With school over for the summer, kids throughout the city and suburbs have an abundance of free time. As parents look for new ways to fill that free time with things other than video games and getting in trouble, a suburban woman has a new answer to that question. Shannon Javaras is opening a summer class for girls aimed at keeping them healthy and active in almost every way possible.
Shannon’s Speedsters, as it’s called, welcomes girls from 8 to 16 years old. This eight-week class involves a weekly fitness workout every Tuesday and a field trip nearly every Thursday. Javaras, who has a background in a number of fitness activities, wants to introduce the girls to a wide variety of different ways to stay active and healthy.
“I didn’t want it to be just for running or fitness, because that excludes a lot of girls,” Javaras said. “I just want to show them what a healthy lifestyle looks like and not be too cheesy or make it not fun.”
The concept for the camp started last year when Javaras, who is a run ambassador for lululemon, decided to use the support from her company to host a training group for girls in preparation for a 5K. Javaras, who has a 13-year-old daughter of her own, loved the opportunity to work with roughly 70 girls who came out to train and wanted to expand upon it.
During the eight-week class, the girls will have the opportunity to learn and try everything from CrossFit to yoga. Javaras will bring in guest speakers to teach them about meditation and injury prevention, just to name a few. The girls will learn about different aspects of health on the field trips and have the opportunity to implement them during the weekly workouts. Javaras said the interest from fitness enthusiasts has been amazing, and she has a growing list of people who feel the same way she does about teaching the girls how to stay healthy.
Javaras said she believes much of the problem lies in a lack of available information. Many times, the girls she plans to work with don’t know or haven’t been introduced to these healthy ways of living. Some of the people who will be helping even helped Javaras, like the goal setting coach she will introduce to the campers. This coach will not only teach the girls how to set goals but help them plan out how to achieve them: the same process Javaras used to plan the camp.
The coaching isn’t limited to physical activity. Javaras has also partnered up with her local Whole Foods, which will teach the group about healthy eating and lead a cooking class. The program will go even deeper into healthy eating with a field trip to a farm so the girls can learn exactly where their food comes from.
So far, Shannon’s Speedsters has reached about half of its 60-girl capacity, a good chunk of which are girls returning from her 5K group last year. The camp will be split into two different groups, those aged 8-12 and 13-16. Though the groups will spend time individually, they will also come together for part of the day so the older girls can work with one or two girls from the younger group to talk about the days’ topic of discussion and make friends.
“They will have 15 to 20 minutes a week to have a discussion,” Javaras said. “So we will have a little time to talk they will be able to have that contact. I think it will be a really nice way to form a friendship or give advice. I want to give the older girls a little responsibility.”
The summer can be a busy time for families, and Javaras said she recognizes that an eight-week camp can be a big commitment. While she said she encourages all the girls to sign up for the whole program, there are also options available for a drop in rate so girls who may miss a few weeks due to vacations or other camps or classes can still pick and choose a few of her events to attend.
Javaras said she hopes to keep the camp going not only in years to come, but in seasons to come as well. Any opportunity to continue teaching the girls how to live a healthy lifestyle is of interest to her, she said.
Anyone interested in learning more about Shannon’s Speedsters can email Javaras directly at [email protected] or find her on Instagram at @shanspeedsters or Facebook under Shannon’s Speedsters. While she doesn’t have a website set up now, parents can register their girls by clicking here and going to June 24 on the calendar where they will find her class listed and open for registration.