‘Strong Mind, Strong Body – Youth with Purpose in the Whitsundays.

As a parent, watching your child being relentlessly bullied to the point of not wanting to go to school or engage in life is simply heartbreaking. For the past 3 years, massage therapist Kama Bingham watched her bubbly daughter Shelby become a reserved child, suffering intense anxiety, and refusing to participate, especially in sport.

Now days 14-year-old Shelby Boers is a different kid. Since attending Cobra Boxing gym and participating in Move It NQ Boxing sessions with personal Trainer Wesley Bau, Shelby has a new lease on life, “this program has benefited me so much. It has helped me with mental health and my physical health. I am so much stronger and more confident now.”

Move It NQ, supported by Northern and Western Queensland PHN’s, deliver free or low-cost physical activity programs throughout North Queensland to support regional communities to live healthier, more active lifestyles. The program is designed to target those community members most in need of support and opportunities to be active.

Ms Bingham, Shelby’s mum, firmly believes that this program saved her daughters life. “We could have gone down so many avenues with this, I knew I had to find a way to build her resilience. The last months in this program has given her a mental break, it gives her the tools to block it out and have purpose again”.

Dangerous social media trends among teenagers have become a frightening thing for parents, however the training delivered in the boxing sessions educates youth to understand what they are doing and the impacts of fighting “the program is educational but fun, they learn why they are doing things and how to implement it into daily life so they can walk away from situations and not make it worse” says Ms Bingham.

Since the Move It Bowen sessions started in July, demand to participate has been high, with classes regularly attracting more kids than capacity. Mr Bau has already seen marked improvement in the group “at the start the kids were all a bit timid and had low confidence, now they have become vibrant, confident kids and are engaging more. I have also noticed that their concentration has improved, they are listening and paying attention so much better”.

Physical fitness is just one aspect of the program at Wes Bau Personal Training, with a firm belief that a healthy environment creates a better culture, the team aim to empower participants to learn and develop in areas including mental health, nutrition, respect, and discipline.

According to Mr Bau, “a lot of kids these days don’t have goals to work towards, boxing helps with this and builds their confidence – 90% of my clients, both adults and kids don’t have confidence when they start, I always say ‘Think good, feel good, perform good.’ “

For Shelby, the gym has become a place where she can go when times are tough “we are like a big family here” she says, “If I’m having a bad day, I know I can come here, it’s a very supportive environment to be in and it doesn’t even feel like we are working out!”.

Having never wanting to participate in sport previously Shelby now plays netball at school, does boxing and Muay Thai “Now I can actually participate in sport because I don’t care about what people think, plus I’m so much stronger physically and mentally” As for Shelby’s mum, this training has changed her family for the better and she can’t speak highly enough of Mr Bau and the work he is doing “the essence of this club is family and strong mind, strong body. I wish there was a Wesley Bau in every town!”