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  • Writer's pictureShanna Kelly

Basketball court boot camp

Updated: Jun 19, 2020

A look into Stone Harbor Boot Camp and its July 5 Welcome Back to Summer event

Shanna Kelly | Seven Mile Satellite

Originally published 3 July 2019


Video | Shanna Kelly

“I wish I did this 45 years ago, instead of running seven days a week,” Tom Nerney said.

The activity in question: Stone Harbor Boot Camp, an exercise program at the Stone Harbor Recreation Center founded by Nick Elisano, director of Cape Regional Miracles Fitness. 

Stone Harbor Boot Camp was the island’s first outdoor exercise program. It started 12 years ago when Elisano went to the recreation director with an idea to create an outside fitness program. He was drawn to the idea because w

hile there were training studios and gyms, none of them took advantage of the shore setting. 

The boot camp started out just for women. But before Elisano knew it, women were asking to bring along their husbands and it became coed. Additionally, the program was initially only offered on weekends and has since expanded to five days a week — Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday — and is held from 8 to 9 a.m.

Donna Cashman and her family started participating in the boot camp four years ago after seeing people working out on the recreation center’s basketball court.

“It’s just a great way to spend

time together,” Cashman said. “Our children are pretty competitive, so they have fun, you know, pushing each other.” 

Photos | Shanna Kelly


The boot camp has around five trainers at a time to supervise the workouts and help with registration, which includes two options: a daily $15 pass or a 10 session punch card for $120 that enables one to have a discounted rate for their multiple sessions or bring guests along. 

The workouts are based on muscular endurance and metabolic conditioning. Regardless of one’s age, these types of exercises can challenge anyone, especially if they’re not used to this style of exercise.

“It’s very interesting to see some college kids of that age that can’t keep up with the aerobic side of things,” Nerney said. “But yet, they could probably go bench 300 pounds.” 

For Cashman, this mixture of exercise styles is what draws her family to the boot camp.

“My daughter and I like to run … and my husband and son both love to lift, they were both college football players,” Cashman said. “So, I think that’s probably what’s attractive about boot camp to all four of us is that it’s a total body workout that incorporates cardio and strength training.”

But while the program involves strength training, it doesn’t involve heavy weights and lifting. With that being said, not a lot of rest time is needed, so the workouts are done in intervals.

“That way, whatever your fitness level is, if it’s 45 seconds or a minute, you can work as long as you can and not have to worry about holding anyone else up,” Elisano said. “So, you can modify and get a great workout in.”

This ability to focus on one’s own workout also extends to allowing participants to read their bodies and rest as needed.

“You’ll see even the best conditioned athletes will sit down because they can’t stay hydrated, it’s hot or they went out the night before,” Elisano said.

According to Nerney, “everybody can do this stuff” since the exercises are every-day motions. 

“As you get older, it’s important because you want to keep doing those things,” Nerney said. “So, I think that functional component, like functional development, I think is very helpful.”

Nerney had a hip replacement last July and was at the boot camp two days later. While he doesn’t necessarily recommend following in his footsteps, he credits the boot camp for helping in his recovery. He’s now healing from a rotator cuff injury, and the boot camp is also helping with this rehabilitation. 

This Saturday, there were around 180 people at the boot camp, a typical number for weekends in the summer. According to Elisano, the boot camp draws this high level of attraction because it fits peoples’ fitness mindsets and their summer schedules.

“They’re down on vacation, they don’t want to lose what they’ve done to the rest of the year,” Elisano said. “People want to get [their workout] over with early so they have their whole day to enjoy the beach, the family and friends.”

The maximum number of people who’ve attended was during last year’s Fourth of July Welcome Back to Summer event. 300 people showed up — a reflection of how the program has grown since it first started and 30 people was a large showing. Elisano was prepared for 250 people and had to adjust and utilize the two basketball courts and the field. 

“So, this year we’ll be ready,” Elisano said. “You know, I’ll max out and I’ll have 400 spots.”

This year’s Welcome Back to Summer event will take place on July 5 and feature Lululemon Athletica Avalon, Playa Bowls Stone Harbor and a live DJ that will provide the music and interval countdowns during the work out. There will also be giveaways of donations from other local businesses. 

Shanna Kelly is a writer and editor for the Seven Mile Satellite. Contact her at

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