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New youth programs blend fitness, adventure with fun

School is in session, and now when the kids get home they just want to plop on the couch and enjoy video games or social media.

The Boulder City Parks and Recreation Department has a better idea.

Get those kids ages 12-17 out to ABC Park for two new programs aimed at promoting good health and confidence while still having fun.

The first program is Young Guns: Fitness Fun Clinic for Teens. It is designed to help teens improve their health, gain confidence and build self-esteem in a fun-filled atmosphere.

The program explores five fundamentals of health-related fitness: cardio, strength, endurance, flexibility and body composition.

The first part of the class is devoted to nutrition and exercise, while the second part consists of high-energy workouts, according to course instructor Gene Kelly. Some of the exercise tools being introduced are resistant bands, sliders, medicine balls, Fitball and Skyball.

Skyball, similar to ultimate Frisbee, was developed by Kelly.

Kelly, a master fitness training instructor and life coach, is a retired Bullhead City, Ariz., firefighter and is an instructor at College of Southern Nevada as well as a teacher for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.

With more than 30 years of teaching and coaching Kelly, a father of two including a teenage son, said he is versed in the needs and wants of teens. He feels that “kids are out of balance with all of the technology they have today. I want to help them be successful, and I want to be a part of the solution.”

He teaches the youths to be resourceful and self-reliant while still contributing to the day-to-day life in today’s society.

Also being taught by Kelly is the Junior Adventure Guide Certification Program, which features seven classes: wilderness survival fundamentals, basic first aid, backpacking and camping essentials, ropes and rigging, navigation, team building and leadership, and mountaineering and canyoneering.

Once all seven courses have been completed students will receive their Junior Adventure Guide Certification.

Kelly said most classes culminate in a field trip to test those skills at places such as the Grand Canyon and Red Rock National Conservation Area.

Kelly has coached school teams and been involved with sports and other youth programs for decades and said his involvement with these programs has helped him work with people of all ages, from preteens to senior citizens.

“Throughout my fire department career all of my schooling was funded by the community I lived in, and I would like to pay my community back by passing on the education I received to young people who can use it for the rest of their life,” he said.

“Sometimes it is extremely emotional just seeing these kids succeed and believe in themselves and each other,” Kelly added.

The Young Guns Program will be at ABC Park and Gym beginning Nov. 4 and continuing through March 3, meeting from 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesdays. The cost is $20 per month.

The Junior Achievement Certification Program meets at ABC Park from 4-5:30 p.m. Thursdays starting Nov. 6. The cost is $20 per month.

Both classes are intended to run continuously.

“Most kids don’t have an opportunity to excel, we offer that opportunity,” Kelly said.

For more information, contact the Boulder City Parks and Recreation Department, 900 Arizona St., at 702-293-9526.

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