New boot camp created for overweight kids

When Colleen Bannister advertised her intent to start a free fitness boot camp for kids whose parents could not afford after-school care, she got several responses.

But she got some unanticipated responses as well.

"The parents who have contacted me are not underprivileged, just desperate for help," she said. "These parents say they have been looking for something like this, but unable to find it."

Bannister, owner of the personal-training studio 6 Week Workout, said she received many pleas from parents who are looking for help for their overweight children.

One read in part: "I have a 9-year-old daughter who weighs 139 pounds. We are interested in your 6 week workout for children. Money is not a issue, our issue is (our daughter) loses interest very easily."

Another parent explained, "I would love to sign up my girls for your program. They are both approximately 20 pounds overweight. I have been searching for something like this, and think it would be wonderful start for the girls as we have been struggling to find something for them to do physically.

"I see first hand what being overweight can do to a child's self-esteem at such a young age, physically, emotionally and academically."

Bannister sympathized with their plight.

"I found it interesting that these parents have not been able to find a program for their kids, but it makes sense that an organized sport might just set their children up for more ridicule," she said.

She wanted to preserve the integrity of her initial idea to provide a free boot camp to underprivileged kids, so she decided to create a second program for overweight kids on the opposite days.

"Furthermore, I think the heavier kids will feel more comfortable with kids that are struggling with weight issues as well," she said.

Normally, Bannister said, she would charge $50 for a one-on-one training session. The program will be $20 per session, or $240 a month.

It will include three days a week of boot camp, plus other classes the trainers select based on the needs and interests of individual children. The additional classes, like jump rope and kick boxing, will be added for no additional charge.

The boot camps will run 3:20 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursdays and at 10 a.m. on Saturdays.

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