Making An Impact

aka1.jpg

American Kids Athletics (AKA) is more than a day care and taekwondo training facility largely due to its owner and founder Leb Kemp. He has molded AKA into a place that allows kids to be kids while teaching them important life lessons.

“Kids need direction,” Kemp said. “They need some type of focus on which way they are going in life. We try to instill that into our kids through our programs and taekwondo training.”

AKA is a unique childcare facility that offers childcare programs for before and after school and the summer, along with a taekwondo component. Children can participate in only the childcare programs, only the taekwondo training or both.

The before and after school program AKA offers is geared towards keeping children active. From the time children get off of school until their parents pick them up, they will be on the move.

“We do all types of sports and games,” Kemp said. “Football, soccer, rock climbing, basketball, obstacle courses, and a favorite of course is dodge ball.”

The 10,000 square foot facility offers lots of options for children to be active. This not only promotes a healthy lifestyle, but is also a positive outlet for the children’s energy.

“AKA is the place for kids who are traditionally bored and have parents who want them to be healthier and more fit,” Kemp said. “We are an alternative to a regular daycare where the kids just sit around do nothing.”

The facility has several large, open rooms filled with balls and games for the children to play with. The floors of the different rooms are especially designed for the children to be able to play four square, two square and basketball indoors.

Another room offers, larger than life board games with life size connect four and a checkered board floor to play checkers and chess on. The facility also includes an indoor rock wall for children to challenge themselves with. Outside of the facility there are two playgrounds and lots of space for even more fun.

AKA follows and exceeds the National Football League’s Play 60 campaign, which encourages children to be active for 60 minutes a day to help reverse the trend of childhood obesity. Children at AKA are active for 120 minutes a day just during their time at the before and after school program.

Homework club is another component to the after school program where children can work on their studies with staff. They are able to complete their homework during this time to get a head for the weekday evening.

Besides keeping the children active, AKA teaches children important life lessons backed by Christian principles through a daily bible study. After school, children are provided with a snack and the staff shares a short bible study lesson with them.

“We usually pick a short verse for the week and go over how it applies to their life,” Kemp said. “We believe the Christian values, whether they believe or not, are great principals to teach. It teaches the children good principals and values about life, family, making the right choices and doing the right thing.”

The tenets of taekwondo are also incorporated into the childcare programs to promote discipline and respect. Throughout the program, they teach the children curiosity, integrity, perseverance, self-control and the will to never give up with the sports and games they play.

“We move those martial arts values right into the childcare side,” Kemp said. “I hope it will impact them to become strong leaders and to stand up for themselves.”

Children who wish to learn even more about these tenets can participate in the taekwondo training AKA offers. Instead of their physical activity consisting solely of the sports and games, the children can participate in taekwondo training with AKA’s certified staff.

AKA is affiliated with the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), which allows the children to participate in tournaments throughout the year, go to National’s and even the Junior Olympics.

“Last year the Junior Olympics were here in Houston for AAU and we sent 14 kids,” Kemp said. “They had over 40 medals together. They did really well and made AKA proud.”

Children don’t have to be enrolled in the childcare programs to participate in taekwondo training. It is open for all children and even adults. In the evenings, multiple taekwondo training classes are offered for ages four and up.

“We even have some families that train together,” Kemp said. “The entire family goes all the way through the training until they get their black belts together.”

Kemp founded AKA after a similar program, but has made AKA his own because he has seen the benefits firsthand. He admits in his younger years he was very shy and not very outgoing. However, once he started taekwondo that all changed.

“After going through taekwondo, I became a lot more confident in myself to where now I can stand in front of a thousand people and talk confidently,” Kemp said. “I think it really helped me and made me who I am today.”

Kemp hopes AKA is able to do that and so much more for the children that walk through AKA’s doors. He hopes to instill health, faith and values in the children all in the name of good fun.

AKA opened its doors in 1993 and has impacted the lives of thousands of children. The lessons and values taught there have even come full circle with some of those children coming back as adults.

“A lot of our kids come back to work for us,” Kemp said. “It is really neat and is my favorite part of the job. It is amazing to see what kind of impact AKA has made on their lives and then for them to continue that impact by investing in the younger generation.”

To learn more about AKA and all they have to offer stop by 3211B N. Fry Road Katy, Texas 77449 or call 281-492-2411. For more information, visit akasportscamp.com for the childcare program and akataekwondo.com for the taekwondo training.

AKA is licensed by the State of Texas for ages five to 13 and offers a summer program. Be sure to check them out soon to find out about their latest saving plans and promotions.