Have you ever watched American Ninja Warrior or ANW Jr. on TV? American Ninja Warrior and National Ninja League are two competitions that showcase ninja skills. If you have seen them, then you know just how challenging it is to complete an obstacle course that tests a ninja’s strength, agility, and coordination. Six ninjas—Matt Guardo, Jamie Rahn, Zach Day, Clint Sarion, Josh Gillow, and Eric Totten—pitched in to help Turn to Us, a Pennsylvania non-profit organization, hold a Spectrum of Support Track and Field Day for kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other medical challenges. Kids of all ages gathered to try out various obstacles from rings to swivel steps as the ninjas guided them through the course at The Pyramid in Lehighton, Pennsylvania.
Kids such as Colton and Alexa Lienhard, Harmony Montgomery, and Dalton Fredericks, made some great memories! They shared their favorite obstacles: the tunnel (Colton), football (Alexa), rings (Harmony), and balance bar (Dalton). Also, Harmony’s and Dalton’s favorite Ninja was Rahn (who appeared on 21 seasons/shows of ANW) because, as Dalton put it, he’s “the guy with the green hair.”
Turn to Us helps people of all ages who have major and chronic illnesses—and their families—with physical, financial, and emotional support. It offers its members the opportunity to have a special wish granted so that they can perhaps forget about their health struggles for one hour or one day.
Thanks to the generous donation of a building in Nesquehoning by St. Luke’s Miners Hospital, Turn to Us is trying to raise $80,000 to build the first Fun Factory Sensory Gym in Northeast Pennsylvania. They have raised $2,000 and are hoping to bring in additional donations through a Run Ride in November. Panther Valley Elementary School is saving the change from its book fair, and Lehigh Carbon Community College is running its own fundraiser. You can find more information at turntousinc.org/spectrum-sensory-gym.
I interviewed the six ninjas to find out a little bit more about them.
What is your favorite obstacle?
Jamie Rahn: Vertical Limit (1/10 as big as a cliff hanger)
Matt Guardo: Anything I can swing and fly from!
Zach Day: Crazy Cliff Hanger
Clint Sarion: Cannonball Alley
Why did you choose to be part of this event?
Josh Gillow: I love ninja, [and] I know others don’t have the opportunity to do it, so that’s why it’s fun to bring it to them!
Eric Totten: It’s not just about being strong, it’s about encouraging others!
What was your favorite subject in school and why?
Clint Sarion: Biology, [because] it’s important to learn how our body works.
Zach Day: Gym class because I can be myself.
Jamie Rahn: Math [and] problem solving.
Describe your ideal day and all the fun things you would do.
Eric Totten: Anything that involves something new!
Josh Gillow: Getting up to the sunshine, being able to serve as many people as possible, and then finish it off with a Ninja class!
If you could create the ice cream sundae to end all ice cream sundaes, what flavors and toppings would you choose?
Matt Guardo: Cake batter and brownie cake batter with hot fudge on both, peanut butter syrup on the side, and cherries on the top.
Zach Day: Chocolate peanut butter with peanut butter sauce and hot fudge, and Reese's peanut butter whipped cream.