Ask an Expert on Running a Youth Fitness Program
You have questions, we have answers. This month we spoke with John Wegner, the youth fitness director of Harbor Athletic Club, on running a diverse youth fitness program.
What are the benefits of offering a wide range of youth fitness programs?
JW: As such a family-oriented club, offering a great variety of youth fitness programs gives everyone in the family something to do when they are at Harbor. We work hard to schedule activities at times when both the parents and children can be in the club being active. There is nothing better for a family than being active together. When we can be a one-stop shop for families they are going to end up spending most of their time here, and with a positive healthy experience, they are going to be long-term members.
What is your most popular youth fitness class?
JW: One of our most popular classes is the Obstacle Warrior class. Kids are given an opportunity to run around throughout the gym from obstacle to obstacle. Anytime you throw something in their way that they need to duck under, run through, swing from and push themselves while doing, they love it. In addition, they are being timed by trainers and encouraged and cheered on by their peers. This gives them a goal to shoot for and a time to beat, building self-esteem and courage.
What is the FIT Pass for child athletes? Why is this a good option?
JW: There are a variety of classes that we offer at Harbor that are included in the child’s membership. However, we also offer some classes that require a FIT Pass because they are a more involved class being lead by certified personal trainers. These are classes for kids that want to have a blast, but also really excel in their physical fitness. The other awesome thing about the FIT Pass is that it can be shared among family members. FIT Passes can be bought in packs of 10 or 20 at a much-reduced rate, giving families an affordable option for attending these fee-based classes.
Why did you want to offer a Parent’s Night Out?
JW: It gives the parents the option of going out and spending some time together, alone. While they are out they can be rest-assured that their son or daughter is having a great time being active in a safe and healthy environment. When the kids come hang out for the evening, they are given options as to activities they want to do, making it a great environment for a variety of ages and interests.
What qualities should youth fitness staff boast?
JW: Our youth fitness staff really love working with kids and seeing their development. As someone who has worked with kids for seven-plus years, I’ve found that the energy and attitude you have is directly reflected in them. In that energy, patience is key. Kids respond much better being told what they can do as opposed to what they can’t.