Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Great Play Garners International Notice

“Youth fitness is not kids' stuff, as far as Keith and Jyl Camhi of Stamford are concerned. The husband and wife team in 2006 established Great Play, a 3,000-square-foot gymnasium on Stamford's West Main Street devoted to exercise activity for children from 6 months old to fifth-graders. Two years later, they opened a second gym in Scarsdale, N.Y., and recently started a franchise with a third location in Redmond, Wash. Their business also has been featured as one of two ‘innovative brands’ in the June issue of International Health, Racquet Sportsclub Association's Club Business International magazine. ‘We saw a real growth opportunity was in the children's obesity crisis,’ said Keith Camhi, who in 1993 co-founded FitLinxx, a Norwalk-based fitness technology firm. ‘The market had been around for a while, but it had become stagnant with programs based on gymnastics.’ To break away from repetitive exercise routines, Great Play offers separate programs for children ages 6 months to 5 years old and those in kindergarten through fifth grade involving balls, matts and large computer screens, he said. ‘Exercise should not be work,’ Camhi said. ‘It should be fun.’ All three Great Play locations have been busy despite the slow economy, and many people have been showing interest in Great Play's franchising opportunities, Camhi said. ‘We haven't even started to market widely yet and we already have people tracking us down,’ he said. Great Play is helping to combat childhood obesity by creating exercise routines that are fun and increase athletic ability, said Kara Thompson, public relations coordinator for the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, a Boston-based trade group serving the health and fitness club industry. ‘When you look at the rates of obesity in children, this is more important than ever, and Great Play is stepping up to address those needs,’ she said. Great Play's fun routines are a great way to get kids to exercise, but parents also should encourage their children to stay fit by playing with friends and other activities, said Madhu Mathur, director of ambulatory pediatrics and kids' fitness and nutrition services at Stamford Hospital. ‘Exercise is something they have to build into their lifestyles,’ she said.”

1 comment:

Lincoln said...

I teach kids fitness and have designed a kids streetdance course for YMCAfit in the UK. i think that youth fitness programs are vital to get our children used to an activie lifestyle so that we can somehow reverse this worrying trend.