A $12,000 obstacle course built out of kindness is helping build fitness and confidence at the Mid Canterbury Boxing Academy.
The academy has nearly 100 youngsters on its books and while only some are training to box in the ring, the rest are conquering the obstacle course, and growing their brains, bodies and confidence in the process.
The new obstacle course is the work of members of the Ashburton Rotary Club, who visited recently to see the equipment in use.
Academy manager Eion Johnson said the course was built to challenge young people between 9 and 25 years. It was also designed to be fun.
The academy runs classes after school during the week focusing on fitness, fun and mentorship; a passport to success sets eight values to aspire to.
“The obstacle course has offered new challenges to training for the boys. It is exciting and an impressive structure for them to use in training as we develop different strengths and muscle groups.”
Eion said some of the challenges were similar to those on the television show Ninja Warrior.
There were hoops designed to test upper body strength and a rope walk that tested core strength and balance. The course also included huge tractor tyres, a spider’s web of nylon ropes and a warp wall, which is a steep ply ramp the boys try to scale to the top.
“Some of the nine-year-olds can’t complete the whole course, but it gives them the vision to see what they can do in the future.”
The obstacle course is only for use by academy members and was designed by head coach and youth mentor Cornelius Grobler.
Rotary spokesperson Walter van der Kley said the club was asked 18 months ago to consider helping build the course, which is in Tinwald near the Ashburton New Life church.
The club applied for some funds and contributed some of their own, plus manpower and machinery to make it happen.
Walter said the academy’s values-based programme was a success.
“They have 97 kids attending and tied in with that is mentoring work. Fifteen per cent of them go on to box competitively, but they all do the training.”
Walter said Rotarians spent about six months planning and had done a lot of work before last Christmas. Then covid interrupted progress until recently.