Here in Arizona, where the sun shines a lot, we have fantastic athletes. We have award winning dance studios. But not all of us want to spend every minute destroying our cartilage for a physical activity. Some of us want to exercise 2-4 hours a week, while maintaining other focuses like academics. For adults it is not too tough to find a place to exercise-there’s always the local gym. However, gyms are closed to those 14 and under. So what is a student who is under 14 supposed to do for fitness if they are not interested in a competitive team? So far, there is no good option.
The local Parks & Recreation facilities offer classes for different levels. However, they fill up fast and stop for a vacation every 7 weeks or so. I love sampling from the variety of classes, but they often get cancelled. You can’t count on these classes for a consistent exercise routine.
The dance schools in the area seem to cater to the parents who pay for their kids to be in the competition team. This is how the studios earn the most. They ignore the students who are not bound to be in the competition. I have sent all my children to all the major studios in the area, because I have had no other choice. They don’t treat the students the same way and students who are not going to be on the competition team sense this and lose enthusiasm for the class.
We tried swimming. I have a fish. But the teacher would not allow her to progress unless she mastered a particular type of swimming style that she didn’t enjoy. My fish dropped out of her favorite activity. (My gifted swimmer actually repeated the session a few times before giving up because they wouldn’t advance her.)
What is it about this area that won’t let children just do fitness for fitness sake? Why can’t they just dance because dancing is fun, or swim because swimming is fun? Businesses cannot stay in business unless they tie it up in competition. The money comes in from the extra hours of practice, extra costumes, performance fees, pictures, and medals.
I was desperate to find a solution to this issue. Then it occurred to me that schools have the space that is not being used after hours. We need to find a way to equip schools with gym equipment and studios for dance and fitness instructors to teach after school.
The classes should be open to all levels and free of competition. This should be ongoing, without interruption, available for students to drop in when they want, without having to sign up. Students should be able to go to other schools and get in with just a student id.
How can we make this happen?