By Kinley Beshers
For the Opelika Observer
Athletic trainer and coach Scott Larkin is opening a new KidStrong facility in Auburn, expected to be up and running later this summer or early fall.
KidStrong is a childhood development center that was founded by Matt and Megin Sharpe in Dallas.
The Sharpes wanted a facility to help their daughter, Ella, with her learning development, both physically and mentally, but since there was not a local place to register her, the Sharpes founded one of their own.
KidStrong is a learning facility for children ages 14 months to 11 years that focuses on three major pillars: character and leadership development, physical development and brain development.
Each class starts with a social greeting, to get each child verbally and socially involved with their peers.
After their greetings, they start with a warmup, followed by a brain component and skill development activity.
Brain components are age-dependent activities that stimulate brain development, knowledge and learning.
Skill development activities are physical skills, like a forward roll or climbing across the still rings, that each child will work towards achieving.
At the end of each class, there will be a fun and challenging ninja course and relay race to challenge and exercise each student physically.
Larkin also said he focuses on the children’s ability to speak publicly.
“We want them to work on their public speaking, so we may ask them a simple question, such as ‘who is your favorite superhero?’ They volunteer, they come up in front of the kids in the class. Sometimes you’ve got the kid that’s a little more outgoing, then the next kid is more shy and they kinda whisper in the coach’s ear because they’re not ready yet to talk in front of the class.”
Larkin said the same shy kids will speak to the class again a couple weeks later, yet then more comfortably.
“It’s really cool to see them gain their confidence,” Larkin said.
Since children tend to value and appreciate recognition and rewards, the courses include rankings to show improvement.
Each child starts with a Student classification, then will progress upward towards Alpha, Hero, then Legend.
At the end of each class, the coaches will also give a coach’s award to a child they think has shown bravery, courage or improvement, or has reached a physical or cognitive achievement.
Parents are also required to interact physically on the floor with their children until the age of 5, to understand and learn ways to help their child improve physically and mentally outside of the facility.
For children age 5 or older, parents are to sit in the viewing area to watch their children and continue gaining understanding of why they do certain activities and learn more about their child’s development in regards to each age.
These classes are each 45 minutes long and are available seven days of the week. Each class is age-based and will be divided as follows: 14 to 23 months, 2 years, 3 years, 4 years, 5 to 6 years, 7 to 8 years and 9 to 11 years.
Flex classes are also offered for siblings of different ages who wish to be in the same class.
Each child will be required to get a membership and the parents will be free to choose however many classes they attend.
Each class has no more than 15 students and will be assisted by two trainers.
Children are asked to bring a water bottle and required wear their KidStrong jersey (given to all members) in order to for the class to be applied to their progression of the rankings.
Larkin signed the lease for the facility on May 27 and he is expecting a three-month build-out.
The building will be located at 1530 E. Glenn Ave. in Auburn.
Thursday, July 24, KidStrong Auburn will begin a pre-sale, offering memberships at greatly reduced prices.
For further information, or to get in contact with Larkin and the KidStrong Auburn group, visit KidStrong Auburn on Facebook.
To register for a membership, visit www.kidstrong.com/auburn and submit your child’s information. The KidStrong faculty will respond shortly after, discussing appropriate classes, schedules and class rates.
Larkin has been in adult fitness and athletic training for 23 years and is eager to train and teach children.
He has opened six Orangetheory locations across Alabama and has learned about KidStrong through members of Orangetheory.
Larkin has two children of his own, which drives his passion to help all children improve physically and mentally.
“It’s our future. It’s so cool to see the impact we can have on these kids at an early age,” Larkin said, “It’s something I’m super excited about, just to have a bigger impact on the kids in Auburn.”