My cell phone rang as soon as I pulled into my garage one night in December 2007. It was my co worker, trapeze coach and dear friend, Vladimir. “Let’s open our own gym” I heard him say. And so it began. It took three years of searching, meeting with business owners, town select board, and bankers. We took a detour with Vladimir leaving to coach in Las Vegas for a year, and the two of us traveling to CT for a year and a half to coach gymnastics at our friend’s gym. I visited the gym in Vegas, gathered brochures and materials from there as well as other gyms in CT and NH. We weren’t giving up on our dream.
I shared my concerns with my daughter, Amy about my lack of business knowledge. “Don’t worry, Mom” she said. “I am a business major. I can help you.” It was Amy’s suggestion that we look at the Green Mountain Mall which we did in August of 2010.
From that point on our dream that seemed to go nowhere for the past 30 months was fast forwarded. A new business plan was written, a lease was signed, financing obtained, and construction began. We put an ad in the paper saying we were beginning gymnastics classes in October. The response from the community was overwhelming; my phone was ringing constantly from parents inquiring about classes.
We opened our doors to our first students on Thursday, October 14, 2010. For the first four years we continued to add more classes, more students, more equipment and more staff. Actually we passed our third year projections outlined in our business plan by Christmas 2010, about eight weeks after we opened.
We look forward to continuing to strive for excellence in our recreational gymnastics program, as well as expanding our competitive program for both boys and girls. Whether a gymnast is competing or using gymnastics as a sport or recreational activity, our motto remains, “Gymnastics is the tool we use to teach students about life.”
With all the props and equipment available to us, as well as the creative minds we have in our gym, you would THINK keeping circuits fresh and new would be easier than it is. However, this time of year is just SO MUCH FUN to create circuits with a special theme. Sometimes we get carried away with the Christmas theme that we have to run back through the obstacle course to make sure we have enough GYMNASTICS-related skills thrown in there! (45 minutes before class starts and Coach Donna starts in on "Santa's Sleigh" ...made from materials around the gym... for our preschoolers to carry presents across the beam and drop into. Fun fun fun, BUT, we had to snap back to "coach mode" in order to finish the set up before class began.) We have the best of the best for jobs 'round here: blank slates for us to turn into a world of fun and imagination for kiddos, all while teaching them the joy of gymnastics!
As much as we want to forget that February 4, 2014 ever happened, we want to share what we learned about ourselves, our community, our families, our students and what we stand for. First of all, you all have to know that no words will ever express the extent of gratitude we felt to see this community pull together the way you all did. I recall feeling in shock and just so scared not knowing the full extent of this flood. Perhaps we said "thank you" but our minds were elsewhere so we just want to make sure we say it again here, in a different sort of way.
We kept coming back to "there is always a silver lining." That was our go-to line. The threat of losing our business taught us how much we genuinely love what we do. We went "back to work" (really more like a vacation relative to when we were out of "work" / dealing with the flood mess) with so much pride and reason behind our roles. We welcomed new students into the gym as more than just a procedure, but rather a sincere hope that they felt welcome and wanted to stay to enjoy our beautiful gym. We saw faces in the grocery store who had given up a weekend to come scrub mats and instead of our usual smile and "hello", we wanted to hug that wonderful being! We saw a community -churches, other VT gyms, local boot-camps, individuals who created events on our behalf, sports teams, parents, our own former teachers, friends, our spouses, random volunteers- walk through our doors with the intent of helping US get back up and running. Many couldn't give time or money but sent us incredibly moving messages and prayers for strength that truly kept us going. "Humbling" is an understatement. Anyway.... here are some pictures to show you what the gym looked like in the aftermath of the flood. There is always a silver lining in a bad situation, you just have to open your heart and mind to find it!