The Upside of Being Upside Down

The Upside of Being Upside Down

May 2022

If you’ve ever taken or taught a class at My Gym Children’s Fitness Center, this is a phrase you’ve likely heard more than once. We love nothing more than to flip, roll, and handstand the day away with kids of all ages. And it’s true; hanging upside down is a great way to see the world from a different point of view. When we opened our first gym in 1983, we could never have foreseen how some 37 years later this teaching tip would take on even more meaning. It is emblematic of how so many of us have felt this year, as 2020 has certainly been an exercise in navigating the world from an upside-down position.

In the gym, going upside down requires core strength and physical resilience. It also requires concentration, which in turn compels children to stay in the present. Soon their central nervous systems adjust; they become centered and can quite literally look around from a new perspective. Kids, of course, don’t know all of these benefits. For them, it’s just plain FUN!

This year has forced us to take a cue from our own teaching and apply it to our lives and business.

Remaining strong:  We have all been challenged to dig deep and draw from a well of strength. At My Gym, that well has been filled by our coming together to support every child, family, franchisee, and local community with purpose and the certainty that together we will get through this! Our gyms have pivoted, demonstrating incredible grace and persistence. Meanwhile, in just a few short months, our determined and creative My Gym Support and Programming Teams have created many successful new programs, including:

  • Extended care programs such as STEAM Learn & Play for working families
  • Distance-learning programs like My Gym LIVE for those participating from home
  • Small group sessions for recreation-minded families through My Gym Playdates and Private Play Groups

Centering ourselves – Remaining present:  Just as we could not have predicted what 2020 would bring when we cheered “Happy New Year!” on January 1st, unfortunately, we cannot predict exactly what the future holds at this point. It is undoubtedly challenging to make peace with uncertainty, but small business owners are nimble planners and instead focus on what we can control. By actively choosing to remain present, we can better respond to the needs of our community. Across the country, closures and abridged school schedules have created an unfortunate void; P.E., the arts, and other hands-on learning programs have been deprioritized or cut altogether. My Gym is here to fill the void and keep kids moving, playing, and learning! Our franchisees have gone above and beyond, not only to provide these much-needed programs but to do so safely. Each and every gym has done their part to adhere to all CDC-recommended protocols – cleaning constantly, limiting class sizes, and adapting our world-class curriculum for distance learning.

Role of Perspective:  One’s perspective is a critical aspect of self-awareness and that of the world around us. Children gain perspective when they are compelled to try something new or are faced with something they’ve not seen before. As My Gym owners, teachers, friends, and fans, each of us has gained some perspective this year. The things we thought were problems in the good ol’ days of 2019 – running out of helium before a birthday party, having to play “Lost and Found: Ball Pit Edition,” and getting the red Frisbee when you really wanted blue – all seem so small in the rearview mirror. The world has changed, and this unprecedented and challenging year has universally taught us all what really matters: health, family, community, equity, and resilience. We may not all be in the same boat, but we are in the same storm. We need to look out for one another, support each other, light the way, and, indeed, be the change we want to see in the world.

As we enter the fourth quarter and the sun begins to (mercifully!) set on 2020, we recommit ourselves to ensure that My Gym Children’s Fitness Center remain the beloved safe space it has been for 37 years. The world may truly be upside down right now; but, by staying present and resilient, we will continue to create Moments that Matter for millions of children to come.

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