Gleason’s Gym ran their 16th annual Fantasy Camp at Honor’s Haven in Ellenville, NY, and as per usual, a varied selection of people showed up to test their mettle.
I spoke to a 47 year old female residing in York Haven, Pennsylvania who work as a claims representative in Harrisburg, PA., Heather Kauffman, who attended the Bruce Silverglade-produced event along with her three boys.
Kauffman told me she found out about the camp from a family friend, and had a link to the sport because her kid’s great grandfather was a boxer. “This experience has given me the incentive to want to continue training and boxing. The first day was interesting, to meet all of the trainers as well as everyone who was behind the scenes running the camp. You definitely got the feeling that they had done this a time or two. There was training on the first day for several hours, learning some basic skills for beginners like me,” she told NYF. “In the evening there was a bonfire with s’mores for all of the participants, to be able to meet and get to know each other a little bit.”
So, she was a newbie…what was the experience like for a beginner? “The Gleason's trainers were very good regardless of your skill set, if you were a beginner like myself or had been boxing for years and wanted to improve your skills. Just learning the movement of your steps, jabs, doing one-two punches, all of it was working towards a goal of becoming a better version of you. Seeing my three boys learning the skills, meeting the people and having the experience was incredibly gratifying.”
Was it harder physically or mentally? “It is challenging both physically and mentally. For someone like myself, this was a whole new experience and I was not really sure what to expect. The physical aspect you kind of know it is going to be tough but the mental part of it is not something I had really planned on, how to mentally prepare for getting into the ring to fight!”
Oh yes, adrenaline surges the night before, and day of. Anxiety is present and must be dealt with..
“Yes, I did fight on the last night as well as my youngest son who is 8 years old sparred against his cousin,” Kauffman said. “It was amazing, the first time being in the ring sparring against someone was one of the best experiences of my life, and that has encouraged me to want to continue boxing and training. Scary and exciting all at the same time. I would absolutely return, it was a very memorable experience.”
What were the fondest memories? “Learning the basic skills and pushing myself harder than I expected to, getting myself into the ring to fight for the first time was a huge unforgettable experience. Watching my son in the ring was quite emotional as well. The whole experience… all of the people who not only plan and run the program to all of the attendees and the trainers. These are going to be people that I will never forget for the rest of my life. The kind of people that you meet and think to yourself, ‘Everyone is just awesome!”'