CrossFit Gives Another New Beginning

Photo courtesy of Linda Denham Photography.
Photo courtesy of Linda Denham Photography.

It’s a fitting name for an inspirational girl. “Genesis” means a new beginning, and that’s exactly what she received when she walked into Steve’s Club 4 years ago.

“I used to be a hard core anorexic,” said Genesis. “Steve’s Club helped me see I was better than that. CrossFit became my escape and gave me an amazing view of my future. I refuse to be a statistic.”

Every day after school, about 40 young athletes from the hard streets of Camden City, NJ pour into “Steve’s Club,” the gym at Steve’s PaleoGoods. They lift weights, jump on boxes, climb ropes and do pull ups–as a way to pull out of the perils of street life. Some of the older teens even work next door in the warehouse where PaleoGoods are made, packed and shipped.

A positive force within the group, Genesis is an excellent role model for the female athletes. Always the first one to arrive and the last one to leave, Genesis loves warming up the group, helping new kids acclimate to the program and putting in extra work on her Oly lifts and higher-skill gymnastic movements. She is 19 years old.

“I’ve come so far, and I am responsible for my own success,” said Genesis, who studies Physical and Health Science at Camden County College. “It’s my goal to get my Masters in Physical Therapy and and get certified to coach CrossFit.”

Genesis was born and raised in Camden, often touted as one of the most dangerous cities in the country. The harsh reality of her everyday life is something most only see on television. But thanks to the strength she gave herself within the walls of Steve’s Club, she wants to help others find a better way.

“I want to give back to my city,” said Genesis. “I’ve always loved Camden. Even though I’ve grown up seeing things I shouldn’t have seen so young. After seeing everything good and bad, it’s molded me into the person I am today.”

Steve’s PaleoGoods was born in Camden in 2007. Steve was working for his father’s exterminating business, but his real passion was nutrition and fitness. After getting to know some young teens on his route, he was moved to invite them to workout with him in a local park. From the conditions they were living in, Steve knew their recreational options were limited and potentially dangerous.  

Before long, Steve had a pack of kids he trained with whatever equipment he could fit in the trunk of his car. A firm believer in paleo nutrition, Steve wanted to provide a nutritious lunch for his young athletes that they could eat at school. So he packaged beef jerky, nuts and berries to stay fresh in their backpack. And our flagship product the PaleoKit was born.

Knowing he had stumbled upon a solution for paleo dieters looking for hard-to-find portable lunch and snack options, Steve started selling his PaleoKits online. Seven years and 60 products later, athletes, outdoor enthusiasts and paleo people around the globe have made Steve’s PaleoGoods their favorite on-the-go clean eating options.

Although the company has grown, one thing will never change. Helping at-risk youth like Genesis realize their potential through fitness, nutrition and leadership skills is the driving force behind Steve’s PaleoGoods. Each purchase changes lives–15% of the proceeds go directly to Steve’s Club National Program with 30 local clubs around the country.

“People think Camden is so bad, yet there’s still people like Steve who see the good in us,” said Genesis. “I wanna let more people see the good and see there’s more to Camden then just drugs and violence. We are so much more.”