Chad Smith said he grew up benefiting from the United Way and now, as an adult, wanted to show his appreciation.
"I personally know the good work this program does," he said. "The YMCA and the Boys & Girls Club had an immense effect on my life. As a kid, those two organizations kept me out of trouble. This is a small way of giving back."
As a fitness trainer, Smith said he liked the idea of a benefit boot camp "because it can attract a wide range of people who can get a great workout in a short amount of time and, also, have a fun experience."
He made it even more interesting, he said, by using pumpkins as fitness tools.
"They're nice and round, easy to hold and can do the same things that medicine balls can do," he said.
They also are inexpensive and come in a variety of sizes to accommodate the fitness level of each participant.
Smith said he suggested 5-pound pumpkins for female participants and 10-pound pumpkins for men.
"But it was up to the individual," he said.
If you don't think you can get a good workout with a pumpkin, think again, Smith said.
"When people are finished with this workout, they'll feel the burn," he said.
As the participants took to the gym floor, the Smiths kicked off the boot camp with a few warm-up exercises.
Then, it quickly was down to business.
There were pumpkin crunches, squats and presses with pumpkins and squats and rotations.
"It's 40 seconds of work and 20 seconds of rest for five exercises," Kat Smith said. "Then, we take a one- to two-minute break and do five minutes of group games, such as relays. This is boot camp. It's fast-paced. Everyone will get a workout."
Among those participating in the fundraiser was Angelina Fisher of Hagerstown, who was joined by family and friends.
"I didn't do this last year because of another commitment," she said. "But I wanted to sign up this year. I think I'll get a very good workout."
Nardi said each participant was being asked to make a donation of their choosing.
"But at the end of the day, it's not just about the money," she said. "It's about awareness. We have pamphlets and copies of our annual report available so people can understand what United Way is all about."
Nardi said she would participate in the pumpkin boot camp, which she tagged as "a fun event that nobody else does."
"I'd say it was laid-back. But a few minutes from now, I don't think I'll be feeling so laid-back," she joked.
Nardi thanked Cornerstone Wealth Management, The Abundant Garden and Anytime Fitness for sponsoring the event.
"My hope is that this event gets bigger and bigger," she said.