The Haddonfield-based nonprofit Project Little Warriors (PLW) will host a memorial yoga service on Aug. 25 to mark the one-year anniversary of founder James Gaddy’s death.
Called “Gratitude for Gaddy,” the service will be held on the vista deck at Cooper River Park in Pennsauken. The session is donation-based and will feature Vinyasa-style candlelight yoga with live acoustic music from 6 to 7 p.m.
“We decided to commemorate where (Project Little Warriors) all started because (James) would do free classes at Cooper River at that deck all the time,” said Aubrey Newcomb, director of marketing and public relations for PLW.
“We thought it would be memorable.”
Gaddy founded the nonprofit in 2018 to bring mindfulness, yoga and self-love to schools throughout the Camden and Burlington county areas, with a focus on work in Camden.
Though the group hosts other annual events to raise funds for its work – such as a 5K and a gala – Newcomb noted that the Mindful Adventure Camp held a special place, as it was the last PLW event Gaddy was involved with before his death last August.
The camp began in June 2020, only weeks after Glisten Fit had opened. Kym Stone, its co-founder, met Gaddy through a mutual friend while looking for ways to use outdoor fitness space during a time when there weren’t many other things happening due to COVID. Since then, the camp has been offered each year once a month in June, July and August at no cost to campers.
“Because we base our classes in Camden, a lot of our kids are from the Camden area,” explained Newcomb. “ … We like to give it to the kids who have never been to camp and give them a day to be kids.”
The camp has about 12 to 30 campers each session, and has been funded both by PLW and through Glisten Fit’s adult mindful retreat, with $10 from registration at that event contributing.
“Each time we’ve offered camp, it’s something slightly different, but it’s very interactive and also introspective,” Stone said. “It’s a really beautiful moment.”
Kids take part in outdoor activities like yoga, paddle boarding and hiking as well as introspective activities like creating poems. This year, the camp’s final session is on Aug. 16.
“James’ vision for PLW was more than just, ‘Let’s give kids fitness,’” Stone recalled. “That was a piece of it, but ‘let’s give them purpose’ and ‘let’s give them an environment where they’re loved and accepted and thrive and grow and become exactly who they’re meant to be in the world’ (also) happened every time those kids drove down the path and came to camp.”
To learn more about PLW or to register for the memorial service, visit https://www.projectlittlewarriors.com/event-info/gratitude-for-gaddy-1.