Taryn Wells initially did not want his family to enter the Boys and Girls Clubs of America’s Fit Family Challenge.
With strong encouragement from his mother, he reluctantly got on board.
“At first I was like ‘No,’ because I don’t want to change, and I really like my bacon,” said the 11-year-old Augusta resident. “Then my mom encouraged me to do it, so I ended up doing it.”
The Fit Family Challenge was developed by The Boys and Girls Clubs of America and Coca-Cola to encourage families to adopt a more healthful lifestyle. The program has three components: Triple Play Mind, Triple Play Body and Triple Play Soul. The family receives packets filled with information and activities designed to teach families how to eat a more balanced diet, incorporate more physical activity and enhance their personal relationships.
One family was chosen from each Boys and Girls Club across the country to compete.
The Wells family has advanced to the third stage of competition and was selected out of 200 families to be one of five finalists.
On Jan. 10, the family will fly to Los Angeles, where they will meet three-time Olympic Gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee and compete against the other families for the top prize: a trip to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The final competition will consist of a talent show, a trivia bowl and an obstacle course. The Wells family is now working together on an entry for the talent competition and studying for the trivia bowl.
For the past few months, Wells has recorded the families activities in a weekly tracker that she submitted to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
Each member of the family said they learned something new by participating.
Taryn said he learned to like salad. Jadyn, 14, said he found he enjoyed exercising. Waylon, 13, tried mango for the first time and found that he likes it.
None of the three boys appreciated the blind taste test that was one of the activities. And they unanimously agreed that they don’t like wasabi peas.
“It tastes like hot chalk in your mouth,” Taryn said.
For Wells, a single mother working three jobs, the best part has been the quality time she is now spending with her boys.
“We didn’t do anything together because I was always working,” she said.
The boys often did things together, but Wells felt that she was always working, cooking or cleaning the house – too busy to spend time with her children.
“I like the quality time,” she said. “Finding time to do it is a challenge, but when you do, it’s kind of worth it. Even if it’s just a movie in your room together, it’s worth it.”
Taryn said he also appreciates the newfound quality time with his family that the program has shown them.
“I like that we get to bond a lot,” he said.