Happy 10th Birthday to JAG!

Happy_10th_Birthday

Yesterday, JAG hit a milestone that only 1/3 of small businesses get to hit: our tenth birthday.

I’d be lying to say that I wasn’t emotional thinking back over the last decade of a dream that became a reality that was even better than the original dream that was conceived.  The reasons that I began JAG transformed from a vision to a reality over the last decade.   I am so proud of what the incredible team of staff and families created together: something much more than a gym, a genuine community.

From the beginning with these three little girls–the JAG Originals–who are now just beginning their first year in college:

jag originals

(L to R: Carissa (Barnard College, Columbia University); Courtney (Western Michigan University, competing for their gymnastics team) and Rachel (Loyola Marymount University)–all age 8 at the time of this picture, now all 18.)

to a gym that serves some 2,000 kids weekly, our mission has stayed the same: to do good things for kids.

We are grateful to each and every family that has come through our doors for a class, a party, or a meet for being part of our journey.   We watched kids grow from babies to competitive athletes, sprite preschoolers to confident young teens, toothless grade schoolers to college co-eds and even seen our first high schoolers graduate college, go onto graduate school, get married and begin their own families.

The day was filled with messages from athletes throughout the years with sentiments like, “You and JAG have changed my life forever and most definitely for the better. I am so fortunate to have been apart of such a wonderful team and gym..” and “JAG had introduced me to so many incredible people, and given me a place to foster my love of teaching and children. JAG is truly one of my favorite places on earth. And I have no idea where I would be without it. Thank you for everything you have done for me, and everything you do for JAG. You are an inspiration.”

Flowers were delivered by thoughtful friends:

bffl flowersplant

Grateful employees posted, current and past, wrote of their memories of their time at JAG, many mentioning how they thought this would be a short-term gig and how happy they are that it is their “real job.”

Some even were creative with photography:

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(that’s a heart)

And even our pets got in on the celebration:

F w hat

I cried a lot and laughed even more, over hearing a conversation between two four year olds and their instructor:

Teacher Savanna: Today is JAG GYM’s birthday!

Student 1: Happy Birthday, JAG Gym!

Student 2: I love JAG Gym, even though JAG Gym isn’t a person because it doesn’t have a mouth or eyes.

Student 1: I love JAG Gym too. I want to hug it.

Student 2: Me too!

And then we were serenaded by this adorable three year old.

What a decade it has been.  Thank you to ever single person who made this dream a reality and, as my daughter Carissa summed it up so nicely, here’s to, “how much hard work pays off, that sometimes your craziest ideas are actually the best ones, and that everything and everyone has room for improvement.”

And now it is back to work, because as good as the first ten years were, I know we can make the next ten even better.