As some of you may know, I have been quite busy volunteering my time for Rezfit, Working directly with the youth. I’ve been training them hard in the gym and guiding them through projects as part of my ROKSOLID initiative. This has had me too busy to keep up with my blog even. I’d like to talk about this projects in depth so that you might have a better understanding of what drives me.
I first started doing this sort of thing on accident when some young bucks that were fans of my music asked me for help in the local gym. At that point I was already known for training people as a consultant and one of them said he wished he had money to get help from me. I saw them struggling and going about training all wrong so I made a deal with them if they met me on time twice a week and helped me do work once in a while for elders I would meet with them at the gym for free. I quickly noticed that other questions came up in our training sessions about success in life and other issues that young people face. Due to the positive experience I gained from it and the success I saw these young people achieving, I started to work on a system to take my approach to as many youth as I could with a more serious undertaking. First off I was amazed at how pushups and chin-ups combined with teaching them how to set and achieve goals translated to a 0% drop out rate among my trainees. Now this is amazing when you compare this to the 60% national native high school drop out rate and the 9 % national average of all ethnic groups. What makes this really significant when you factor in how I go out of my way to seek out those high risk tough cases.
Now I knew going in, that I could make a difference with my knowledge or I wouldn’t have invested my time and efforts but I had no idea it would be this dramatic. I first realized how powerful Rezfit was when early into developing my project (before it even had a name ha!), I had a trainee turn his life around full circle. He came to me, telling me he contemplated suicide, that he was repeatedly bullied and felt unable to defend himself because of his size (severely underweight). He went from being afraid to walk alone in the streets of his own neighborhood and feeling inadequate to having newfound understanding of self and a deeper confidence. In 6 months He went from being unable to do even one push-up to bench pressing more than his own bodyweight! He can even do chin ups while wearing a back pack containing 50 Pounds! He Had trouble even eating enough food to meet his nutrition needs, digested things very poorly but eventually went on to increase his appetite ten fold! He was told by his teachers before coming to me that he had no chance of passing high school and he went on to graduate and be accepted at college the very same year! Booyah!! I do not have a day job nor do I need one for that matter. My “pay check” is seeing kids like him succeed. As much as he thanks me every time I see him for inspiring him, he has inspired me just as much to take this Rezfit thing as far as I can. In my travels I noticed very few places had facilities like the kids back home have access to so I set about bridging that gap that exists on isolated reservations first. So far, I have built one gym ( shown in the photo below) which is available to youth for free and I provide free training and support to them as well there. Now that I have completed that undertaking, my new goal is :
PUT A GYM ON EVERY REZ and show the youth how to use it effectively. Through local volunteers, I want to set up activities that build up life skills and the tools to achieve goals such as protocols and a resources based website to empower them. In the process I would like to inspire other communities to do the same.
The main correctable problems I see Rezfit being able to directly address and turn around for native youth on rez are as follows
1.) low rate of physical fitness due to limited activities available to them.
2.) Low rate of academic achievement due to lack of tangible incentives that they have been condition to respond to, a lack of proper understanding of western teaching methods and very little positive direction.
3.) Lack of general success in life that stems from having no templates of achievement around them in isolated communities that have very few residents let alone many local role models.
4.) High rates of obesity, diabetes, school bullying and suicide due to dysfunctional environments at home and among peer groups.
Rezfit has grown to become a unique hodgepodge of fitness gym, after school youth club, summer camp and learning facility for healthy living. This is all done from a uniquely native perspective teaching about history and developing a sense of pride and traditional skills. I teach training methods, nutrition and self defence that you would normally find in a gym but I also teach traditional values combined with traditional knowledge such as bush craft, survival techniques, hunting techniques, identifying useful plants, cultural wisdom as well as traditional activities such as canoeing and dancing. I understand these kids and why they do not succeed because I was one of the few to succeed in my peer group growing up in the same type of environment. I have devised the strategies with the rez mentality in mind and I focused on finding methods to approach the pitfalls I saw growing up. Contrary to popular belief, there is nothing genetic or cultural that predisposes these youth to lack of success compared to their non-native counterparts. The only difference is a severe lack of tools to achieve their goals because they are overlooked by society at large. Politicians that develop programs have an extreme inability to understand the root of the issues having never lived it themselves while growing up in affluent neighborhoods.
Instead of program after program that pushes papers around, making “busy work” for the adults so they can say they threw plenty of money at the issue such as putting up posters of role models none of these kids see on a daily basis and other pointless things aimed and promoting healthy living without the tools to do so, I want to see attainable action. For the cost of a poster campaign, I could build a few gyms. I have developed a systematic approach and I would like to supply the tools to achieve action to take this success beyond the youth I can directly help. We need them focusing on personal development, goal setting, life skills and rebuilding proper family structures and similar foundations to one’s success that were destroyed by institutions such as residential schools and indian affaires. The obvious difference I have seen with my own eyes leads me to believe this project will have an enormous impact on the outcome of not just the lives of the youth directly involved in these health and wellness/life skill clubs but society at large as these youth no longer walk down a path of destruction that ripples into the lives of all of those around us. I am a firm believer that criminals are not born, they are created by the way we conduct ourselves in society. The same adage applies to successful or non successful people. I would like to create doctors and teachers instead of suicide victims and high school drop outs. Given the opportunity, What would you like to create? We can all make a difference.
If you would like to support this project with a contribution you can do so here : http://www.rezfit.com/give/
if you would like to get involved directly contact the project coordinator via email here: firstname.lastname@example.org
I would appreciate any input, comments or criticism in the comment section below. Thank you for taking the time to read.