Community is defined as a unified body of individuals such as a state or commonwealth. It can also mean something as simple as people with common interests living in a particular area.
We all belong to a community or two. Maybe you are part of a club that tailgates together at Ravens games. Maybe you’re a member of a Ravens Roost or Nest. Such communities take on many shapes, forms and sizes. They live and grow. Their roots deepen. Friendships develop. Soon the community, at least in part, defines who you are.
For several years, I have belonged to a community at Brick Bodies in Perry Hall. If you are a regular participant at a gym, you often see familiar faces. Some acknowledge you. Some will talk to you. Others might invite you to meet up for a drink. Club GM Amy Cavolo deserves a lot of credit for nurturing such a great environment given the diversity within this community.
The demographics of our gym are all over the place, ranging from high school kids looking to gain a competitive edge to elderly retirees who attend as much for the social aspects as they do for fitness. I admire their energy and enthusiasm, ignited by the Brick community. It keeps them young at heart and I hope that when I’m their age that I can be as vibrant.
Unfortunately, Brick Bodies in Perry Hall has decided to convert to a Planet Fitness. The corporate decision rocked the demographics while changing the format. It left members scrambling. In two short weeks, the announcement triggered attrition figures as high as 1200+ members, about 40% of the membership base.
Today, a building that once embraced a wide-range of people, while rolling out the welcome mat in the Perry Hall community, will now, for all intents and purposes, post a detour sign instead.
Our community was shaken.
But a community isn’t really about a building. It’s about the people who walk in, together, and what they do together as one. Brick and mortar (pun intended) doesn’t have to change that.
I’ve decided to move on to Merritt Club in White Marsh. Comparatively speaking, Merritt offers so much more than Brick, except that sense of community that I’ve grown to love and trust over the years. It’s akin to leaving a job where you enjoy the camaraderie of your colleagues to pursue a new opportunity.
And that’s exactly how I choose to view this – as a new opportunity.
Merritt has made the transition painless by offering Brick members a special incentive and their staff is extremely friendly and accommodating.
If I’m lucky, maybe several of those familiar faces that I see during mornings at the gym, will make the switch with me. And in doing so, maybe, after all is said and done, our community, instead of dissolving, will simply have found a new and better home.