The YWCA is re-energizing its fitness programs with help from a former Philadelphia Eagle.
Ron Johnson, a York native who was a defensive end with the Eagles from 2003 to 2005, joined the YWCA of York staff on July 16.
He will develop the organization's youth fitness programs, sports-specific training programs for schools, and youth and adult boot camps.
There are plans to offer fitness boot camps for youth and adults, self-improvement and healthy cooking seminars, an overnight youth program at the YW's Camp Cann-Edi-On in York Haven, and a boys' version of a running program that the YW already offers girls.
In the community: Johnson -- who retired from professional play because of a serious back injury -- also will do personal training, coordinate community fitness events and speak to students at local schools about education, fitness and planning for the future.
"There's more to life than sports," said Johnson, 32, of York. "You need a plan. I got hurt in my second year playing (professional) football. I had a plan and education."
Deb Stock, YWCA's executive director, said she is thrilled Johnson has joined the organization's "team."
She also said Johnson's presence and programs could draw more men to the YW's exercise facilities and programs.
"We had a gap with getting more men in our fitness programs, but having Johnson join us with all the experience he has, this was the missing piece for us."
Career path: Johnson grew up in York County, graduating from York Catholic High School in 1998. He said he was a gifted athlete who focused more on sports than academics. As a result, major universities with nationally known football programs shied away from him after seeing his grades.
He went on to play for Shippensburg University and graduated in 2002 with a bachelor's degree in speech communication. While at Shippensburg he gained the attention of several NFL scouts, including those from the Eagles.
Since his NFL days, Johnson has been doing public speaking and founded Ron's Rising Stars youth football camp, which he
runs at Shippensburg University. He worked at the Athlete's Advantage Training Center in Conshohocken, Montgomery County, where he provided advanced training programs for high school and college athletes.
Johnson also worked at the Juvenile Detention Center of Delaware County, designing and implementing programs to help adjudicated youth improve their lives and learn how to contribute to their communities.
Johnson said he enjoyed living in Philadelphia for the last 10 years, but is glad to move back to York, where he grew up.
-- Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at firstname.lastname@example.org.