Silverbacks Rise at L327-Fitness Camp

In 2021, ER’s Gabe Fisher launched L327-Fitness to mentor young men in South Africa to lead successful lives. To end the year, he invited six “Silverback” boys (interns) to participate in a fitness camp. This took place at a community farm in Beaufort West operated by ER partner ATAIM. Below Gabe shares the results of this two-day camp.


One of the main tenets of functional fitness is being fit enough to tackle the unknown and unknowable. I took this to heart when planning our camp experience. At each stop on the trip from Cape Town to Beaufort West, the six apprentices had to complete a challenge.

Our first challenge consisted of holding a 6-kilogram (15-pound) weight overhead and completing a 20-meter burden carry.

Our second challenge was a classic – the Sally up Sally down plank challenge. The boys completed this challenge in the parking lot of a gas station in the small town of Laingsburg. Needless to say, we got a few wayward glances.

L327-Fitness Life SkillsOur final challenge began 1 kilometer from the entrance to the farm. I spoke to the boys about paying respect to those who paved the path before us. I told them we are only capable of reaching the stars because we stand on the shoulders of the giants who came before us. At that point, each apprentice was given a 6-kilogram (15-pound) weight. We would complete the last 1 kilometer to the gates of the farm doing a farmer’s carry.


We needed a workout that would challenge the apprentices. One of the greatest benchmark workouts in functional fitness is “Murph”. Murph was named after a fallen service member and is performed at most many gyms on Memorial day in his honor. A Murph consist of doing exercises consecutively for time:

  • 1-mile run
  • 100 pull ups
  • 200 push ups
  • 300 air squats
  • 1-mile run

The boys did really well. They all completed the challenge in less than one hour. We completed our camp with a fitness clinic and a time of fellowship. What a great weekend!

Scroll below to learn more about L327-Fitness.


Thomas Finds Purpose as Fitness Apprentice

Finding purpose in life takes many forms. Sometimes, it starts with a chance meeting in a grocery store. See how one young man from the settlement of Masiphumelele found a acceptance and purpose in ER’s new functional fitness program.

By Gabe Fisher, L327-Fitness Director

L327 Fitness

The Silverbacks of L327-Fitness are “muscling up” physically, emotionally and spiritually. Thomas is on the right.

Thomas’ path to L327-Fitness began at a local supermarket chain in July. While checking out, I struck up a conversation with the cashier. She noticed my accent and asked what brought me to South Africa.

After sharing about Extreme Response and the Fish Hoek Dream Center, she asked if there were any programs for youth. With excitement, I told her we just launched the L327 Functional Fitness program.

She responded that her nephew was at home “sitting around” and was looking for something to fill his time. I told her he would be welcome. She told me he would be there.

Low and behold, the following day a spindly young man from a local settlement appeared at the gym, having no clue what he was getting himself into. Fast forward a few weeks and Thomas* became the fifth member of our Silverback crew (the name the group chose for themselves).

Fourteen-year-old Thomas is the strong, quiet type. As a fitness apprentice, he is filled with potential. He and the other Silverbacks are growing physically and emotionally. I see his self-confidence and leadership qualities developing week after week.

My hope for Thomas is he that grows to realize his full potential as an image-bearer of Christ and he realize amazing success as an adult. Learn more about L327-Fitness here.

When you donate to ER, you are helping youth like Thomas overcome extreme hardship to find lasting hope through education, life skills, loving relationships and faith. We need your support so we can keep helping kids. To give, click here. Thank you!

*Name changed for privacy.


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