Choice Health and Fitness offers youth programs for a healthy summer

Grand Forks public schools will recess for the summer later this week, which usually produces this question from the more than 7,000 students: "What is there to do this summer?"...

Summer programs

Grand Forks public schools will recess for the summer later this week, which usually produces this question from the more than 7,000 students: "What is there to do this summer?"

The answer is: plenty.

Choice Health and Fitness, now in its second year of operation, has expanded its role in offering opportunities for kids from kindergarten through high school. The offerings are varied, ranging from traditional sports such as basketball and volleyball, to fitness training and photography.

One of the more unique youth programs offered by Choice this summer is a photography class called, "Click, Click, Kids," which will be more than just learning how to operate a camera.

Brian Barclay will teach the eight-session, four-week class that begins June 3.


"It's a hands-on learning experience," said Barclay, who has a graphic artist's background. "The students can look at the world from a different perspective."

The class will go mobile, too.

"We want to get our younger generation to look at the world around them differently," said Barclay. "We want to challenge them to find the beauty of things."

That's why the students may shoot photographs in the city parks or the Greenway.

For instance: "We want the students to not just see a tree, but to see a tree from different angles (through photography).

"You can have 20 pictures of the same tree, but they'll all be different," Barclay said.

The class size for "Click, Click, Kids" will be limited to 20. The signup deadline is May 29. The class will meet from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays at Choice Fitness.

The cost is $50. Also, if a student does not have a camera, Choice Fitness may provide one, said Barclay.


Also, the photography shot by the students may be displayed at Choice Fitness. An online gallery of the students' work also is a possibility.

Team sports

Choice Fitness, which is part of the Grand Forks Park District, also will expand its role this summer in traditional sports, such as basketball and volleyball.

"There is a ton going on," said Justin Johnson, the Choice sports coordinator. "It's been positive so far."

This summer, a Choice volleyball academy, a Choice basketball academy and a Choice tennis academy, will be offered.

The volleyball academy has three levels -- youth (grades 4-5), middle school (graded 6-8) and high school (grades 9-12).

The 10-week volleyball academy, which begins June 3, will focus on the basic skills and fundamentals of the sport. Students will receive lessons each week with a volleyball instructor.

The cost is $80 per student.


In addition, volleyball leagues will be offered this summer through Choice. The leagues for middle school (grades 6-8) and high school (grades 9-12) will compete Thursdays from June 13 through Aug. 8.

There will be a limit of six teams in each league, which will operate according to North Dakota High School Activities Association rules.

The basketball academy will operate in a similar manner as volleyball. They will be 10-week sessions, from grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12.

For basketball, shooting camps, youth skills camps, and post-player camps also will be offered throughout the summer.

And there also will be a high school team camp for both boys and girls.

Grand Forks tennis

Grand Forks has been dominant in high school tennis for years. One reason is local tennis players start playing at an early age.

Choice tennis camps and a tennis academy will be available through this summer, along with team tennis leagues and tennis in the parks.


Also, a Choice Tiny Tots Tennis class is available this summer. This is a parent-child class designed to introduce the sport to pre-school children. Kids will develop motor skills, hand-to-eye coordination and basic tennis fundamentals by participating in drills and games.

Classes will be taught by a USPTA tennis pro.

The summer session dates are June 5 through Aug. 1.

"We're building on things," Johnson said. "It's a lot of work, but it's worth it, especially for the age group of K through grade 4. Those kids are running around with smiles on their faces.

"We have a great facility here, and it's a great opportunity for the kids to come in and have fun. It can take the weight off the shoulders of moms and dads for an hour-and-a-half or so; the kids can blow off some steam."

Fitness, swimming, too

In addition to team sports, Choice also will offer summer youth performance enhancement -- conditioning and strength development classes.

It's sports training for youth that focuses on a myriad of areas -- such as speed development, push cardio, sport yoga and fueling for performance, a six-week group class focusing on nutrition, exercise and behavior modification.


There will be a free class trial from May 28-31. Sessions begin June 3.

A staple at Choice is its aquatics. A youth swimming academy also is planned for the summer.

The academy is designed to teach kids all levels of swimming, from basic skills to competitive and rescue strokes and water safety.

There are a number of levels in all of the youth programs offered by Choice this summer. It's best to call ahead or go online for more information on the specifics of each offering.

For more information, contact Choice at (701) 746-2790 or online at

Nelson is Sports Editor for the Herald and can be reached at or (701) 780-1268.

Wayne Nelson is the sports editor at the Herald.

He has been with the Grand Forks Herald since 1995, serving as the UND football and basketball beat writer as well as serving as the sports editor.

He is a UND graduate and has been writing sports since the late 1970s.

Follow him on Twitter @waynenelsongf. You can reach him at (701) 780-1268 or
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