HUNTERSVILLE – Former NFL player Thomas Hill puts the fun into exercise through his Bounce Boot Camp initiative.
Bounce Boot Camp is a mobile inflatables company designed to encourage children 5 to 14 to exercise and stay active. Hill is in the process f building his Huntersville franchise.
Hill was inspired to start his concept in 2011 after jumping a few minutes in a bounce house for his daughter’s birthday.
“When I got out, my legs were burning. I was sweating. I got a workout from a bounce house castle,” Hill said. “I just got released from the Green Bay Packers for a year and I was still active from fitness and working out.”
He decided to get a specialist certification to better understand the functions and movements in children’s fitness.
In January, Hill pitched his Bounce Boot Camp program on ABC’s “Shark Tank.” Although the judges believed he had good intentions, they felt Hill was not ready to start a franchise, especially since he was also working in pharmaceutical sales.
“It was an amazing experience. I would definitely do it all over again,” Hill said. “I had all the answers to the questions they had. They probably wanted to see higher numbers. I was early in the game.”
Hill felt nervous when the doors opened and he and his daughter and friends walked down the hallway to pitch his idea to judges.
“It was like once the cameras were on and I was able to start talking, I felt comfortable like I was in my zone because I was confident in our product and in our results,” Hill said. “I was confident in knowing everything that I have done up to that point. I was kind of bummed they said no. It was fun and gives me great exposure.”
Hill is working full-time as an entrepreneur to get his business up and running.
Bounce Boot Camp offers benefits for entrepreneurs and families to set up camps at birthday parties, as well as corporate or school events.
The inflatables are custom made in California. Children can enjoy obstacle courses, slides, primary-colored general jumpers and a 4-foot long high camouflage slide that can even hold adults.
The hands-on indoor and outdoor camp includes team-building activities, relay races, obstacle exercises, battle ropes challenges and class packages.
Through the packages, certified trainers help kids reach a certain level and earn a dog tag based on their rank (private, sergeant, captain, etc).
“It’s a neat program that keeps the kids engaged and it gives them that reward,” Hill said.
Hill played college football at Kansas State. The NFL’s Green Bay Packers expressed an interest in Hill, but had to release him after he sprained his ankle and needed surgery.
“Now, I am in a position where I can give back,” Hill said. “For me, it’s going to continue Bounce Boot Camp and raising the kiddos. We are fortunate."
Paul Baker, owner of the Huntersville boot camp since May, always played sports and had an interest in fitness and nutrition. After seeing Hill on “Shark Tank,” Baker contacted him to get involved with his franchise of encouraging future generations to live healthier lives.
Baker received a huge response from parks and recreation and shifted his focus to Huntersville, which he said, carries a sense of community and appreciation for small businesses.
“We did Movies in the Park in May. I went to parks and rec and they said they will figure out a way to start in the fall,” Baker said. “I left my job behind to pursue this.”
Hill said it’s a blessing to have Baker help him with his vision and to invest his time, money and family to give back to kids.
“(Bounce Boot Camp) gives everyone a chance to have fun with fitness so we are going to encourage everybody to support his movement that he has brought to the area because it’s a special thing,” Hill said. “We want at Bounce Boot Camp every child, sports, non-sports. If you can’t catch a football, perfect. Bounce Boot Camp is for you.”
Want to bounce? Bounce Boot Camp combines the fun of inflatable obstacle courses, castles and slides into a fun fitness program for everyone. Details: www.bounce-boot-camp.com or 980-307-8751.