The Great Falls Police Department received a call in the early morning hours. It was still dark outside. The caller told police there was a group of men at the Post Office who were hollering. The caller neglected to report that some of the men were standing on their hands and walking their feet up the wall.“Rabbit,” Mike Snipes shouted out. “Blackout,” J.B. Hinson followed. The roll call continued, “On Call,” “Beep Beep,” “Padre,” “Granddaddy Long Legs,” “Lazy Boy,” “Tombstone,” “Goose,” “Happy Gilmore,” “Square Up,” “Point Break” and “Butterfly.”
The nicknames belong to members of the local F3 chapter. The tag names are based on things or events representative of each person’s life, Snipes explained. Snipes is tagged with the nickname of his late father, Department of Natural Resources Game Warden “Rabbit” Snipes.
F3 traces its roots to a free, participant-led boot camp workout at a Charlotte, N.C. park in 2006. The mission of F3 is to plant, grow and serve small workout groups for men for the invigoration of male community leadership.
F3 workouts are free, open to all men and are held outdoors, rain or shine, hot or cold.
The three Fs in the name stand for Fitness, Fellowship and Faith – the last of which is defined as not one specific religion or faith.
F3 members gather at the high school parking lot or Republic Ball Field at 5 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday for an hour-long workout session.
“The local F3 started with six of us about a year ago,” Snipes said.
When all of the men show up, there are 14 guys ranging in age from 17 to 52.
Snipes said he was working out with a F3 group in Rock Hill but it required him to get up at 3 a.m. in order to make the 5 a.m. workouts. Snipes connected with former resident Jamie Jones through Army Sgt. Maj. Joe Medlin. Jones helped in the formation of the local F3 team.
“Marty Roberts, Stacy Roof and Rusty Hopper started doing workouts here before we got organized and I set up the schedule about a year ago,” Snipes said.
“I understand guys have families and jobs so they can’t always attend,” Snipes said.
Members include Snipes, Stacy Roof, the Rev. Dr. Marty Roberts and son Zack Roberts, Henry Stevenson, Rusty Hopper, J.B. Hinson, Daniel Jones, Zack Dry, the Rev. John David Wilson, Jordan Hinson, E.J. Cooper, Jonathan Catoe and Hank Ingram.
“Workout starts at 0500 or 0-dark-30,” Snipes said. “There is no set leader. We are all leaders.”
A different person leads the workout session each morning.
“It gets them out of their comfort zone and puts them in charge,” Snipes said. “It makes you do something you normally don’t do and it shows you that you can do it. It helps build leadership qualities and self confidence.”
“Usually the ‘Q’ (person in charge) leads the warm-up with stretching. No one is trained professionally. It depends on what the Q wants to do,” Snipes said.
Newcomers are not expected to keep up with seasoned F3 members. Exercises can be modified to physical ability, Snipes said.
“We modify the workout so they don’t feel alienated or that they can’t do it. There’s no shame if you have to walk. Just show up and make yourself better,” Snipes said.
Participants might run ahead and then circle back around and finish with new members.
The workout abides by the F3 credo, “Leave no man behind, but leave no man where you find him.”
“Saturday is our beat-down day,” Snipes said. “Jamie Jones and I did over 10 miles rucking (walking around with a backpack). We carry packs that weigh 25-90 pounds.”
Men, calling cadence, perform sit-ups and push-ups and run two to four miles during the early morning workout.
Three core principals are incorporated in the workouts – HC (Hard Commit) meaning you will be there for workouts, YHC (Your Humble Companion) and HIM (High Impact Male).
Workout sessions end with a circle of trust. There is an opportunity to share prayer requests before a short prayer is spoken.
“Sometimes Marty will quote scripture, usually about mercy,” Snipes said.
Often the day before a workout, the “Q” will ask an F3 member to have a Bible verse ready.
“I don’t think a lot of people go to the Bible for guidance like they should,” Snipes said.
Snipes, 37, a two-time Purple Heart recipient, served eight years in the U.S. Army Rangers from 2001-2009. During his18-month deployment to Afghanistan, he suffered a traumatic brain injury and returned home with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. He came home for two weeks during the year-and-a-half deployment. When he came home for good, he brought home shrapnel in his shoulder and ankle and is now100-percent medically retired.
“After the Army and stuff I’d seen, I kinda lost my faith,” Snipes said.
Working out with other guys in F3 has helped him mentally and physically, Snipes said.
“It got me to where I could interact,” Snipes said. “I was a ghost after I first got out of the Army. I stayed at home in my own misery. F3 helped pull it out of me. You are capable of more than you think you are.”
Getting fit physically also helped Snipes lose 30 pounds.
“It’s been good,” he said. “The hardest thing is to start and the second hardest thing is to stick with it. Now the hardest part is getting up and then it’s cruise control!”
The workouts, Snipes said, helps guys meet other people.
“It’s a huge community,” he said.
Members of F3 want to instill leadership qualities in males and serve as role models.
“It’s really important these days,” he said.
F3 teams want to be part of the community they are in and do community service projects. The guys have completed a cleanup on St. Michael Avenue and at the high school and are planning a cleanup on the Carolina Thread Trail and in the downtown area of Great Falls. They also want to collect money for a family dealing with major health issues and expenses.
“We try to do a project every two-three weeks,” Snipes said. “We help in Rock Hill and Lancaster and they will help in Great Falls.”
Project ideas are shared on the group’s Facebook page. The local F3 group has assisted others by performing yard work and putting up a fence. It’s not unusual for 25 men to work together on a project.
“I’ve gone and helped,” Snipes said.
If you’re interested in becoming a part of Great Falls F3, contact Mike Snipes, Jamie Jones, Rusty Hopper or Stacy Roof or any of the members on their Facebook page.
“We want to instill males as good leaders, role models, friends,” Snipes said. “People get wrapped around the axle and their own problems. We want to reach community needs.”
“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.
If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not deemed true.
- Success depends on previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.
- The superior man is distressed by the limitations of his ability; he is not distressed by the fact that men do not recognize the ability that he has.
- When you are laboring for others, let it be with the same zeal as if it were for yourself.
Leaders Leading Leaders
EXPERIENCE: Wrong Decisions
“Sir, may I ask what is the secret of your success?”
A reporter asked a successful businessman.
“What are these words?”
“Certainly. But could you tell me how you make right decisions?”
“What is that word?”
“And how do you get experience?”
“Which are …?”
My 2 cents for Today
1) Don’t treat people as bad as they are, treat them as good as you are.
2) People will hate you, rate you, shake you, and break you. But how strong you stand is what makes you.