Community Members Turn Passion Into Partnership

Members of Muncie CrossFit’s Arsenal community and other local businesses teamed up to raise over $10,000 for the Boys & Girls Club of Muncie (BGCM), to install a weight room in their newly remodeled South Madison Street location. The project was fully funded within a month.

Jason Newman, CEO of BGCM, wanted to create a more engaging learning environment for the community’s youth. Newman found that after a long day in the classroom, the kids were not responding because they were tired of sitting. He began to realize that BGCM programming was more beneficial during physical activity. Newman says not everyone learns best in a traditional classroom setting and believes that the weight room is a place where mentors can do some of the best teaching.

BJ McKay, BGCM Board Member and member of Muncie CrossFit at The Arsenal, knew a weight room could impact club members. “I’ve seen the life-changing things CrossFit does to people. Why can’t we bring this kind of experience to [Boys & Girls Club members]?” As part of this community partnership, the Arsenal Community will join BGCM staff in providing coaching, training, and mentorship to the kids who use the weight room. Those who donated towards this project will spend a Saturday at the BGCM to see the current state of the old, used workout equipment. Once the new weight room is completed, another open house will occur and BGCM club members can come to receive training on the new equipment. McKay anticipates that the contrast will have a significant impact on both the students and Arsenal Community members.  

Newman understands that upgrading the Club’s equipment will attract more people into the Club and allow the staff to use working out to teach life lessons about success and failure. “Too often people throw on too much weight and then fail,” Newman said in a promotional video created to introduce this weight room partnership. Part of the Club’s program is to help members identify goals and how to work towards them, overcoming the tendency to quit when circumstances feel difficult.

McKay also spearheaded “Muncie Check-In For Charity,” where every “check-in” at the Arsenal on Facebook sends a donation to local charities, including the Boys & Girls Club. “The richness of what we do gets isolated to geographic places of the community. We unintentionally isolate parts of the community by where we place [events and groups],” McKay said. He wants to collaborate with Newman to continually open up the flow of resources and relationships through the Muncie community.

Ten years ago, Muncie Action Plan began asking Muncie community members, “What should be done to make Muncie the best it can be in the coming years?” The answer to that question is exactly what everyday Muncie community members are doing through the Muncie CrossFit Arsenal community and the Boys & Girls Club of Muncie staff.

McKay is passionate about great people staying in the Muncie community. “Jason is a collaborator. I want Jason to win. He is the real deal, and he’s proved it.”

As Muncie continues to unify its community identity, partnerships like this need to continue. How can you follow your passions to make a difference?

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