Thurday, April 1, 2021
Dear Spirits Families,
It was just over a year ago that we were writing to tell you we had to close our business (until further notice) and like all of you, we were drowning in a sea of unknowns. What a difference a year can make?! And I don’t think one of us really believed we still would be dealing with this even after a year. But at least now there is hope. Hope can be everything. It can be all you need to take that one more step forward.
Below are just some of the amazing highlights of our past year:
- Pivot-pivot-pivot (think of Ross and the couch moving episode of Friends)
- In a period of about 2 weeks we went from having no clue what to do, to providing pre-recorded lesson plans and curriculum, to providing an all out virtual program for all of our athletes.
- Zoom was new and we were all craving the interaction with our students no matter how we could get it. It was an experiment for sure. We weren’t exactly sure what the result would be. It was a joy to know how the coaches and students looked forward to their time together everyday! It was an additional joy to see how much progress could be made by focusing on strength, flexibility, balance, coordination and basic skills.
- All of our students who attended classes/team practices regularly came back with improvements in their abilities. If that doesn’t speak to the resilience and determination of these kids I don’t know what does. I can hear it now, they will be saying to their children and grandchildren, “Oh that’s nothing! Try surviving a pandemic!” Lol.
- Expand and Contract
- Ever so slowly we were allowed to re-open our doors. Hours were spent on cleaning and reorganizing the gym to get it ready to open safely.
- Coaches, parents and students all had to learn new protocols and be thankful for what we were able to do rather than focus on all the things we couldn’t.
- Teams had to be spread out all over the place and as county regulations changed they would get moved again. Once again coaches, parents and students were flexible as they were dealt schedule changes.
- We got all the way to 50% capacity only to turn around and get put back at 25%. We were required to work and workout in masks.
- We had to give up hugs, high 5s and smiles that could be seen. We could see a twinkle in an eye. And that had to be enough.
- Shock and Awe!
- We have to place all of our team uniform orders in June, which is when we were just re-opening our business. And we were lucky. Gymnastics clubs all over the country had closed their doors for good or were still unable to open them. Clubs were moving their equipment outside to be able to hold classes, with the knowledge much of their very expensive equipment would be damaged along the way.
- But we opened and decided to be optimistic (with no real reason to be so) and purchase our new uniforms with the hopes we really would have a season.
- The weekend before the meet we host here in our gym, the county reduced our capacity to 25%. (Shock) We couldn’t allow spectators and gyms from outside the county decided not to attend. We still held a great event, just with no spectators.
- In January, one of our main meet hosting companies decided he wouldn’t host any more meets this season leaving our Excel team with very little opportunities for competition. Tasha quickly scrambled for alternatives for that team as well as said, “We can host another meet here. I can run it with Kendra’s help.” This past weekend, Tasha, Kendra, Xia and Melissa, gave up their entire Sunday to host a local AAU meet.
- The Excel team will continue to have meets this season. Our USA kids will have their state and regional meets and our USA Level 10 athlete signed to compete in college. (Awe! Awe! Awe!)
Those are just some of the highlights. There are so many more.
Ultimately we are so thankful for our ability to still be in business doing what we love with the people that we love. Our first days being open after the shut down were euphoric. Just being able to hear the kids and coaches interact was beautiful.
We miss the sound of joy with the parents as they kids share all of the exciting things they’ve done in class and the parents say things like, “I saw you!”, “You did great!”, “I’m so proud of you!”. But we know that day will come again. (Though I have heard many parents are quite happy being in their cars during class.).
We were sad to see some of our staff leave during the past 12 months, but are so thankful for the staff that remains and our new staff. Our pandemic staff has stepped up and gone above and beyond. They are amazing people who we have the great joy of working with.
As we move forward and restrictions continue to ease we find our biggest challenge is finding more staff. We will find them and they will be awesome, but please be patient and bear with us a little while longer while we work to add classes and practices back into the schedule. If you know anyone who is amazing at working with kids, please invite them to apply with us.
We used the pandemic as an opportunity to dive deep into our systems, especially our employee training systems and improve them. Being in this business it is just in our nature to always strive to be better. I honestly believe we have our best staff ever in place ready to help all of our students reach their goals. And we will train all new staff to be just as awesome!
Thank you parents for your continued support with this journey we are on. Many of you supported us even when we were completely closed and reeling from the shock of our situation. Others are just now coming back and many are brand new to Spirits. We are thankful for you all.
Have a wonderful Spring!
Rod, Kris, Grace and Kat Rogers