In-Shelter Health and Fitness Program

We create the opportunity for at-risk youth to participate in valuable wellness programming, with all of our facilitators prioritizing an encouraging setting. We build customized programs for our partners, therefore can offer all types of movement from boxing to self-defense to yoga. 

Bootcamps for Change has made an incredible difference in the lives of the youth at our shelter. Many youth were raised in unsupportive homes and failed to learn healthy behaviours in their early lives. Moreover, the longer a youth remains homeless, the more likely they are to experience declining mental and physical health and nutritional deprivation. Bootcamps for Change provides a critical health intervention for homeless youth.
- Stacey Murie, Development Coordinator, Horizons for Youth​

We bring the programming to the shelters or facilities. Due to transportation as a major issue for some of the youth in these circumstances, bringing the programs to them will encourage a higher participation rate, leading to further success for a higher number of participants.

7 years of teaching children and adult fitness classes and this was my favourite class that I ever taught.
- Keleigh McCall

Pre and post-workshop feedback surveys are administered to youth to measure the success of our program and continue to encourage innovation.

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Organizing accessible physical activity for at-risk youth on a consistent basis is essential for overall strength, mental well-being, and the prevention of illness and disease. Physical health is intertwined with mental health, as those who experience less stress get sick less often, and in turn, are more productive at work and take less sick days to avoid financial difficulty. Youth experiencing poverty are more likely to be physically ill due to little physical exercise opportunities in shelters. This can then in turn become time away from work due to poor physical or mental health, thus continuing the poverty cycle. By implementing our fitness programs we are then one step closer to assisting in breaking that cycle.
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I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to teach in partnership with “Bootcamps For Change”. I was assisted by one of their scholarship recipients, Hash, who was wonderful and already had a great connection with the participants in the shelter. It was one of the most satisfying experiences getting to show the youth a couple of moves they could do on their own and help them overcome any fears they had related to exercise.
- Kristin Dalziel, SoulCycle, Barry's Bootcamp, Lululemon

Measuring Success

To measure the success of our programs (health impacts, return on investment) in addition to creating the best programs for youth (survey administration, injury treatment, and prevention), we recognize measuring our impact is critical. We want to look at it from every angle: economic, health, and social. The potential economic impact includes increased economic output from employment and the cost savings from housing/shelters, medical costs associated with hospitalization and low physical activity levels (resulting in chronic disease), and alcohol/drug use.

Fitness professionals are often only able to work with a small subset of people that need the value they provide. They often aren’t equipped with the time, knowledge, or connections to successfully reach an at-risk population. Most do not have experience engaging at-risk populations since they cannot afford their expensive services. Consequently, at-risk youth (susceptible to illness more so than the housed population) typically are not able to participate in invaluable exercise or sports rehabilitation programs. We remove barriers so they can.

It was amazing to connect with the youth and see no matter what your circumstances are, health is still a priority for all.
- Ryan Rambarran

Learn more about social determinants of health we are addressing

#SweatierForTheBetter In-Shelter Fitness and Health Program Support Tiers

1. SweatierForTheBetter Starter (Step-Up: Get On Your Feet) $125 

Description: When you commit to The Starter Package, your support helps us run an in-shelter fitness and health program at a local youth shelter or facility, giving residents an opportunity to improve their physical and mental health. 

Your contribution provides:

  • One in-shelter fitness and health program for youth experiencing homelessness, held at a local partner shelter or facility

2. SweatierForTheBetter Steady (Jump) $350 

Description: As a contributor to The Steady Package, your support helps us run two in-shelter fitness and health programs at a local youth shelter or facility, and allows us to provide a paid work experience for a youth employment participant at market rate.

Your contribution provides: 

  • Two (2) in-shelter fitness and health programs for youth experiencing homelessness, held at a local partner shelter or facility
  • One paid work opportunity for a youth employment participant ($100/session)

3. SweatierForTheBetter Star (Raise) $740 

Description: At The Star Package level, your support allows us to run two in-shelter fitness and health programs at a local youth shelter or facility, and allows us to provide two paid work experiences for a youth employment participant at a generous rate, with a mentor present.

Your contribution provides: 

  • Two (2) in-shelter fitness and health programs for youth experiencing homelessness, held at a local partner shelter or facility
  • Two (2) paid opportunities for a youth employment participant ($150/session) with mentor present

4. SweatierForTheBetter Success (Lift) $1140

Description: As our top-level contributor at The Success Package level, your support allows us to run a month of in-shelter fitness and health programs at a local youth shelter or facility, and allows us to provide three paid work experiences for a youth employment participant at a generous rate, with a mentor present, with nutritional education and food for program participants.

Your contribution provides: 

  • Four (4) in-shelter fitness and health programs for youth experiencing homelessness, held at a local partner shelter or facility
  • Three (3) paid opportunities for youth employment recipients ($150/session) with mentor present 
  • Healthy food and nutritional education for participants