challenges and difficult decisions for our family,” she said. “When I saw the flyer for the camp my heart exploded with happiness that he would have something to do with his peers.”
Farrington said fitness is important to her family, too.
“Being physically active helps our mood, it brings us together as a family through shared interest and activity, and it’s modeling a healthy lifestyle for our three boys that we hope they will continue into their adulthood,” she said.
Finally, Farrington said signing up for the camp has also helped personally since her husband is currently deployed and won’t return until next year.
“This camp honestly helps a lot. When his dad is home, they spend weekends taking long bike rides to (Sherman Army Airfield) or through the city,” Farrington said. “Missing both his father figure who is honestly his best friend and role model, and missing that extra physical activity, it’s been so incredibly helpful for him to have coaches to connect to. …There’s no replacement for a father, but a coach can make a huge impact in a child’s life.”
The next CYS Youth Sports and Fitness 2020 Fitness Camp for ages 5-14 is Aug. 31 through Sept. 3 at Normandy Field. Age groups will be split up into 5-8 years old from 9-10 a.m., 9-10 years old from 10:30-11:30 a.m., and 11-14 years old from noon to 1 p.m.
To register, visit https://webtrac.mwr.army.mil/webtrac.