Thanks to the support of the United Way and the Indianapolis Colts, the Indianapolis Eagle Creek, Ind., Corps, led by Captains Tony and Brianne Bowers, now boasts a $15,000 fitness area which bolsters program opportunities and provides a place for exercise and recreation for the community.
Located in a loft above the full-size gymnasium, the area which was previously used for storage now is floored with professional grade foam rubber and is equipped with exercise and medicine balls, free weights, flat and incline benches, mirrors, a free-standing punching bag, and barres for ballet classes. One end is designated for recreational activities and hosts air hockey, shuffleboard and foosball tables and an Xbox.
“It’s exciting,” said Captain Tony. “It’s an opportunity to take our programs from just athletics to a more holistic view of health.”
The community center is busy every evening Tuesday through Friday, serving corps program needs as well as conducting outreach through athletics and recreation with a wide spectrum of activities. During the summer months, it’s filled with children attending day camp.
Ballet and taekwondo classes are conducted weekly at minimal cost through partnerships with a private ballet instructor and local taekwondo studio. The new equipment has increased the level of instruction possible. The mirrors allow students of both arts to see their form and visualize improvement. The barres provide stabilization as ballet pupils strengthen their stances and balance, and the punching bag allows taekwondo participants to hone their punches and kicks for optimal form.
In addition, one evening each week coaches help basketball and soccer participants in grades K-2 and 3-8 build on the fundamentals to develop solid skills. Often, siblings accompany their brothers or sisters to the corps and use the fitness area.
“Our goal is to get the kids in here as often as possible,” said Ryan Mathews, director of athletic and community ministries. “We want to build relationships with them.”
To connect the corps and community center, sports participants are regularly invited to attend character-building programs on Tuesday evenings, which includes archery, supper, devotions and music lessons in addition to moonbeams, sunbeams, girl guards and explorers. Court of Award ceremonies and music performances are held on Sundays to encourage families to attend church together and provide an opportunity for leaders and parents to get to know one another better.