Exercise is an important part of our schedule at Blue Haven Children’s home. Our boys love football (soccer), and some of them play in bare feet! Our girls get a great workout whenever they practice their energetic dance routines. And this fall David (a USA volunteer serving with the TellASIA Lucknow team) taught the kids to play Ultimate Frisbee, a fast-moving no-contact game emphasizing team work.
After living at the Children’s Home for a few months, Shari (David’s wife) decided the kids would benefit from a regular, mandatory exercise program. “Our kids need some good old-fashioned physical activity to make them breathe hard, sweat, and come home with rosy cheeks.” Drawing from her own experience at a gym in the USA where she learned that workouts can be fun, Shari designed a challenging class that would be fun for kids. “When you tell kids to do 20 pushups, they are bored. When you ask them to waddle 30 meters for the duck walk, do one lap of the goofy stork walk, or get on all fours for cats-and-dogs, you have their attention.” Our Blue Haven exercise class has lots of laughter, a few animal noises, and audible groans as new muscles get stretched and put to use.”
David and Shari led the class for a few months. The kids learned the exercises, and Shari varied the routine each session so no one knew what was coming next. David demonstrated the exercises using humor and positive encouragement. Then it was time for a hand-off. David asked the group of 30 kids to choose from among themselves four leaders who would take responsibility for the class. The next day the kids submitted a list of names.
Within two weeks the kids were completing workouts designed and facilitated by their peer leaders. Attendance is still mandatory. The laughter, groans, and animal noises continue. We are so proud of our Blue Haven kids who take responsibility for their own success.