If there’s one word to describe Dee Ann Wilcox and her Martial Art’s School Rev It Up to the community, it’s inclusion.
For more than 30 years, Wilcox has been teaching martial arts throughout South Jersey. She is currently the head instructor and owner at Rev It Up – which has locations in Berlin Borough and Township – as well as the owner of what’s called “South Jersey’s Best Summer Camp.”
The borough location is also home to the RIU Academy, a nonprofit that provides services to individuals with special needs. Rev It Up is a child development center that uses martial arts as a vehicle for teaching.
Not only does RIU offer programs for children, young adults and grownups, it is also dedicated to helping special needs individuals practice Tae Kwon Do in a safe environment through its Spectrum Skillz program.
“For me it started because of my nephew with autism,” Wilcox said. “He was always saying, ‘I wanna do karate with Aunt Dee.’ I wanted to help him as best I can, not only as [his] aunt, but as [his] martial-arts instructor.”
“South Jersey’s Best Summer Camp” is an annual camp at Rev it Up’s borough location. The camp is not for karate, but it does allow participants to engage in martial-arts activities along with team sports, dancing, tumbling, and games.
“We have some kind of team sport every day … It’s not a karate camp,” Wilcox maintains. “Karate is just one small element. We had themed weeks, (for example), one week was Around the World, where we tried sports, food, dances from other countries
“ … Ten weeks of jam-packed fun.”
Wilcox takes the development of her students very seriously. Between the summer camp and Skillz program at Rev It Up, there is always something to involve kids. The Skillz program is a martial-arts training course for children that focuses on the four stages of development: physical, intellectual, emotional and social.
Rev It Up’s team includes Adam Freeman, who co-owns the studio with Wilcox, and “right-hand man” Julie Wintling, who has been doing martial arts with Wilcox since she was 7. Wintling is a fourth-degree black belt In Tae Kwon Do and two-Time national champion.
Wilcox and the entire Rev it Up team invite Berlin residents to the second annual ‘Trunk or Treat event on Saturday, Oct. 22, from 1 to 3 p.m. For more information about all events and classes, visit Rev it Up on Facebook or at its website, https://revitupnj.com/