Kaeden is a geography fanatic, an outer space buff, a collector of cars and a crafter of celebrity collages. But sports were never a preferred activity because it was always difficult for him to participate. Soccer? Out of the question. School gym class? He chose to be the referee rather than play in the game. In his words, “there were a lot of people, and they could be aggressive. The game was too fast, and it was hard to understand. People weren’t always so nice and too competitive”.
Then, with some trepidation, Kaeden attended his first Ausome program in February 2020. He cautiously crossed the balance beam, bounced on the trampoline without cracking a smile and shyly made his way through the obstacle courses. He barely said two words. Little did Kaeden know, his courage muscles had just begun to grow.
The following week, Kaeden was less worried because he felt comfortable and supported by “nice people who are patient and listen, [they do not] yell or get frustrated.” With every passing week and every new program he tries, his courage muscles continue to grow. Armed with his Ausome t-shirt and gear, he has now attended TEN live virtual Ausome programs and is a social butterfly in every session! As an only child, one of the things Kaeden likes most about Ausome is the opportunity to connect with other children his age and make new friends.
Now Kaeden loves soccer! And instead of wanting to play referee, he wants to just play and be part of a team. He shared that he is “willing to try any sport as long as it’s at Ausome.” How’s that for courage? The quiet, nervous boy who used to avoid sports has broken out of his shell. He has found a place where he feels comfortable, prepared, challenged and encouraged.
Kaeden intends to be an Ausome volunteer when he’s older. He wants to help kids like him, who avoided sports, to build their own courage muscles and give Ausome sports a try. When asked what he would say to a first-time Ausome athlete, he said, “The coaches are all so nice and excited to see all the athletes. Don’t worry. It’s going to be very fun!”