The Boys and Girls Club of America and SMARTfit™

This week we caught up with Eden, NC Boys and Girls Club Executive Director Amy Nalley and spoke to her about how she’s integrated her SMARTfit Multi-Station Trainer into her facility.  In Eden, SMARTfit has been the perfect fit.

“SMARTfit completely fits our model at Boys and Girls Clubs,” Amy said, ” We’re getting inquiries from clubs around the area about SMARTfit.  I would love to be able to see every club have some part of SMARTfit in it.”

Crucially, SMARTfit has gone a long way in helping the Boys and Girls Club of Eden reach goals set out by the Boys and Girls Club of America.

“This is our first step to enhancing ‘Triple play.’  This product addresses all aspects including the mind, body, and soul with academic features, as well as increased physical activity, cognitive enhancement and fun,” Nalley said, “The first day of the program had kids that never go to the gym involved, and actively participating.”

At the moment, Nalley has at least 100 different kids engaging with SMARTfit every week, and has had more than 300 different kids play on the Multi-Station Trainer over the last year.

She told us that the system immediately attracts the attention and engagement – not just from the boys and girls – but from parents and members of the community.  Nalley described that as an immediate “return on our investment” for them.

“SMARTfit has been well worth the money for me,” Amy said, “It is the most productive piece of equipment that we’ve bought.  It services more kids than anything we’ve bought.”

The introduction of SMARTfit (along with other factors) has helped the Eden Boys and Girls Club achieve in an increase in memberships, and an increase in the amount of physical activity for existing and new members.

“Our numbers have definitely picked up in organized sports, and SMARTfit has helped make that happen,” Nalley said.

The Boys and Girls Club of America uses a series of “Impact Indicators” to assess the effect they have on the lives of their members through these targeted goals.  The SMARTfit team believes our technology can help clubs assist their members in achieving more of the “Impact Indicators” than any other product on the market, including Frequency of Attendance, Program Participation, Reading and Math Proficiency, Conflict Resolution Skills, Regular Physical Activity, and Physical Fitness.

“The introduction of the technology has certainly helped,” Nalley added.

At Boys and Girls Clubs across the country, 2:30pm can be a very hectic time.  Members begin to arrive at each facility from different schools around the region.  Some schools finish instruction at 2pm, others at 2:30pm, with some as late as 3pm, with members arriving at all times in between.

One of the biggest daily challenges is making sure students are in engaged and have something to do, as they arrive, before being sent to their regular activities and programming.  SMARTfit has been a crucial solution for Amy and her staff during this challenging part of the day.

“We simply turn the SMARTfit walls on, and are able to run a relay or a game as the kids begin to file in,” Amy said, “This is important, as it really allows us to manage the ‘in between time’ as they arrive.”

As the SMARTfit marketing team finds with facilities around the country, SMARTfit has made life much easier on Boys and Girls Club staff, as kids are participating in valuable physical activity while playing SMARTfit games, requiring less energy and focus from a their hard working staff members.

SMARTfit’s inclusive programming is designed to change lives.  It’s had a huge impact on a number of lives within the Eden Boys and Girls Club, as members that normally did not participate in physical activity programs started to do so.

“There are girls that have normally hung out in the homework room and not taken part in our PE programs,” Nalley told us, “But once we put the SMARTfit walls up, they recognized the ABC games, the smiley games, and this learning component really interested them to start working out on the systems.”

In Eden, the interest in SMARTfit stretches to kids throughout the entire facility.

“We brought a two year old in, turned the walls on, and he was captivated.  Then, we’ve been able to engage an 18 year old basketball player that thinks, ‘Oh I’m way too cool for this.’ ” Nalley said, “But he loved it and it’s been a key part of his development.  It has helped with reaction times and multi-tasking.”

The Boys and Girls Club of Eden raised the money through a grant from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, a trust that is focused on promoting quality of life and quality of health in its community. As part of the funds awarded to the Boys and Girls Club of Eden they selected a SMARTfit Trainer 4.

SMARTfit is committed to helping Boys & Girls Clubs around the country install our innovative technology.  Apply for a matching grant, and take advantage of our tools to help raise the balance.

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