Raising Positivity: Alaska State Fair's American Ninja Warrior camp is about more than athletics
The man coined as the “Eskimo Ninja" and known for his athletic ability on the TV show “American Ninja Warrior,” is running a “Ninja Pro Camp” at the Alaska State Fair. The camp is an opportunity for kids – and adults – to try obstacles inspired by the show.
“They went through the floating ladders, they swung themselves off full send on the wing nuts, and a bunch of them made it up that 12 and 14-and-a-half foot warp wall. It was an amazing day,” said “Eskimo Ninja” Nick Hanson.
Hanson said seven Ninja Warriors came from all over the U.S. to coach kids “to become the next American Ninja Warrior."
At the end of the day, there was an opportunity for kids to come back and race the ninja course. The prize was an Apple Watch donated by GCI.
Before Hanson was on “American Ninja Warrior,” he was a teacher’s aide and a civil engineering student in college. He also coached sports in his hometown of Unalakleet and competed in the World Eskimo Indian Olympics.
Hanson said through the TV show, he became a professional athlete. But he says his game plan took a turn.
“Until this wave hits the beach, I’m going to continue to try to do what I do and be an ambassador for Alaska," Hanson said.
For Hanson, these camps mean more to him than just teaching kids about Ninja Warrior obstacles. Hanson’s biggest passion is youth and making sure the kids of Alaska and the kids in rural communities have something to look forward to.
He says he wants to share his message with the younger generation so he can help people overcome life obstacles, which includes advocating for suicide prevention. Hanson said he wants to help prevent as many suicides as he can.
“I know what it takes in order to go deep, and to go into that dark place, but also be able to get out of it,” he said. “And to be able to know there is hope, there is something for us out there. And right now, for me, American Ninja Warrior is that hope. My family, my community, the state of Alaska and the people in Alaska, that’s my hope.”
By showing positive interaction, Hanson said he is helping prevent suicide.
“Showing these kids that if they came from a broken home like me, if they come from a community like mine, if they come from a place where they are going to a dark place like I have, then they can still stay positive, and Ninja Warrior is a great outlet for that," he said.
This weekend, at one of the ninja camps, a parent told Hanson they flew all the way from New York just to be a part of the camp.
According to Hanson, the dad said the positivity at the camp was valuable for his children to see because the children had been struggling with school and bullying, and the camp gave the kids another sense of hope.
Editor's note: GCI is the parent company of KTVA.
Copyright 2019 KTVA. All rights reserved.
MORE NEWS FROM KTVA: