Beyond Sports is helping make fitness fun

GREENSBORO, NC (WGHP) — Recess at Washington Montessori Elementary school in Greensboro means the air is filled with laughter and exclamations of fun. The sound of happiness.

The students are going through some drills as they learn how to play volleyball during their class recess. It’s compliments of the non-profit Beyond Sports. Principal Paul Travers says it’s something they all really look forward to.

“Although they’re not on our staff, they feel like staff because they’re here so consistently,” Travers said.  

That’s made an impact on the students, which is exactly what co-founder Mike Kennedy says they want to do.

“It means the world to us to just create those relationships and just be committed to be here every week,” says Kennedy. “And so we come, and we teach them different sports every week that some of them probably never been exposed to a field hockey or wrestling or different things like that.”

But he found there was an issue with recess. According to Kennedy, “When we first started this project, one of the things in talking to the teachers and talking to the administrators in elementary schools, a lot of things happen out on the playground because they don’t have the equipment. They don’t have the ability to move.”

So, Kennedy and his partner Michaela Amidon, came up with something called Recess Bags. Each one is filled with sports equipment teachers can take outside during recess each day.

Kennedy says, “Our goal is one bag for every Title I elementary school class in the county.”

But each bag costs a little more than $100.00 to put together. And with thousands of elementary school teachers in the school system, it seemed like a daunting task. So, they started fundraising and put out the word looking for help. That’s where groups like F3 have made a difference. The organization recently donated $25,000 to Beyond Sports.

Cory Phillips is an F3 Sports member.

“F3 and Beyond Sports is a perfect fit for us because of the impact that fitness has had in our life. We’re out here, men of all ages, trying to get great shapes so that we could be better husbands, better fathers, better sons. So, in short, we’re giving each other another chance in the world. And when we got to meet Mike and Michaela and the mission of Beyond Sports became clear to us, we realized that’s exactly what they’re doing for the next generation. So, if we’re passionate about leadership and virtuous leadership, these kids deserve just as much chance as we were given,” Phillips says.

With that money Beyond Sports will be able to create a lot of new recess bags.

“It’s so hard to imagine that when we started this two years ago, from where we started to where we are now, and people actually wanting to get behind these schools and invest in these schools. It’s an incredibly humbling moment for us,” Kennedy said.

He also says for the students it results in more. “Not lost in all this, the value of hard work in the classroom, on the field, wherever that may be. So it’s connecting that value of work and that if you work hard at something, you’ll start to see those results.”

 Beyond Sports works with volunteers from area colleges like North Carolina A&T State University and UNC Greensboro. Kennedy says it is a great experience for everyone!

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