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Oct. 15, 2019
This paid piece is sponsored by GreatLIFE Golf & Fitness.
Tristen Jackson might have one of the most rewarding jobs at GreatLIFE Golf & Fitness.
He’s the coordinator of PLAY Everything, a movement within GreatLIFE to teach kids skills that will help them become more active inside and outside of the fitness center.
“Outside of GreatLIFE, we’re really out in the community, giving opportunities to kids who might not have the finances to do things like sports clinics or workouts,” he said.
He’s focused first on George McGovern Middle School, where he’s working with school leadership to create a bowling clinic for interested middle schoolers.
“This was something they really wanted to offer at the school. Bowling is a sport that will give more opportunities to kids,” Jackson said.
“Kids who are already into football probably won’t be into bowling, so this is a way to give other kids an opportunity to do an activity. It’s a way to give them more structure along with a sense of community.”
It will launch in the coming weeks and is just the start of GreatLIFE’s expanding PLAY Everything program.
“The idea is to reach as far and wide as we can in the community,” Jackson said. “It’s just me for now, but as we grow, we hope to hire and go out to other places. It’s completely free to the schools, and we’re in the process of looking for sponsors to help support it.”
Eventually, the hope is to offer scholarships to promising students for sports clinics or to purchase equipment.
Jackson also is at Compassion Child Care twice a week teaching 5-year-olds.
“It’s about teaching kids sports but also about being a good role model and getting them ready for when they go to kindergarten,” he said.
The concept of PLAY Everything, which is about teaching similar movements that connect across sports, also resonates with kids inside GreatLIFE’s fitness centers.
PLAY Everything is offered at Woodlake Athletic Club from 6 to 7 p.m. Monday and 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
“It’s essentially an extension of child care, and it changes every month,” Jackson said.
“So in October, it’s football, and all the games are tailored to football. And then it’s about how does a football throw correlate to a softball throw to spiking a volleyball. You’ve got similar movements involved, and it’s about connecting that.”
The results are promising, he said. As kids become more comfortable with skills, they naturally become more active.
“What’s really cool is when I show I’m going to help you learn to play everything,” Jackson said. “Maybe not that day, but the more you’re with us the more you’ll learn to play all kinds of things. It all comes down to how you teach it.”
GreatLIFE is going beyond the fitness center walls to make sure kids without as many resources can still “PLAY Everything.”