By Kevin Eickman
It is a hot, July, Thursday morning. If you’re a student on summer vacation, it is the perfect day to fire up your gaming console and enjoy your air conditioning, if you have it. For the members of Milford’s Bigger, Faster, Stronger, program that is not what is on your agenda. Your morning gets off to an early start as you need to be at The Milford Central Academy by 8 a.m. It is here where students from Milford middle school through high school can go to participate in a program that is designed to develop aspiring athletes.
Depending on the athlete and sport or sports they play, everyone works on core body conditioning and weight training. The key is to develop the person’s abilities. While some may be young and just starting out, others require more intensive training. The bottom line is everyone there is getting bigger, faster, stronger. “This is a great summer program for these athletes, they are really getting extra work and making themselves more physically fit. This is on top of the regular season work they do as well,” instructor Jawon Sivels said.
BFS isn’t about lifting weights however, it’s about competing and having fun while you do it. On this day after their morning routine, the participants were broken up into teams and then the fun really began. A rousing session of dodgeball, complete with all the laughs and smiles that goes with it, was followed by a session of a version of football that can best be described as unique. The three teams rotated through and once again enjoyed the competitive environment and healthy exercise that goes with it. It was honestly so much fun, I was jealous. “Hey, this is summertime. Yes, we want to make you a better athlete, but more importantly, we want you to have fun and make friendships,” Sivels said. “That’s really what this is all about, providing a positive and fun environment for our kids.”
With the group’s demographics so varied, it was easy to find athletes of different ages and genders who were taking advantage of this summer program. The first person I spoke with was soon to be 9th grader Bailey Masten, who plays both field hockey and lacrosse. “This is a great opportunity to improve my overall athletic skills, and by extension, become a better player. Everyone here has a great time and we really enjoy every day we spend here.”
I also spoke with sophomore Ben Gusciora who plays football. While enjoying almost everything he has gotten out of the camp, he explained his work in the weight room is most important to him. “It’s great to have instructors here that can take the time and give proper instruction on how to lift. They have been great in teaching me better technique and I am becoming stronger just by that alone, this really is fantastic.”
Speaking with 7th grader Grayson Weisberg, he has been having a fantastic time at BFS as well, getting ready to play football and baseball. “I really like how we get to experience new things that we wouldn’t get to do otherwise. It’s also just a pure learning experience where we all get to have a little fun.”
Besides Sivels, Matt Faulkner and Quinn Abbott are working with the athletes too. The program is without cost and Abbott hopes these are just the beginning stages of something that will grow over time. “It is fantastic to give the students a chance to challenge themselves in different ways than they normally would throughout the year,” he said. “This year has been a lot of fun and we are all looking forward to this program continuing for years to come.”
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