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Collin Clonts, Ethan Clonts, Dockyn Coates, Braden Creon, Steven Dill, Alex Garcia, Sylas Ledesma, Liam LePoidevin, Benji Nadirov, Arthur Padillas, Logan Ruiz, Christian Stupak, Isaiah Walker, Imanuel Walker, and Ethan Wigginton. The 15 Graduates of The Spartan Challenge. Photo Credit: Lorraine Creon

Elizabeth Diers
For the Skamania Observer

The Spartan Challenge is an initiative of the organization Flash Love. The challenge was created to develop physical, mental, and spiritual strength in young men and to build strong leaders for the future. The ten-week challenge was full of physical training and skill-building and concluded with an eight-mile march on the beach.

According to Andrey Ivanov, founder of The Spartan Challenge, their mission statement is to "prepare a generation with a vision and direction to work hard, build relationships, and defend human rights."

At the beginning of March, The seventh Spartan Challenge began. Twenty-two male recruits, including five young men from Skamania County, started the challenge. During the weeks of rigorous military-style training, several participants withdrew from the program, while a few others still needed to meet the requirements for graduation. Fifteen young men, aged thirteen to twenty, made it through to graduation and were honored with a ceremony held at Living Hope Church in Vancouver, WA.

The fifteen graduates of Class 007 were awarded diplomas of achievement with special awards for high scores for Most Improved, Leadership, and Physical Testing. All five recruits from Skamania County (Imanuel and Isaiah Walker, Liam LePoidevin, Dockyn Coates, and Braden Creon) graduated the 007 Class.

Steven Dill was honored for most improved recruit, Isaiah Walker received the leadership award, his brother Imanuel Walker received the award for highest scores in physical testing, and Liam LePoidevan and Logan Ruiz were honored as warrior spirits. Several parents of graduates spoke highly of the challenge and encouraged others to sign up for their children. Krista Wigginton, whose son Ethan graduated from the challenge, praised its ability to stretch and mold young men into leaders.

"I am so proud of everyone who didn't quit, stuck to their WHY, and failed their way forward. Failure is often frowned upon and even discouraged. But failure means that we're at our limit where growth can only begin. The Spartan Challenge process forces individuals to go beyond themselves, adjust their habits, stop cowering to fear, and become a better version of themselves." Said, Andrey Ivanov.

 Although Class 007 was an all-male class, The Spartan Challenge is open to male and female recruits. The next challenge, Class 008, will include both men and women. Males can start the challenge at age 13, while females generally begin at age 16.

The next Spartan Challenge will begin on Oct. 7. To learn more about Flash Love and the Spartan Challenge, visit their website flash

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