"It doesn't matter if they’re here for a half day or the full day, none of the kids ever want to leave. They always want to try that technique, or beat that obstacle, one more time. They want to show their parents how much they've progressed."
-- Gymja Warrior Coach Kevin Beakey
With another year of Gymja Warrior Summer Camps almost upon us, there’s not a better person to speak to about the popularity of our camps than Kevin Beakey.
Kevin has been a part of the Gymja Warrior family from the very beginning, when the Danvers location opened in early 2015. In addition to his duties as Business Development Manager, the Endicott College graduate is also a member of the Gymja Warrior coaching staff and the Boston Celtics professional dunk team.
But of all the different hats he wears, Kevin gains the most joy out of watching his Gymja Warrior campers come in each summer and accomplish things they never thought they were capable of. He spoke to us about how the camps have evolved over the years, what the kids and parents like best about their participation, and what advice he would give to a first-time camper who will be attending this summer.
1. This will be your third summer as part of the Gymja Warrior Summer Camp coaching staff. What’s new this year, and what’s changed over the years?
Oh, we’ve come a long way and grown immensely. While we’ll still have a very good coach-to-kid ratio, we’ve really made a huge effort to refine the programs so they focus on the things that will help the kids get better and stronger, while at the same time we make sure they have a ton of fun, meet new friends and engage with each other.
New this year is the option for parents to drop off early (between 7:30-9:30 a.m.) and/or pick up late (between 3-4 p.m.). This makes it easier on those parents who have to get to work early or stay at the office late, and during that extra time we will make sure the kids are supervised and having fun. We are also giving away free Gymja Warrior drawstring bags to all weekly campers!
2. What is the coaching philosophy at Gymja Warrior Summer Camps?
We try to get every kid to learn through failure and to set and conquer goals. We put achievable goals in front of them, and then they have a great support system with the coaches and fellow campers to help them reach those goals.
And when they accomplish those goals, the coaches get as much pleasure out of it as the kids. I still get goosebumps when a kid finally climbs that wall for the first time, or gets through a course that has given them some difficulty. They are going to have to work at anything they accomplish in this camp, but when they get there, it’s something special for the kids and the coaches.
3. What do the kids typically like most about the Gymja Warrior Summer Camps?
Wow, that's a hard one to narrow down. I guess the biggest thing is the kids really enjoy all of the unique activities they are able to do on a daily basis.
At other camps you usually see the kids play different field games and stuff like that, and while that can be fun, nobody at those kinds of camps is learning to do flips. They're not learning how to run up warped walls, or beat different obstacles, or master ultra-mega lava courses.
It doesn't matter if they’re here for a half day or the full day, none of the kids ever want to leave. They always want to try that technique, or beat that obstacle, one more time. They want to show their parents what they've done and how much they've progressed.
4. What about the parents?
They like the fact that their kids have a blast, but are also exhausted when they get home (laughs). We've had many parents send us pictures during the tail end of the week of their kids asleep in the backseat of in the car on the ride home.
And the parents also love that their kids always want to come back. There are so many cases of kids trying Gymja Warrior for the first time at a Summer Camp and then become regulars here, which we obviously love to see happen, as well.
5. What advice would you give to a first-time Summer Camper?
Go for it! We've tailored things in a way that everything we work on in the camps is scalable and that goes for the not-so-athletic-5-year-old to the a kid who’s at an advanced level.
The main thing we tell everybody when they first come in is that you are not going to master every skill or every obstacle the first time you try it. Even we coaches fail at times. You've got to fail to get better and ultimately succeed. But when you do, it’s a feeling like none other.