Pam Ireland tells us how much she enjoys teaching KFA classes – after 30 years!
Pam Ireland, a KFA teacher and winner of the EMD UK-sponsored Contribution to Community Fitness Category at the National Community Fitness Awards, has shared her story with us.
The KFA (Keep Fit Association) is a national association promoting exercise, movement and dance classes which are suitable for all ages and abilities and are mainly held in the local community. It appeals primarily to the older lady but there is also the opportunity for younger people to start a lifetime of keeping fit. KFA organises its own teacher training courses along with CPD training for existing teachers. It is a caring association for its teachers and class members and through its classes helps to keep the community fit and active.
I first went to KFA classes with my twin sister when we were 17, only taking a break from classes when I had my three children. When I returned to classes, my teacher recommended I took the teacher training course in Coventry. I agreed, just for the experience, not to actually teach, but here I am 37 years later at the age of 71(!) still teaching three classes a week. Some of my members have been coming to my classes since my very first one in 1983. Many more have been coming for over 20 years. We are one big happy family and it is pleasing to see that the ladies have made lifelong friends within the class. We are all getting older now and mainly my members’ age range is from 60s to 90s.
When a new member starts at my class. I make a point of speaking to them, asking about their keep fit experience and any medical problems and advising them to work at their own level. The other members are always very welcoming, and I always make sure I remember and call them by their name. I am always there to listen to their medical, family or work problems. The classes help ladies through bereavement, operations, relieving stress and warding off dementia. Hopefully improving their balance and strength will help prevents falls and keep them out of hospital.
I love being a KFA teacher as it gives me great satisfaction to know that I am keeping my class members fit and healthy and giving them a good social life. It is good to see that I am increasing their wellbeing with exercise, laughter and singing!
I take part in the Race for Life with my two daughters and four grandchildren every year and my members always sponsor me. Outside of the classes I organise a Christmas lunch with a big raffle and auction for charity. When there wasn’t a class I used to organise rambles in the summer which now have turned into a meal out!
On alternate years, KFA organises a national festival and championships for members to either attend or participate in. I have been the Floor Manager at the championships for the last seven events, working with my husband John who is the sound engineer. I am regularly the compere at West Midlands AGM rallies. I have produced team items locally and regionally and also performed in countless teams. The most memorable was in a skipping team performing at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 1984. I always order the spectator tickets for the members for the national festival and championships. I also renew on their behalf the national membership online to save them money.
As well as being a teacher, for the last 30 years I have sat (and still sit) on local and regional committees. I have also sat on the national KFA committee, been Chairman of Coventry and West Midlands and a representative on the national board for four years. I started a new national membership drive many years ago and have one of the biggest members list in the West Midlands.
When I won my award I was very shocked and surprised. But at the same time very proud, honoured and humbled . I have had huge support from my members and family and felt I was accepting it on behalf of many KFA teachers who are doing similar things to me.
I am hoping to continue teaching KFA classes for the foreseeable future and enjoy meeting up with my keep fit “friends and family” every week.
I will continue to be on local and regional committees to help organise events for the members to attend.
Long may it continue!
To find your local KFA class, why not use classfinder the UK’s largest directory of group exercise classes?