For five years, Freakin’ CrossFit in Pembroke Pines, Florida, has been holding two weeks of summer camp.
About 24 kids, ages 5 to 11, gather at the gym from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. for days full of fitness, fun and learning. Faith Kuhn, the director of the camp, didn’t set out to be in charge of the offering. Maryln Kaufman, the gym’s office manager, was initially approached about the camp by her sons who own the gym. Kaufman hesitated, so Kuhn jumped in and said she’d help her. “I love that kind of stuff,” shared Kuhn.
Since then, Kaufman has been running the behind the scenes of the camp while Kuhn directs the front end. She starts in February, planning the curriculum for the two-week program in June. “I’ve kept basically the same structure, but I’ve become better at what I do,” said Kuhn. “I don’t repeat lessons. I teach anatomy, but I teach it differently or something different or different games.”
Every day from Monday to Friday, the afternoons of camp are spent with the kids rotating through three different fitness stations for 1.5 hours: CrossFit, gymnastics and a ninja course, each taught by experts. The mornings vary. Kuhn said the first week of this year’s camp is focusing on bones, the second week on muscles. She will teach a short lesson and then play a game. For example, a game this year around the bones lesson has kids picking up bone cut-outs and taping them onto counselors. The hands-on elements help kids learn.
Kuhn said every year they also talk about hydration. Last year, the large project taught kids about added sugar in products like Gatorade, juice boxes and even Starbucks drinks. She explained one of her seven-year-old campers came to her after the project and said, “Miss Faith, do I have to take this home?” Telling him yes, he replied, “You’re going to ruin my life.” It made the kids, and their parents, think about what they were drinking.
On top of learning, one day each week Kuhn said they’ll do a fun day. For the first week this year, it’ll be a water day with an 18-foot water slide, slip n’ slide and more. The second week they will bring in a 25-foot free standing rock wall.
This year, Kuhn said they are doing something special at camp. Monday will be spent teaching the kids sign language, specifically how to sign their name and short phrases. They will practice all week in hopes to present what they learned to their parents during the parent program on Friday. The idea behind this is that Kuhn also wishes to address certain aspects of sportsmanship, bullying, etc. “We also want to talk about kids who aren’t like us physically,” she said.
All in all, over the five years Kuhn has learned several things about hosting a summer camp:
Ultimately, Kuhn’s motivation for running a successful summer camp at Freakin’ CrossFit hits home, and she hopes the impact of the camps lasts for many years to come. “It’s fun for me to create a camp that I want my grandkids to go to and my older granddaughter to work at,” she said. “Teach the kids how to be better versions of themselves, how to feed themselves well, and that comes from teaching them a little bit about their bodies.”
Bonus Tip: Each day, Kuhn makes easy, nutritious snacks with the campers. She hopes they and their parents will be able to build a better breakfast at home with the snack ideas they gain from camp.
Want more tips on how to create a summer camps? Check out the “Creating a Summer Kids’ Camp” story.