By Lisa Shrewsberry
NO DOGS ALLOWED. The same posting that discouraged Snoopy in the Peanuts comic strip is as disconcerting to children in the form of the “NO CHILDREN ALLOWED” signs common to most fitness areas.
L.A. East and Crossfit Beckley owner David Chinn’s own children Lakyn, 5, Davie, 11, and Lexie, 13, regularly accompany dad and mom Cyndie to the gym, not to sit and watch, but to actively participate.
A new program at L.A. East called EAST (Enjoyable After School Time) may have children’s best interests at heart, but its potential benefits are likely to attract their parents as well.
In a continued commitment to raise the bar and the bar weights for total family health, Chinn wants to affect the return of two endangered species — healthy, active kids and the occasional date night.
Beginning Monday and running weekdays 4 to 8 p.m. (extended to 10 p.m. on Fridays), parents can free their guilty, worried consciences for needing to get in daily workouts or to take care of the essentials, like grocery shopping or a dad-mom date, while their kids engage in meaningful activities at L.A. East.
Cost to members is $5 an hour up to four hours. The cost for non-members is $10 an hour.
This isn’t the cheapest babysitting rate going, although members would be hard-pressed to find a sitter for the price. The program is not intended to be babysitting at all.
Chinn expects the service will be used, on average, for an hour or two most days, for parents to decompress from work or take care of the essentials while children get involved in a selection of guided crafts with his certified childcare workers or get physical in his specialized Crossfit Kids classes at 6 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Where he has before managed L.A. East while simultaneously managing other businesses, Chinn is now dedicating his time fully to growing the business he believes in most. As a service to his members, he recently opened his facility to 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, with continuous and secure camera monitoring and pass-only access.
His goal, he says, remains as it has always been, to promote family togetherness, to create options for busy parents and to encourage family-wide fitness and active lifestyles for kids.
“I had tried providing child care, a kid’s corner, here before and it didn’t work out. I’d go by and the kids were just sitting there, not interacting or doing anything.”
His intent with his new program is to be fishbowl free — no more parents getting their miles in while children get their guppy stares going. EAST is designed so parents can do what they have to do, when they have to do it and while their children are involved in productive activities.
In addition to the necessary break the EAST program will provide, parent members always have the option to bring their kids into L.A. East to work out in the main fitness areas with them and to teach by example.
“As long as kids are working out with their parents and are on the machine beside them, they can join them here in the fitness center. It’s like taking your son or daughter hunting or fishing.”
Sons and daughters look up to dads and moms, continues Chinn, putting the onus on parents to demonstrate active lifestyles to end the childhood obesity epidemic.
“When they see and are able to work out with their parents, it makes them feel good, like their being strong, just like dad or mom.”
Parents must register their children by 4 p.m. on the days their children will be participating in the EAST program. For more information, call L.A. East at 304-252-7000. L.A. East is located at 122 Appalachian Drive, Beckley.