Joy and laughter aren’t usually associated with working out – especially when it means teens ditching their cellphones and gadgets to break a sweat under the Georgia sun. But there’s something special about the atmosphere at the Jesse Draper Club. The anticipation of finishing another workout breeds a spirit of teamwork and sisterhood among 10 girls who are all smiles, full of energy, and ready to take on the challenge.
As lively bass music pumps in the background, everyone scrambles – gets in position – watching and listening for their cue.
“We do squats, burpees, dance, yoga and different strength-building exercises, but we get to put our own twist on them,” said 15-year-old Kahnia B.
Freedom and creativity are big reasons Draper’s Muscles & Manicures program is so popular. “We get to work out, bond and be cute,” laughed Lauren D., who appreciates the incentive for participants in the girls-only fitness program. With the help of donations, the girls are treated
to manicures as an end-of-semester reward for their commitment to staying fit.
Participants say ‘fun’ and creativity are important keys for getting young couch potatoes off their cellphones and on the journey to living healthy. It’s an undertaking that Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta doesn’t take lightly.
While studies show improvements in youth obesity rates in the past few years, the state still has the third-highest prevalence of overweight children in the country.
These startling statistics motivated Krystal Morissette,
Teen Services Coordinator and Kaityre Pinder, Character & Leadership Director, to step up and do something.
Through M&M, the ladies have teamed up to show teens that living healthy has many rewards.
Since the program was established, staff members say the girls have been more excited about working out, and some girls have gained confidence about pursuing other goals.
While the girls are still big fans of pizza, chips and other irresistible foods, they all agree that incorporating more
fruits and veggies into their diet is a work in progress.
“We’ll figure out how to get creative about working on that, too,” laughed Lauren.
This year, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta is celebrating its 25th anniversary of the inclusion of girls.
To support our girl-centered programs, visit https://www.bgcma.org/get-involved/womens-giving-circle/.