During her daughter’s gymnastics class, Tania Gonzalez was sitting on the sidelines with the other mums when they began discussing their struggles to find time to exercise themselves.
“Suddenly I saw a gap that could be filled,” says Tania. “What if [I got my church to start] inexpensive boot camps especially for mums and kids [in the community]? That way, mums would be able to get their exercise and simultaneously spend quality time with their kids.”
Tania’s husband, Joshua, is the associate pastor of the Seventh-day Adventist churches in Manly and Mona Vale in New South Wales. She spoke to the church pastor, Panapa Leuluai, about her idea. Passionate about fitness, Panapa had previously run boot camps for his church members. He was keen to get on board.
Tania, a mother of two daughters who she began homeschooling this year, was especially eager to include other homeschool mums in her program.
“Homeschool mums have to be selective in what activities they sign up their kids for,” says Tania. “We can’t afford for them to do everything, so we have to be choosey.”
Held at an oval every Tuesday afternoon for an hour, the camps cost $20 per family and start off with warm-up aerobic exercises before moving on to games (such as tug-of-war and bullrush) and sporting drills.
A few weeks into its launch and the boot camp has reached its maximum capacity of 30. Such is the interest and positive feedback that they are thinking of starting a second group—they already have a personal trainer on standby. A unique feature is that the group prays together before each session for God’s protection and presence during the boot camps. The group, eager to learn more about God, has also commenced weekly Bible studies with Panapa and Joshua.
“This has been a great way to get to know members of our community better,” says Tania. “We hope that this is only the beginning of something special.”
—By Vania Chew