SYCAMORE TOWNSHIP, Ohio — As any parent knows, children who have spent months isolated at home have a lot of pent-up energy to burn this summer.
That is why the staff at Kids First Sports Center might just be the superheroes parents and children need right now.
"They just come in ready to go," said Reece O'Hara, a certified instructor for the center's new Fly Kids Ninja and Parkour Academy. "We have to kind of practice listening sometimes."
O'Hara designed the curriculum for the new ninja academy held at Kids First, located at 7900 E. Kemper Rd. in Sycamore Township. That class was scheduled to debut Tuesday afternoon.
"Parkour is a lot of what you see on the floor," he said of the academy. " It's free running. It's moving from one obstacle over to another obstacle. I like to think of it as the coolest way possible. Lots of vaulting over obstacles, climbing up. Ninja is a lot of swinging and upper body strength and climbing up and traversing obstacles with grip strength."
The Fly Kid Ninja and Parkour Academy initially was scheduled to debut this spring but then the coronavirus pandemic closed the facility, said Megan Smith, vice president of Kids First Sports Center.
"We reopened in early June with two of our teams," she said.
Kids First also host gymnastics and other classes.
"We started going on some travels around the country and started going to some top ninja spaces before the pandemic," Smith said. "And one thing we found is this is probably going to be one of the largest in the country."
Between the closing of Kids First and the reopening of some programs in June, Smith added her team designed protocols to make sure everyone was safe when they returned to the center.
"As we continued to reopen, we've kept safety precautions as our top priority...social distancing, much smaller class sizes," she said. "We've also added a lot of cleaning protocols throughout the classes. We keep pods within our camps so those kids only stay within their pods."
Before Tuesday afternoon's new Fly Kids Ninja and Parkour Academy kicked off, O'Hara said he couldn't wait to see how children responded to the curriculum he created for them to use on the center's new equipment.
"This is like a giant LEGO set and just putting it all together and then seeing how it flows with kids on it is just really cool," he said. "I like to play on the stuff sometimes and it's really fun."
For more information about Kids First Sports Center's new Fly Kids Ninja and Parkour Academy visit their website.