Why I Teach

What is this picture all about?! I’ll tell you…

I could’ve used so many different pictures to begin telling the story of over 17 years teaching health and fitness. This was a summer camp in Miami I created about 7 years into my career. At this point I spent equal time developing youth programs as I did training high performance athletes. Nothing brought me a greater joy and satisfaction than having fun with the kids I taught.

In another post I will go into detail about how I accepted this opportunity with a private organization in Miami to take control of four city parks and make them profitable—it was becoming a challenge for city government to maintain budget with the expenses of public parks. This is a problem I have noticed in several cities I’ve lived.

Back to this happy bunch…

This was our weekly field trip. Our team decided on bowling. I’m not the best bowler, but I am competitive. I figured I could at least beat these 5-13 year olds, so I was all for it. Some of my kids come from single family homes, households at or below the poverty line or are lower performing students at school. None of my kids have a single care or concern about any of that when they’re at our camps. They’re full of innocence, pure blissfulness, and unhindered creativity and imagination.

That is my why. The reason I love helping other people is because it takes them out of their worry, stress, fear or disbelief and surrounds them in an atmosphere of challenge and triumph, encouragement, comfort, self-belief and stability. I see this at every age. With kids it is just blatant and unbridled.

8FIFTY was started by one of these kids who grew up in after-school programs, summer camps, city athletics and community centers. Me. I was a gym rat. I was a program kid. I played every sport, attended camp every week in 3 different states and I enjoyed every bit of it. In 2003 when I began my first fitness job at the local YMCA, I knew I would give everything I appreciated and cherished about sports and fitness to every single client without holding anything back. The friendships. The smiles. The laughs. The games and challenges. The competition and camaraderie. The team work. The physical exhaustion and satisfaction of achievement. ALL of it.

Thats what this picture is about. Giving everything I’ve got to every person I have the privilege of working with. Pulling out all the good. Thriving. Building. Growing. Most importantly though, this picture is about a childlike joy for life, the relationships I will forever remember, and the strong fondness of sport and fitness.

Thank you for reading,

Douglas McClure

Enjoy some more photos below 🙂