Mentoring Through Weight Training

This article originally appeared in the February 2012 issue of MemphiSport.

Growing up is hard to do – something that Kelvin “York” Brown knows all too well. Born and raised in New York City, “York” Brown draws his nickname both from his roots in the Big Apple as well as from his demeanor that so perfectly reflects the attitude and toughness of the nation’s largest city.

During his days growing up in the big city, York was exposed to all the distractions that kids and teenagers often fall victim to in their development process. Luckily, York was enrolled in a program during his youth called the Police Athletic League (PAL) where he was educated about the dangers of things like drugs, alcohol and steroids.

“Through the grace of God, I was exposed to all those things at a young age,” York explained. “So, in order to be able to participate in that league’s games and what not, you had to attend all these training sessions. Those sessions were invaluable.”

That experience and the quick maturation of his son, Kelvin Brown II – known as Scotty – led York to the idea of starting his own version of the PAL program. Scotty plays football for Shelby Youth Sports (SYS), and York quickly noticed a lack of proper instruction off the field.

“I wanted to make sure he was getting the proper training and getting exposed to the right kinds of things,” York said. “This is the age when kids start getting exposed to drugs, alcohol, steroids and other things like that.”

Standing well over six-feet and built like a boxer, York’s pure physicality is something a person notices as soon as he steps into the room. That type of presence and the way kids reacted to it, York says, is what led him to start his program.“Kids see a buff guy, and they are just drawn to him. (Scotty) told me kids were asking how to get muscles, so I wanted to make sure they knew what they are doing,” York said.

York’s program goes beyond the science of fitness and delves deeply into the psychology of becoming a successful athlete. As he points out to the children, a superior athlete draws his strengths from both his mind and his body. Success as an athlete is something York knows well, going back to his days as an All-American on the basketball court and in the classroom for the Buffalo Bison. Therefore, York mentors the kids about proper diet and fitness in addition to leading them through workout routines.

Along with CeeCee Hines, another trainer at Power Life Fitness, York trains the children – who are ages 12 through 16 – on Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. While many group exercises are performed, fitness and diet plans are tailored for each member of the class.

“They do a full body workout, so it doesn’t focus on one area,” York said. “You have to understand that kids’ bodies are still developing and you can only push the muscle and muscle fibers so far.”

The focus of the program – just like the focus for everyone involved at Power Life – is to have a plan for fitness and dieting each and every day. York’s program with the kids provides a blueprint of healthy living for the children to follow. “Our whole thing here at Power Life is for you to know what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it each and every day.”

The program, which started with just a few kids that were involved with his son’s youth football team, has quickly ballooned to 14 children that come from a diverse array of backgrounds. “I have kids that go to ECS. I have kids that go to Melrose. I have kids that go to Houston. They all come to me. The words just kind of got out.”

Tory Dotson has two sons – Sidney and Tyler – that play with York’s son in the SYS football leagues and says York’s program is the best around. “With York’s experience and background, I knew this was the best place for my kids to be,” Dotson said. “Especially with my oldest son who had hip surgery in August – we get training and physical therapy all at the same place with York. He’s the best.”

York’s influence and results with the children was so apparent that he inspired some of the parents to start their own training regiments. Dotson is now in his fourth week of working out his own plan with Power Life Fitness, and he says the results are already noticeable.

“I was hurting so bad my first week in here, but I’m really starting to get into it,” Dotson said. “The changes are noticeable. I sleep better and feel better when I wake up in the mornings. It’s nice to do something with the kids, too.”

Whether your children are striving to be the best at their respective sport or just trying to start living a healthier lifestyle, York’s training program is the place for them. For more information, contact Power Life Fitness at 901-454-0003 or visit them online at

Written by Preston McClellan, Photos by Chris Evans

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