Kids Run RVA Profiles: Staying Active and Adapting to the 'New Normal' with Coach Nate Galloway
By: Chaz Coleman, Kids Run RVA Program Manager
Since the ‘new normal’ imposed by Coronavirus/COVID-19 has been in place, Kids Run RVA has been working hard to provide content to help families and kids stay active. We have created a YouTube playlist and are constantly sharing our workout and activity videos via Facebook and Twitter. At the forefront of our videos you will find our dedicated Kids Run RVA coaches leading exercises and games that are fun, active, and definitely kid friendly. A lot of our coaches happen to be teachers across the Richmond region with plenty of experience working with kids, and I had a chance to conduct a phone interview with one of those individuals recently. Nate Galloway is a Physical Education (PE) teacher at Richmond’s Westover Hills Elementary School and has been coaching a Kids Run RVA club there for the past six years. Read our interview below with Coach Nate and see how he is adapting to the ‘new normal’ while still being a fitness role model for his kids at Westover Hills and the community in general.
Chaz Coleman: When COVID-19 caused Virginia schools to be out for two weeks, what was your initial reaction?
Nate Galloway: My reactions came in different stages. When they told us that we were closing for two weeks, my first initial reaction was we are going to get this break, which mentally was great. Before we left for the break I took it upon myself to stop my current curriculum and reteach my students about germs and how to stay healthy. During the break, I was thinking of what we were going to do when we got back. After they announced that we wouldn’t go back this school year, I needed a solid day to reflect about what would happen now.
CC: I know the school-closing announcement was devastating for everyone: teachers, students, and parents. After the schools closed permanently, what was your next step?
NG: I went to my ClassDojo, which is a Facebook equivalent of how we communicate with parents and kids, and started putting out some videos. The first one was a short eight-minute video with me just telling the parents and kids that this is how we will be communicating from now on. I was just very honest and told all the parents that this a tough time, but I will do what I can to make sure we can pick up where we left off once we get back to the school. I received a lot of support from the parents and my principal, so I kept putting out more videos! They were keeping me sane!
CC: That is great that you have remained in contact with your kids and their parents during this time. How and why did you get involved with making videos for RPS Health and PE?
NG: I received a text from Dr. Stefanie Ramsey, our Instructional Specialist for Health and P.E., and Jacki Quinlan, from Sports Backers, saying they were doing this video series to help keep people active and thought I should join them. I wanted to keep producing quality videos for everyone and thought this is a way to do it. It was a big jump from talking to my laptop to being filmed by Dr. Ramsey, but after my initial video at Forest Hill Park, they reassured me that I was doing great and encouraged me to keep going!
CC: Your videos have been great, so keep the content coming! What are some other things that you have been doing in the community?
NG: I participated in a drive-thru parade in the nearby neighborhoods around Westover Hills. Our principal, Allison El Koubi, did a great job of planning the parade while having her own kids to take care of at home. Her leadership along with countless others in our community has inspired me. The work we are doing is not required but what we are doing is essential to our school communities. I am just trying to do anything to help kids learn from home, so they are safe. I’m trying to stay busy but more importantly keep the kids busy and HEALTHY!
CC: Last question Nate: What advice do you have for Kids Run RVA coaches, or anyone else reading this, who wants to get more involved in the community, but may not know the best way to do that?
NG: The best advice that I have is that, the way technology is now, you don’t have to do anything fancy. You can do some simple things like YouTube tutorials to learn how to do these things. Try to use technology to your advantage. I know some people fear putting themselves out there, but my goal isn’t trying to get a million YouTube subscribers. My goal is to put content out there for people because we want the nation to stay healthy! My videos aren’t perfect, and I don’t know everything in fitness. My main focus is to continue teaching and continue doing what I love. This is just a different way!
CC: I appreciate you taking time to share your story and continuing to be a fitness role model. Anything else you want to say?
NG: I really do miss my kids at Westover Hills and being at work. I hate not being in the school and not being able to communicate with my kids. Since this is my sixth year teaching, I am sad that I won’t get to see the kids that started Kindergarten in my first year graduate as fifth graders this year. To students and families: please feel free to reach out to me for anything you need. Keep pushing and stay ACTIVE!