Ready, set, fly: The Wings Program

Ready, set, fly: The Wings Program

Posted on May 24, 2024 by griffins in Blog

When most individuals hear the word boxing, a few typical things come to mind: being hit in the face, punching, fighting, battling, throwing down, and facing off.

In addition to these terms, it’s not uncommon that some familiar questions are often presented. Inquiring minds grapple with the why: why boxing, why hitting, why people consent to being hit, and ultimately, what’s so unique about something that’s so wildly misunderstood by those outside of the ring.

Community. Respect. Accountability. Communication. Though these terms are not as intuitive when it comes to discussions around boxing, they’re essential to the conversation. They’re the backbone of the ‘why’, especially when it comes to a program by the name of Wings.

After a staff member at Griffins Boxing observed the obstacles a youth member at the gym was facing, they aspired to create a program that could support youth in similar situations who wanted to access boxing instruction, but encountered barriers along the way. The program would give youth the opportunity to join the boxing gym, develop into an athlete, and provide their ‘wings’, so they would never be stuck on the ‘ropes’ in life. That year, the Wings program at Griffins Boxing was officially established. 

The Wings program supports participants for one year, kicking off its cycle in September.

Applications are submitted through late Spring and Summer, and are open to youth participants [ages 14-17] living on the North Shore.  As they begin their boxing journey, Wings participants follow the Boxtech® Youth Program curriculum, a revolutionary, award-winning program using a tiered form of teaching.

Participants start out with White Gloves® and work their way up through 5 coloured levels: Yellow, Green, Blue, Red and Black. In all of the coloured levels, participants learn new boxing fundamentals: footwork, punches, and combinations. Wings participants graduate to sparring at the Blue level, and conclude their term by having the chance to try out for a spot on the Griffins Amateur team.

In September 2023, at the beginning of the 2023/24 cycle and preparing for the program’s inevitable growth, the first ever Wings Community partner was established: Drako Sports.

“ We’ve supported various organizations and programs of need that are connected to the boxing and martial arts arena,” comments Eric Di Paola. “ This was a program to support Youth in need, and Drako wanted to be a part of it.

“ All sports, including Boxing and other Combat Sports, benefit youth by offering structure and encouraging them to work with others as a team”, continues Di Paola..

” We offer the best opportunity possible, with the best tools available, to help motivate help and help them enjoy their training, to stay healthy and fit, have a positive mindset practice discipline and perseverance, and ultimately, value self!”

Serendipitously, the Drako Sports slogan, ‘Dominate Your World’, embodies the struggles and hardships athletes face while training. The sentiment is not about dominating the world, but dominating one’s own world, by conquering self through determination, commitment, and achievement of personal goals.

 “ We hope to continue program growth and have it reach many more residents here on the North Shore,” comments Jada Hall, Wings co-facilitator at Griffins Boxing, “it’s about helping as many youth as we can, and seeing them grow, thrive, and be the athletes they’ve always wanted to be.”

Boxing is so much more than it was once perceived as.

It’s complex, and crucial in contributing to the journey of many young athletes, in such formative years. Behind the gym doors, inside the ring, and outside of the ring: the understanding of boxing is constantly growing, evolving, and diversifying. The Wings Program and Griffins Boxing are both essential parts of that process, rooted in community, access, and above all: the commitment to welcome youth to step into the ring, free of barriers.

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