When Jess Moore opened Champ Camp Fitness and Training in Washougal in July, he hoped that the facility would become a “community development project,” providing opportunities to low-income youth through scholarship programs, holding fundraisers, sponsoring community events and establishing close working relationships with Washougal High School athletes.
The recent statewide shutdown of gymnasiums, caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, put those plans on hold for now, but Moore is still finding ways to give back to the community that he believes gave so much to him when he was younger.
Moore is partnering with Camas resident Don Lovell to hold a “holiday ball giveaway” event from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 20, at the parking lot of the Champ Camp facility, 1434 “E” St., in Washougal.
Children will be able to pick a football, soccer ball or basketball of their choice.
“My goal for this facility was community development and outreach, but COVID and the extension of the shutdown have made things tough,” said Moore, a former professional fighter. “But I’m a big ‘community’ guy, and I’m excited to do something like this. We all know times have been tough, it’s been a crazy year for everyone and some families are struggling. We figure that (with this event), at least some kids in the area could get a gift for Christmas. If we can make just one kid’s day, that would be awesome.”
Moore got the idea for the event from Lovell, who serves as a local volunteer for the Your A.O.K. Foundation, a Philadelphia-based non-profit organization.
“I just kind of fell into a situation,” Moore said. “(The You’re A.O.K. Foundation) was going to do a ball giveaway during Thanksgiving, but those plans fell through at the last second. I talked to Don one day and asked him if he still had all of the balls. He said, ‘Yeah, I inflated (hundreds) of them.'” I said, ‘Why don’t we do (the giveaway) out of the gym’s parking lot? Let’s give some kids presents for the holidays.'”
Moore said that the event will be “safe and healthy.”
“We’re still trying to work out the exact details, but we envision having different people at different tables, with different balls on them, and parents will drive up and point to a table, and we’ll hand them the ball — maybe with fishnets,” he said. “Everybody will keep 6 feet of distance and be masked up.”
Champ Camp Fitness and Training offers general memberships, private training, semi-private group training, athletic development programs, youth training programs, kickboxing, boxing, movement screening, nutrition counseling and personalized workout plans.
But the facility has been closed since Nov. 16, when Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced new restrictions on businesses and social gatherings to combat a rising number of coronavirus cases.
“The old saying goes, ‘When it rains, pull out an umbrella.’ That’s what I’m doing. I’m staying as positive as possible,” Moore said. “The gym opened in July, and there’s still a lot of projects that I need to accomplish around here to (provide a) quality facility for my awesome members when they come back.”
Earlier this month, Inslee extended the restrictions, which were originally set to expire on Dec. 14, through Jan. 4.