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Pavi Toor poses for a portrait during a workout session with the non-profit weight lifting club for teenagers he started in Abbotsford, B.C. called Young Guns.Jesse Winter/The Globe and Mail

The organizer: Pavi Toor

The pitch: creating Young Guns Weightlifting Club

Pavi Toor has had a long interest in fitness and when his 15-year old son began playing basketball, Mr. Toor suggested he do some weight training.

Mr. Toor couldn’t find any weight programs for teenagers around the family’s home in Mission, B.C., and private gyms were often too intimidating for young people. “Most 15-year-old kids don’t like to walk into a big gym where everyone is staring at them,” he said.

Mr. Toor decided to strike out on his own and he reserved space in a gym at a local recreation centre. He also hired a personal trainer and encouraged more kids from his son’s basketball team to take part.

That eventually led to the creation of the Young Guns Weightlifting Club in 2019. Membership is free and the club is open to boys and girls between the ages of 14 and 18. Mr. Toor also recently added a boxing program and members train about four days a week.

To cover the cost, Mr. Toor and his sons — Jaiden, 16, and Pravin, 13 — sell high-protein donuts made by a local bakery and other merchandise. They’ve sold around $12,000 worth of products so far and also received some funding from the United Way. The club has around 24 members and Mr. Toor said the objective is to teach teenagers how to train safely and effectively.

Mr. Toor, 44, said he also wants the program to give at-risk young people a chance to engage in something constructive. “I started to see some kids go down the wrong path,” he said. “The club started off small but it kept getting bigger, more than we thought it would be.”

The growth has been an “unreal experience,” he added. “You’re meeting all these kids and starting to see them grow and develop is pretty surreal to be honest.”

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