Auburn MMA Helps Parents Enjoy a Night Out

Children attending the previous Parent's Night Out smile for a photo. The theme was "Nerf War." PHOTO CONTRIBUTED TO THE OBSERVER




Auburn Mixed Martial Arts is providing a respite for parents in the local community.

Once a month, Auburn Mixed Martial Arts hosts a “Parent’s Night Out,” a fun, themed event that takes children off the hands of parents for one night.

“Our general goal is just to provide a fun area for kids to come and hang out and enjoy themselves while their parents get a night away,” said Grace Killingsworth, Auburn Mixed Martial Arts office manager, teacher and after-school program coach. “We try to provide a safe environment for the kids to have fun and for the parents to feel safe leaving their kids with us.”

Despite hosting this event for many years now, much of the advertising for Parent’s Night Out has been through word of mouth. Therefore, Auburn Mixed Martial Arts is still trying to grow the program.

“It definitely used to be much smaller due to how small our business was,” Killingsworth said. “But as we have grown throughout the years and our name has gotten out there by word of mouth and Google searches and stuff like that, our Parent’s Night Out event has grown. … I believe the first one we did had about five kids, and the last one we did was 32.”

The growing success of the Parent’s Night Out program can be partially attributed to the unique themes that each night takes on, making the event different from your typical day- or night-care. The latest theme for the January Parent’s Night Out was Nerf War.

“We had a bit of free-for-all, and then a couple more organized events later in the evening,” Killingsworth said. “We generally have a lot of fun with that.”

Following the games and play time that usually kick-starts Parent’s Night Out, the staff with Auburn Mixed Martial Arts typically settles the children down with dinner — pizza is a recurring favorite — and a movie.

“After dinner, we usually put on a movie, let them kind of calm down or sleep, and then the parents come pick them up,” Killingsworth said.

In order to maintain control of the situation and provide quality care to each child in attendance, Auburn Mixed Martial Arts typically employs at least one instructor for every 10 children present at its Parent’s Night Out events. Safety is a big priority for the Auburn Mixed Martial Arts team, according to Killingsworth.

“We believe that as long as we have everything under control, which is practically always, there is about one coach per 10 kids,” she said. “Our kids are very well-behaved. We sit them down before we start anything and go through the rules and what our expectations of them are.”

Following the do-and-do-not talk at the beginning of each session, the fun begins and doesn’t stop for hours. The Parent’s Night Out usually lasts from 5 to 9 p.m.

Killingsworth said that Auburn Mixed Martial Arts has several ways for parents to find out more about Parent’s Night Out, whether it be by flyers placed in the community, or its website (

Outside of the Parent’s Night Out event, Auburn Mixed Martial Arts offers programs for Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai, MMA, kickboxing, after-school, summer camps and more. \

Moving forward, Auburn Mixed Martial Arts plans to continue hosting Parent’s Night Out, as families see it as a beneficial program in the local community. A summer luau and dance party theme is already in the works.

“We know our parents deserve a night off every once in a while,” Killingsworth said. “We enjoy having people join us and are working on our business, so if anyone is interested in coming, we would love to have them.”

The next Parent’s Night Out event will take place March 25, with a theme of Ninja Warrior Course:–bJiPbc


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