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The biggest issues facing this nation are the obesity and inactivity epidemics. Habits, both good and bad, usually start at a young age and by the time we are adults, this behavior is very hard to change. With the ever increasing use of phones and other devices, inactivity is growing along with our waistlines. So, what do we do? Get involved, because inactivity on our part will not change inactivity on their part. We must do something different than we have been doing. So, where do we start?
Here at Stone Creek Club and Spa, we decided to keep chipping away at the obesity and inactivity epidemics by offering the latest in fitness programs, education and equipment, with some adjustments or tweaks to keep up with the current trends.
But one of the biggest impacts we’ve made has involved kids. Our club is a multipurpose club with kids’ activities. We decided our focus needed to change to not only take care of the kids in our club, but also those in the outside community.
So last January, we got more involved with local schools. We have always donated like most clubs do to sports programs at different schools — usually the schools our employee’s children are attending or which directly surround us. But to make a real difference, we had to get to all of the schools.
Knowing that we could not do this alone, we reached out to the other two large clubs in our area: Franco’s Athletic Club and Pelican Athletic Club. We are competitors, friendly competitors, but we decided to put this aside to make a real difference. We joined together and along with great pricing from Power Systems, delivered over $10,000 worth of fitness equipment (agility cones, power bands, jump ropes, hula hoops, agility ladders, power chutes and some fitness items to use for games) to 27 elementary schools in our Parish.
Every elementary school in our parish received these items. We presented it to all the schools and helped PE teachers show the kids how to use them. All three clubs worked together and it was an incredible experience for all. It was such a hit that we have decided to do this every year and will now reach out to our members and to the business community to join us with donations so that we can provide even more.
We are at a time that functional fitness is popular with all ages, so it is now affordable to deliver this type of experience to the kids where they are — at home and at school. And the kids, teachers, administrators, parents and the community love this. Schools and kids need our help and we need to work together to make sure schools receive what they need to keep our kids moving and having fun with activity. Otherwise, they will not be interested in our clubs in the future or it will be too late to help.
Next, we must get PHIT passed. The Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act will allow Americans to use pre-tax dollars — flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs) — to pay for health club memberships, fitness equipment, exercise videos and youth sports leagues. Currently, only medical expenses can be paid from these accounts with pre-tax dollars, but as we all know, prevention is much cheaper and more effective than the fix. We must push our legislators now to pass PHIT. Send emails and make calls to get them on board. This equates to getting a 20 to 30 percent discount in these fees. It has bipartisan support, so the time is now. Get more information here: https://www.ihrsa.org/industry-leadership/federal-advocacy/.
It will take all of us to get this passed and will mean so much to our industry, so let’s get moving. A very wise person once told me that in politics, “You are either at the table or you will be on the menu.” Let’s be a part of the solution sitting at the table.
Lastly, network with others in the industry at the IHRSA 2018 Convention and Trade Show coming up March 21-24 in San Diego. This show is packed with the latest in equipment, programs, education and news on laws and regulations affecting all of our operations.
Look into joining the ILC (Industry Leadership Council) in addition to IHRSA because this group is working to protect and to inform all of us on these new laws and regulations as they come up.
Our industry is growing and is becoming more important to everyone. With that, the attention we are receiving from outside groups is also growing. They want to be a part of this which can be good and bad. So don’t stay in the dark. Keep up with the publications covering all of this, such as Club Solutions and CBI, and get involved. We must stay informed and we must stay active to curb this epidemic.
Larry Conner is the President/GM of Stone Creek Club & Spa. For more information he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.