Open Letter to the Gymnastics Club Owners from Inside Gymnastics magazine and the United States Gymnastics Suppliers Association (USGSA)

 July 27, 2020

We know the backbone of the gymnastics industry in the United States is comprised of small business owners who run gymnastics clubs coast-to-coast. And we know how much you’ve poured your hearts and souls into your businesses. It’s an incredibly challenging time for so many of us across the industry facing the uncertainty brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, as we head toward the fall competition season and the school year, we know you’re being pulled in a number of different directions and continue to face challenges. But, just as our athletes demonstrate overcoming adversity each and every day, we can and we will get through it – TOGETHER! 

We will do our best to continue to provide you resources, information and inspiration. We find ourselves asking what we can do to help this situation both immediately and for long-term sustainability of our sport at the grassroots level. As an industry, we can unite, work together, share best practices and work together towards solutions to prevent further setbacks and unifying to make our voices heard. 

LET YOUR REPRESENTATIVES KNOW OUR INDUSTRY AND SMALL BUSINESS NEEDS SUPPORT!

As Congress continues to debate additional stimulus options, reach out to your elected officials to let them know small business need continued support. Here is a link to find your Senate and Congressional Representatives:

Link to Locate Senate  

Link to House of Representatives

SUPPORT #PassPHIT

The Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) is making the case to Congress that they need to support the active lifestyle industry across-the-board, emphasizing that an active population puts less strain on healthcare system. As we know, the strain on the healthcare system has only been amplified during COVID.  There is currently an initiative called The Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT), which would incentivize health by providing a 12 to 35 percent discount on physical activity expenditures through use of pre-tax medical accounts. Youth sports costs, health club dues, at-home fitness programs, outdoor recreation fees, sports and fitness equipment, and other expenses directly related to active lifestyles would be eligible for payment using an HSA or FSA. 

As stated by the PHIT Coalition, “Our collective spirit unites people, which has often been described as an early indicator of economic recovery. Most important, however, are the physiological benefits derived from exercise that help stave off severe COVID-19 complications. As stakeholders, we look forward to working with you as Congress undergoes this next critical phase. The shared goals include the following: 1) Improve health in America; 2) Reduce the strain on our overall healthcare system; and 3) Provide consumer-driven economic stimulus solutions to help active lifestyle industries harmed by the pandemic.”

If you agree, urge members of Congress to pass this legislation, and use #PassPHIT on social media. 

EXPLORE ADDITIONAL REVENUE OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUR CLUBS

During these unprecedented times, we’re all having to find new ways to work, which requires creative thinking and expansion of ideas. We’ve been encouraged seeing all of the ways that clubs are altering their operations to meet this new normal and finding new opportunities to supplement their club operations. We will continue to share some of these ideas and also work to try to provide resources. Some opportunities you may want to consider –

  • Explore outreach within public school districts and private school entities to discuss partnering with PE programs in your area. This can work whether schools are operating in person or virtually. For people who are stuck at home for virtual schooling, your facility can provide a great outlet for the physical fitness component. For school’s that are in session but perhaps don’t have the resources to incorporate physical activity at this time, your facility can also be an option. The USGSA and Inside Gymnastics magazine and working on some resources that you may be able to use with this initiative to reach out to your local contacts (more to come).
  • Incorporate the benefits of active lifestyle into your marketing materials and messaging and expand your marketing to the general public. As many kids who aren’t involved in gymnastics have been cooped up at home for long periods of time, many parents are looking for options to get their kids out of the house and into an active environment. Consider adding additional fitness classes that are geared toward a non-gymnastics audience for youth fitness. Exposing these non-gymnastics kids to your facility may also spark their interest in gymnastics and ultimately become a long term participant at your facility.
  • Consider asking some local food delivery companies to include flyers with discount coupons for your facility with their deliveries. You may reach an all-new audience. Consider trade-out as well (if Domino’s will include a flyer with their delivery, you will include coupons for them at your facility, etc). 

KNOW THAT ORGANIZATIONS ARE ON YOUR SIDE AND WORKING ON YOUR BEHALF

The United States Gymnastics Suppliers Association USGSA (of which Inside Gymnastics magazine is a member) recently held its annual meeting, virtually. Among the top items on the agenda is what can be done to support gymnastics clubs during this time. The organization is working on a number of initiatives to look to provide additional opportunities for clubs and making sure the gymnastics community has their voice heard. The organization has outreach to a number of other entities, including SFIA and SHAPE America to explore opportunities on your behalf.

BETTER TOGETHER

Through a unified spirit, targeted action, a collective sharing of ideas and an amplified voice, we can stand up, make our voices heard and share potential solutions to help our incredible industry navigate these times. We remain so inspired by the creative solutions we have already seen across the country to keep our athletes moving forward and the way our communities are rallying for the betterment of our children across all sports and physical fitness programs. We are all in this together. And though it may be hard to see now, we will come out of this having learned new ways to better our operations and eventually, even with an expanded enrollment and growth for our clubs if we can bring in new audiences and take advantage of the Olympic momentum that is to come. The work will be hard and setbacks will occur but in the end, everything we can do will be worth it and we will have helped our children be happy, healthy and productive through these times and beyond!

Sincerely,

The Team at Inside Gymnastics Magazine

The Members of the United States Gymnastics Suppliers Association (USGSA)