Coach: "It's going to be worth it"
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- The West Side Boxing Club downtown has spent years transforming lives.
They've molded some pretty good boxers, but more importantly some very good men and women.
Next week, they're out to get more involved. They're holding a week long boxing camp called Boxing not Bullets.
"I'd love to be a young person again, but I wouldn't want to face the difficulties our young people are exposed to today," says West Side Boxing Club Administrator Joe Smith.
Boxing Not Bullets; the title is simple but the message is deep.
"Using the sport of boxing to help kids develop good character. We want to give them a lot of information about gangs and violence, drugs and alcohol about good decision making," says Joe.
Joe says Monday's week long camp teaches life lessons, not just boxing.
Club boxer and former National Champion Ryan Martin is a testament to what they preach.
"I feel like I was born here," he says. "It's what I know, it taught me everything I need to know about a man. I think it will teach the kids responsibility, teach them how to go down the right path and to grow up and be good young men."
Camp members will soak in stories and lessons from reverends, former Olympic boxers, pro athletes and the Chattanooga Gang Task Force.
Joe says the goal is simple.
"It's that after they spend a week in camp here, they'll say, 'hey, I want to continue to be involved in that Jabbing for Jesus Boxing Club'," Joey says.
West Side Boxing Coach Andy Smith knows hooking everyone at camp isn't a reality, but that's okay.
"Our number one thing is that if we can touch the life of one kid, it will be worth it," Smith says. "So hopefully out of the 50-60 kids that show up on Monday, it's going to be worth it."
If you have a kid, $25 is all it takes. Show up at the West Side Boxing Club Monday at 9:00 a.m.
Ages eight and up are welcome.