If you’re looking for energy and enthusiasm, look no further than Kody Stroud.
The athletic supervisor for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County’s Nappanee Clubhouse works hard to harness his passion for sports to encourage members to try new things.
“Sports has always been a thing for me. It’s also a huge stress reliever. I like to give these kids different experiences,” he said.
Stroud came to the Club after working at Bashor Children’s Home in Goshen. He originally applied to work in the teen room at the Goshen Club, but when that position was filled, he was encouraged to join the team in Nappanee.
“Sports was a perfect fit for me. So, I’m glad that’s how I got my foot in the door.”
He said he wants members to feel comfortable in the gym and try things that may not be “traditional” sports.
“Some of them have never tried these sports. Maybe they’re not good at traditional sports, but they find out they’re good at pickleball or something else. I love that we can help build their confidence,” he said.
Stroud said sports can help kids stay out of trouble by providing a different outlet for their energy.
“It can be something they need to keep them on the right track or keep their mind off something that’s bothering them,” he said.
He’s seen the behavior of some members change as they build their confidence. As they progress, he encourages them to stay humble.
“One member has become a better kid in other parts of the Club. His attitude is more cheerful now.”
Having served in the military and now a Sergeant First Class in the National Guard, Stroud was away from the Club for a few weeks earlier this year for training in Slovakia. He said the kids were interested in hearing about why he was away.
“I love sharing my experience with them. Some of them may not be bound for college, but I want them to see that you can make a successful career in other areas. I want to help them understand there is more than one way to achieve a result,” Stroud said.
He said Club can help members deal with life’s ups and downs.
“I just want them to know how to adapt in a world that isn’t fair sometimes. They can develop skills to overcome obstacles with some hard work.”