NewsSarasota, Manatee County


Retired couple starts youth sports camp to stay active

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Posted at 9:44 AM, Jul 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-26 15:45:31-04

BRADENTON, Fla. — Every year people retire to Florida, but there’s one retired couple from Michigan who said they are working harder than ever, and they’re loving every minute of it.

That’s because they’re impacting the lives of hundreds of children in their new community.

John and Karan Byrd decided to start their own sports camp franchises, Amazing Athletes and Super Soccer Stars.

“We were so excited to keep busy, healthy, keep our energy flowing, do something instead of just coming down to Florida and playing golf,” said John.

“Its bringing longevity to our lives, I do believe that,” said Karan.

They even brought in a secret weapon, their daughter Lauren, also a Michigan transplant.

“Growing up with them as my parents we were always doing something, we were at the park, we were at the pool, we were outside in the backyard jumping on the trampoline,” said Lauren. “I mean you’re looking at two of my best friends here, these are my heroes in life.”

The Byrds visit up to seven Child Development Centers throughout Bradenton and Sarasota, most recently Discovery Point.

“Once in a while at 6:30 in the morning Karen is like, ‘really we’re teaching again I thought today was a day off,’” joked John.

The camp focuses on the fundamentals of 10 different sports and continues to build on them each week.

“Some of the kids didn’t even feel comfortable with the ball coming toward them and now they want to be the first in line to catch the ball,” said John.

The camp also dives into nutrition tips. John and Karan said when they moved to Florida they already had two grandchildren and now it seems like they have 200.

“When we go into their classrooms to go pick them up they just light up and they come running to us, yeah its like we’re their second parents,” said Karan.

The Byrds hope to inspire other retirees moving to Florida, don’t be afraid to make an impact in your new community.

“We will stay healthier and we hope to live longer while we are doing this and being retired so we really aren’t retired anymore,” said John.