Jae Russell and his boys, Ashton, 5 and Oliver, 3, use the YMCA almost every day to stay active. Jae works for the military and, shortly after the stay-at-home ordinance, he started to work from home. His wife, Kelsey, a nurse for Springfield Clinic, was an essential worker which left Jae at home with the boys. Jae grew up in Riverton and spent a lot of time as a child at the Downtown YMCA. He says all the time he spent at the YMCA as a child helped him keep busy and out of trouble. He wants the same thing for his boys.
The boys stay active at the YMCA through swim lessons and basketball. Shooting around on the basketball courts at Kerasotes was the perfect way the three of them could do something together. Jae says there are some days they spend up to two hours on the basketball court. Ashton has really taken to basketball and, at age 5, has a decent shot and great ball-handling skills. Oliver spends his time running energetically back and forth on the court. He does stop occasionally for a drink of water and his 3-year-old impersonations of Godzilla and King Kong.
Jae recently enrolled Ashton in the YMCA basketball clinics that take place at the Downtown facility and has offered to help assist with these clinics. Jae said, “I want my boys to understand sitting at home all the time is not normal. Daily exercise is so important for creating healthy habits early. I want my boys to understand that exercise is good for both the body and the mind.” We love having them in our facilities and are keeping our eye on Ashton. We have had many famous people play basketball on our courts. Who knows, maybe Ashton will be the next basketball star to come out of Springfield and Oliver definitely has a future in entertainment. Russell family, thanks for sharing your story with us!