BOKS and the Importance of Volunteering
BOKS has got it all: the squats, the burpees, the games, the nutrition bits, and so much more. But everyone knows that kids of the 21stcentury don’t necessarily respond to programs just because they are backed by science, or just because they are told it’s good for them. The most important part of BOKS, that makes the program what it is, is the human connection that exists between volunteer trainers and students.
BOKS trainers should be prepared to take on not only the role of a fitness motivator, but also a role model. The concept of monkey see, monkey do could not be more true in this setting. Yes, during the program the kids are physically copying the movements of the adults at the front of the room. But the most important part of volunteering in the program is the imitation that happens after the 60 minutes. What are the kids going to bring home with them to implement in their everyday life? Whether positive or negative, it’s going to come from what they see in BOKS trainers. It might be a simple smile, “great job”, or conversation that resonates with a student and causes them to be inspired by fitness. And we all know how life changing fitness can be in and of itself.
With fitness as their tool, BOKS trainers enter an environment that is commonly associated with boredom, homework, etc. and shatter that negative school stereotype. Think about the impact a BOKS trainer has when a student is more engaged in their studies after their BOKS class that morning. The impact they have when kids retain more information, get higher test scores, and are better prepared to enter high school. BOKS as a program has a ripple effect that extends further into the lives of kids than fitness alone; but it is through the volunteers that this impact is made deeper and more meaningful.
As leaders build the relationships and facilitate the activities that inspire students in BOKS, no one can ignore that the positive impact of volunteering is a two-way street. Getting involved not only with BOKS, but with your community in general, is fulfilling in a personal sense. Most volunteer trainers say it’s their BOKS visits that are a highlight of their day – the kids are fun and it feels good to make them smile. Being able to see the growth of students in a class over time, whether it be in their attitude or physical abilities, is something that cannot be put into words or valued in numbers.
The simple effort of a volunteer coming into school to teach fitness goes a long way as well. Students are seeing adults take time out of their work day to do some burpees, play some games, get their blood pumping. It communicates a message that this is probably something to pay attention to and take seriously! As volunteers facilitate this personal connection, the possibility for inspiration in kids across the country, they are championing the “Be More Human” message of Reebok more than ever. It’s not a question of what is going to motivate kids to take control of their health and embrace fitness, it’s a question of who.