|Animal Outreach: Higa Style
Saturday, November 6th, Grant Higa brought the Animal Outreach movement
West, reaching out to the youth of Seattle. Putting the “man” in
strongman, HIGAMONSTER displayed tremendous leadership and altruism,
making the Animal Nation proud by enriching the lives of others.
Remember when you were a kid and all the mischief we used to get
ourselves into? Riding our bikes for miles to play somewhere, or even
walk miles to see a buddy across town? Head out to some abandoned
building and play “Hide & seek” in an old refrigerator and not even
care if that appliance could suffocate you or your buddies? We never
had cell phones. Hell, we hardly even had extra change to make a call
on a pay phone! However, when you heard your Mom or Dad whistle or call
out your name to come home, you bet your ass that you better starting
running like a mutha or your ass will get beat down because you were
late for dinner.
Things are different now. I see these kids walking around texting like
crazy. They might be hanging out at McDonald's everyday because the
“Dollar Menu” is affordable and all their friends hang out there. Shit
there are a lot of kids who go to a restaurant and are playing handheld
videogames and have no manners. They sit there and play their damn
games and don't engage in any conversation with their families unless
told to. They don't even say “thank you” or “please” anymore. Our youth
are different now. Some of them shine despite these examples I have
given. What if we as adults make an effort to speak and get through to
these youths? Give back to the community and hopefully make a positive
impact on a few kids.
This past May I was asked to MC an inaugural contest in Seattle called
“Washington's Strongest School”. There were a few teams that were
competing and were all high schools from the Seattle area. The winning
team of 8 would win $500 each towards higher education, a serious
incentive. You could buy a laptop for school, or maybe that could pay
for some books. The team that got 2nd place overall was a group of
Polynesian kids from the West Seattle area.
SW Youth & Family Services offers counseling, education, and family
support programs for West Seattle and nearby neighborhoods. Most of
their programs are free and many individuals use more than one program.
Since I was born and raised in Hawaii, I really clicked with these kids
and was impressed with their natural talent and enthusiasm. I exchanged
business cards with their Program Director and told him that if any of
these kids want to come and workout at my Strongman warehouse, they
were more than welcome.
Last October, I received a phone call from the SW Community Center via
a referral from Youth & Family Services. A lot of these Polynesian
kids use the weight room at SW Community Center. He asked if there was
a weekend where I could talk to these kids about nutrition or weight
lifting. I told him, “It would be better if I could personally take
them through a workout and then do a Strongman demonstration
afterwards!” and that is exactly what we did.
I proposed a few weekends that I would be available and we settled on a
date that was only 3.5 weeks away. Not a problem. I was confident that
we could put this together and get some sponsors on board to help us.
He said that Costco was on board and so was the University of
Washington. I told him that I would ask Animal and was pretty sure that
I could get some t-shirts and goodies to give away to the kids. I
thought it could be like a big ABC.
G Diesel made a suggestion that this is actually more of an Animal
Outreach program that I was going to be a part of. Even better. This
wasn't about me lifting a Log to show how strong I might be, it was
about making a connection to our local youth and making us all
connected at this seminar. Hopefully, the end result is that our
communities become stronger, the positive changes last, and the impact
can be felt wherever you are in this city.
So on Saturday morning of November 6, 2010, I set up for a workout
seminar with about 30 kids and parents in the gymnasium of the SW
Community Center. My goal was to show these teenagers that you can
still get a great workout even if you don't have a gym membership.
Exercises like push-ups, crunches, jumping jacks, shuttle runs, bear
crawls, and planks are great ways to work out. People seem to think
that if they don't go to a gym, they can't workout. So they end up
sitting on their ass. Unacceptable.. We've got to make a difference and
get these kids active again. I beat them up a little, but the workout
was far from rigorous.
I was really surprised at how tough this was for these kids and I
thought it was some very basic bodyweight calisthenics I was running
them through. If this makes them tired, we need to focus on getting our
kids back to basics. Walk more or bicycle more instead of catching a
bus to your friend's house to play video games. If it's sunny out, go
and throw a football with your boys or play a game of pick-up
basketball. Go to the weight room and learn proper technique from a
coach and maybe that can lead to a college scholarship down the road.
The best part of this whole experience was that all these kids were
laughing while working out. They were joking to each other that someone
was struggling during that exercise and kidding around. Seeing this
kind of innocence gives me hope. Kids will always be kids but it's our
responsibility as adults to make sure they go on the right path of life
whether they are family, friends or other kids in our local community.
Give them the tools they need to live right, to be better and to expect
more from themselves-that was the goal.
Because out on the streets, it's easy to get caught up with the wrong
crowd. Let's hope that Animal & I got a point across and hit home a
few of these kids. Maybe when they wear the Animal shirt that I gave
them, they will remember this workout and how fun it was to just be a
kid playing with other kids in the neighborhood. How good it felt to
spend their time productively, learning and improving their health at
the same time.