Kids ages 5-11 stood on a linoleum floor. The room was buzzing with excitement — they were going to learn how to box, just without contact. So, with enthusiasm, they learned how to do a pushup, …
Kids ages 5-11 stood on a linoleum floor. The room was buzzing with excitement — they were going to learn how to box, just without contact. So, with enthusiasm, they learned how to do a pushup, crunches and practiced how to throw a jab and cross.
The very first class of the Post 26 Big Horn Boxing Club, “the Lil Tykes,” met on Jan. 22. There class was followed by an adult class, a youth (12-17) program and an adult program. The classes meet every Monday night.
Following the club’s first night in late January, the club has continued to grow, said David Holland, the club coordinator.
“I've been in this business for a while. So I don't know what to expect. We went from 14 to 16, in the Lil Tykes program and then our cardio boxing class has grown by the numbers, and then we went from 20 to 24 in our boxing program,” Holland said.
The Post 26 Big Horn Basin Boxing Club features programs for children, youth (12-18) and adults ages 18 and over and a cardio boxing class. Classes are free to children 18 and under and $6 per class for adults or a five class punch card for $25. All proceeds go back into the program.
The American Legion-founded program was announced on social media last December, and since then the club has become a registered nonprofit — the Big Horn Basin Youth Empowerment Project.
The club’s programs are all non-contact, although Holland sees the potential for competition in the future.
“I think the biggest thing that we're amped up with is that with this youth program, it's free for all youth, and so any kid that wants to come in, and train and work out, is going to have that ability now,” Holland said.
The credit for the program goes to the community, Holland said; Jess Campbell at Freedom Fitness has offered use of equipment and help with training, and Will Lavine of Walkout FC has offered his help as the club progresses. The American Legion Auxiliary has also donated water and fruit before practice. Powell High School’s Child Development class will also be offering child care during the knockout class from 4:45-5:30 p.m. Other businesses and organizations have also pitched in to help the budding club which currently has eight to 10 volunteers.
“It's not me, it's the community, it's been everybody working together with this. When everybody works together as a team … you see the success of programs like these, and looking at other boxing programs, it's truly saved kids’ lives,” Holland said.
The class instructors are all volunteers who are certified through USA Boxing and have passed background checks.
Holland, a veteran with boxing experience and training certification was asked by Tim Heine, the Legion commander, to lead the class.
“My big thing is taking care of the youth of the community, because it's the youth of the community that's going to help maintain the community in the future. So the more that I can show that the community is for the youth, as they grow up, the youth get more invested in the community, and we keep the community rolling,” Heine said. “So I wanted to do something that gave the youth something to do other than roaming around [and] getting into trouble.”
The best way to do this, Heine said, was to offer something after school where parents know that their kids are safe.
“We want to build a culture of community here, where we're teaching them how to have good character and how to have good core values,” Holland said.
A leadership program is also in development for the club’s youth athletes. Through this program the athletes can give back to the Lil Tykes programs and the community.
The athletes in the leadership program could volunteer to help out with commodities distribution, community clean up and other forms of community services.
“We wanted to set something up so that the people in the boxing program are giving back to the community to show the community that this program is more than just learning to box,” Heine said.