With many students learning remotely, you may be looking for ways to keep your family active – something made more difficult by the cooling weather. We compiled a list of indoor activities that children of all ages can enjoy. Don’t forget to maintain a safe distance and bring a mask!
OptionZero brings boxing, life skills to local youth
The idea for the program began during Curtis Chaplin’s college football career.
“A friend of mine and I were talking about things that we went through,” he said. “A lot of the coaches only coached you just for that, to get them out of that scenario. In high school they focused on high school and didn’t push you for college. In college, they weren’t pushing you for the next level. So, we agreed that when we got older and finished doing what we were going to do, we were going to help kids and push them to be ready at the level they need to be at before their age.”
They decided on the name OptionZero.
“Here in Syracuse, there aren’t many options for children outside of the school setting to be involved and to try to make a difference or to try to escape their environment,” said Chaplin. “So, myself, as well as Sairron [Miller] and a couple of others were talking for a while and said, ‘You know what? Let’s make it happen.’ Working with kids has always been a passion, always been a dream. Working out and having fun just go hand-in-hand for me as well. We’re loving what we’re doing.”
OptionZero currently offers three programs: boxing classes for children, a women’s self-defense and situational awareness class and adult boxing and fitness classes held in combination with Miller’s other business, Humble Fit. They also offer personal training and dietary plans.
And the program has grown quickly. Chaplin estimates that there are currently more than 45 children enrolled, along with more than 15 adults. “We’re growing faster than we thought, to be honest,” he said, “But it’s a breathtaking experience.”
Chaplin has been around boxing his whole life. He was the sub-novice New York State champion in 2014, then went 8-0 in 2015, before taking a three-year break – and he hasn’t ruled out going pro one day. Chaplin says he has two goals with OptionZero: to be a home away from home for local youth, and to take a holistic approach to boxing. One way the program does this is by emphasizing life skills.
“A lot of students that come to us have self-esteem issues due to lack of social skills or body composition,” he says. “We have a joyful spirit to the point where the class is always laughing and talking and engaging in conversation. Shy kids in class end up blending right in and it transforms them. You can see it in their home life, their school life. Their parents come back and say, ‘Thank you so much. My child was very shy. Now all he’s doing is talking.’ I think the fact that we have kids boxing and then adult boxing is also helping them because it teaches them discipline. You want to be disciplined to get to that next level. You want to stay focused.”
Where: 1415 W. Genesee St., Syracuse.
More information: optionzero.net.
[break head] Here are some other ways your family can stay active during the winter months
- Central Rock Gym – Home to 16,000 square feet of terrain for rock climbing, Central Rock Gym offers programs for children of all ages, as well as private instruction. It’s important to note, the gym is requiring reservations during its peak times (Monday through Friday from 4-10 p.m. and weekends).
Where: 600 N. Franklin St., Syracuse.
More information: centralrockgym.com/Syracuse.
- My Gym – Looking for an option for a variety of ages? My Gym offers classes for children from 6 months to 9 years of age. Online classes and private play groups are also available.
Where: 3218 Erie Blvd. E., DeWitt.
More information: mygym.com/syracuse.
- WonderWorks Syracuse – Children can visit the laser tag arena or take on swinging steps, a tremor bridge and more on the Canyon Climb, a three-level ropes challenge course. Tickets can be purchased in advance online or at the box office.
Where: 9090 Destiny, Syracuse.
More information: wonderworksonline.com/destiny.
- YMCA of Central New York – To help children get the recommend 60 minutes of activity per day, the YMCA is offering 12 Bursts, a list of 12 five-minute activities – such as lunges, a dance party and a scavenger hunt – that families or individuals can complete from home. The list is updated each day.
Where: The YMCA has locations around Central New York.
More information: ycny.org.
- Yoga for Kids of CNY – Yoga for Kids of CNY is hosting virtual yoga classes for children and their families. Visit their Facebook page, facebook.com/Yoga-for-Kids-of-Central-NY-10150108363195226, for more information.
Where: 3800 E. Genesee St., Syracuse.
More information: yogaforkidsofcny.com.