One-Two Punch

The Boot Camps with a Purpose program does a body—and community—good.

Boot Camps with a Purpose founder Matt Sgro leads the charge.Every other Saturday morning, people subject their bodies to an hour of sweat and military-style exercise at Exton’s Elite Personal Training facility. But they’re also working their hearts, donating every last cent generated from their class fees to charity through the Boot Camps with a Purpose program.

It’s a testament to the power of giving that BCWAP has expanded from its Exton headquarters to nearly 200 outposts around the globe in fewer than three years. It all began when founder Matt Sgro took a stroll down the condiments aisle at a local grocery store. “I saw the Paul Newman salad dressings and thought, ‘What if I just gave away all the money I earned doing something I loved?’”

From there, the fitness guru began hosting classes that earned $15,000 for Faithful Friends’ No-Kill Animal Shelter in Wilmington, Del. In Sgro’s first year, that number grew to $100,000 and has skyrocketed since. “All of our trainers are volunteers,” says Sgro. “They do it for the feel-good thing, not the money.”

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Locations in Bala Cynwyd, West Chester, Newtown Square and Coatesville also offer BCWAP classes. Fees for boot-camp classes come in the form of personal checks made out directly to the chosen charity and are sometimes accompanied by a donated item. There are few local outlets that fuse fitness and philanthropy to this degree, and Sgro knows more can be done. “One thing that bothers me is that people say there are no good people left in the world,” he says. “If you want to be cynical, go do that somewhere else. We’re doing this here and now.”

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