Friends, fellowship and physical education

by Captain Cassandra Moffitt

The Saginaw, Mich., Corps is in its fifth year of offering a physical education program that fills a need within the homeschool community.

In 2018, the corps worked with parents to develop Homeschool P.E., a ministry which provides affordable physical education with a curriculum that meets educational and state requirements for homeschooled children. Many of the children, ages six to 14, have been coming since the program started.

Janessa Niswonger, whose 12-, 10- and 9-year-olds attend said, “One thing I can’t stress enough is the importance of finding cost-effective activities, especially when you have multiple kids. This program is very affordable and very reasonable.”

At Homeschool P.E., Coach Jaden Clobes, community center outreach ministry coordinator, leads youth through exercises and activities, teaching physical education skills that will last a lifetime and fostering confidence, leadership skills and relationships.

Coach Jaden’s encouraging and supportive style helps them feel confident and comfortable. For example, when Leila Grimpo couldn’t do an exercise, she was embarrassed, but Jaden
helped her.

“Jaden never made a big deal of it,” said Leila’s mom, Becky. “He walked her through it a few times, just encouraged her to do her best, and then she practiced it at home, and now she’s got it.”

The kids encourage each other to learn the exercises and push each other to work hard. Jaden inspires
them to do everything to the best of their ability. With the largest group being only 27 kids, there’s room for personal attention, and the youth set and pursue their own fitness goals.

Coach Jaden also teaches leadership skills. As the older children grow more skilled, he pairs them with
younger, less-experienced children so they learn to teach, help and encourage each other. Everybody benefits, and the parents love to see it.

From the kids’ perspective, one of the best things about Homeschool P.E. is the friendships they form. Becky says her children look forward to coming every week.

“They’re creating new friendships that can go further than just being at gym class for an hour,” she said.

It’s not all hard work, though. There is also room for free play. According to Jenessa, having access to
a gym that enables exercise regardless of weather is a helpful resource.

“There’s basketballs, hula hoops, dodgeballs, and things that we wouldn’t normally have on our
own,” she said. “Just being able to have access to those things anytime is a huge benefit.”

 

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