What could compel a man to return from a 37-year boxing hiatus to fight a man in such a public forum?
Madness, you may say. Perhaps…
However, I’d like to think I’m fighting for a group of people who are fighting against incredible odds themselves. I’m fighting to bring awareness to the vicious incarceration cycle in our nation. I’m fighting because I believe that once you see the impact that Camp Hope has on people’s lives, you’ll want to fight for it too.
I grew up in Swindon, England, and, as the youngest of five brothers, I’ve had to fight for things my whole life. In my teenage years, I was introduced to the sport of boxing and fell in love with the challenges and life lessons it offers.
Forty years later, I’m the CEO of Manhattan Associates, a world leader in the supply chain and retail technology industries. We compete with the likes of IBM, Oracle and many other titans of technology. The lessons I learned with my older brothers and in the boxing ring prepared me for the professional challenges I face on a daily basis.
I was 19 years old and a lean 154 lbs. when I last entered the ring but it feels good to be back, training hard to get to a semblance of fighting weight against an opponent in his twenties. The trainers at Champs Gym are kind enough to train this 56-year-old body to move like it did so many years ago (after all, 56 is the new 26).
A staggering one in 28 kids in the U.S. has a parent who is incarcerated, and national statistics tell us that if a child has an incarcerated parent there is a 71% likelihood that the child will follow the parent to prison. We MUST break this vicious cycle – that’s where Camp Hope comes in.
Started in 1999, Camp Hope is a free overnight camp that gives children of incarcerated parents a week filled with love, activities, and fellowship designed to show them their greater purpose in life.
The organization teaches campers how to build positive relationships and fundamental life skills. In the organization’s 17 years, the organization has served more than 650 campers. Impressively, only one of the 90 youth and young adults ages 17 and older who have completed Camp Hope's six-year camp programming curriculum and completed one year as a teen counselor has ever been incarcerated. According to national statistics, that number would be 63 people incarcerated.
Please help me support and spread awareness for this wonderful cause. Whether you can donate to this page, share it on social media, or both- every bit helps. And, together, we can “help “knock out” the cycle of incarceration in this country.
So, is it foolish for me to step back into the ring after a 37-year boxing hiatus? Probably. Is it worth it? Definitely.