I can guarantee you if you see someone in another city walking down the street in a pair of Reebok Nanos, at the very least you get excited- like you've discovered one of your people! But more likely than not, you awkwardly say, "OMG, do you do CrossFit?!? So do I!!!" Don't pretend you don't know what Im talking about.
Since this connection is so strong, the CrossFit community is pretty much the ideal setting for taking athletes, and making them athletic philanthropists. I totally made that up just now, but it sounds legit, right?
Nearly any CrossFit box (gym for those of you new to the lingo) in the world has a history of helping others through giving money and time (philanthropy) and using CrossFit to do it. As an affiliate, meaning we pay the Crossfit headquarters each year to be able to use the CrossFit branding, we aren't expected or required to host fundraisers or benefits. We aren't given a calendar with mandatory community efforts penciled in. It is 100% up to each box to do anything at all, but I would bet money 100% of boxes do it.
One example of this would be the memorial WOD’s and events that are organized to honor fallen military, police, fire, etc. to raise money for charitable causes in their honor. Probably the most well-known of these is the Memorial Day tradition, "Murph". On Memorial Day (or sometime that weekend), athletes across the world perform the hero WOD “Murph”, a famously brutal workout both mentally and physically, created in honor of Lt. Michael Murphy who sacrificed his life to save his men in Afghanistan. Many CrossFit boxes use this workout not only for the commaraderie it provides, but as an opportunity to come together as a community and do good. Typically funds are raised through "registration fees", T shirt sales, or just plain donations and given to a cause such as the Wounded Warriors fund, or in our case, our local Disabled American Veterans chapter. "Murph" is a huge, world-wide event. Each box does it their own way, with their own recipients, but nearly everyone does it. But there are countless events unique to each box, many that benefit their community.
The average CrossFit box may not get nationwide participation in the event they create, but many have been hugely successful in their own efforts to give back to their community- to be athletic philanthropists. Would this happen at a 24 hour gym? At a YMCA? Doubtful. Why does it work for us? Largely because we are unique (in many ways, really), but in a large part to our closely connected, almost family-like and supportive atmosphere. When our box hosts an event, all we have to do is say, "hey guys we need XYZ". It's done. People don't just show up to paticipate, they ask how they can help, what can they do, what else do you need?
We do several events a year to give back to our community. One, as I already mentioned, is our annual "Murph" event, to benefit our local DAV. In May, we will host our first ever competition (gulp), from which part of the proceeds will benefit a local program that provides food to needy kids in the community. We have started making meals for another group that serves the youth of our community. We are currently preparing for our Christmas food drive event.
I don't mention these efforts to brag on how wonderful we are for being so giving and thoughtful. I mention them to show that we- our CrossFit 610 community, and our CrossFit community as a whole- are unique. We don't come to the gym to sweat and leave. We come to build relationships, encourage each other, and work together to make our community a better place. When you become part of the Crossfit community, you become part of something bigger than the walls of the box. You can have an impact on the person in class with you that is struggling with their marriage when you invite them out for coffee after class. You can have an impact on the kids in your community when you participate in the events your box hosts to help them. You can have an impact on other communities when you sign up for competitions that donate to causes in their town. We should all feel proud to be part of a sport/community/lifestyle that is so supportive of one another.
If you want to learn more about our amazing community, contact us at 417-531-5652, firstname.lastname@example.org or message us on Facebook- crossfit610