A dozen local kids are getting stronger and feeling better about themselves thanks to the Kids' Fitness Program at Health Link.
The program for kids aged 10-15 began in August and has already made a real difference in the lives of several McDuffie County children.
Alan Davis bench presses during a workout at Health Link.
"We have one boy that's come in that's probably lost about 15 to 20 lbs. It's given him a lot of self-esteem," said Mike Smith who helps supervise the kids.
He said building self-esteem is a great side effect of the program. The main aim, though, is teaching kids about fitness and exercise along with helping them learn the correct way to stretch, warm up, use free weights and other exercise equipment.
"We felt that Thomson needed it," Mr. Smith said. "There's a lot of kids that are overweight and out of shape. They need to get involved earlier than waiting until they're 15, 16, 17 or even out of high school."
For Alan Davis, who started the program in September, it's all about getting stronger for sports. He said what he enjoys most about the program is "seeing yourself progress."
Kevin Dent said his favorite exercise is the bench press. He joined the program to get a jump start for football season next year. Daniel Pilgrim, who has improved his bench max by 25 lbs. since he started the program, said he works out for his girlfriend and to better protect himself.
Mr. Smith said the first few days for a kid in the program are spent working under direct supervision.
A Health Link employee makes sure all exercises are done correctly. After the child gets the hang of it, they are allowed to work on their own but with an employee still nearby.
Anyone wanting their kids to participate can call Health Link at 595-5615. The cost is $25 per month. Health Link is open for the kids program after school, on Monday-Friday from 3:30-5:30 p.m.