“Courage is the first Virtue that makes all the other Virtues possible”
As Virtue has recently celebrated its 5th birthday, I thought it would be a great idea to give you a bit more of an insight and some ‘behind the scenes’ action. As well as important recent matters, mental and physical drills to help your sporting perforce and conversing with various gymnasts including Olympic athletes, coaches and even parents!
So lo and behold, I welcome you to Virtue’s very first blog…!
I have been speaking with the founder and owner of Virtue, Kara Chance; and dug deep into what it is was like going from being a little girl with a dream, to now having a very successful club with over 800 members…
I asked Kara a list of questions, in which I was so overwhelmed by her responses.
Did you ever think you would own your own gymnastics club?
I am a firm believer that people should know their true selves and follow their passions. Gymnastics has always been one of my passions ever since I was young, my childhood dream was always running away and joining the circus. Saying that, given my love for the sport I am not surprised I run a gym, this was always a dream of mine especially as I grew a little older with age, a dream which I knew was most definitely achievable. However, if I am truly honest I had never even thought about owning a gym, especially one this size. I am really grateful every day that I do.
How did you come up the the clubs name?
It was always really important to me to have a strong name, one which was not only unisex but also transferable throughout all the disciplines for a future expansion. Finding the “ideal” name was honestly such a huge frustration to me and an annoyance to pretty much to every one around me at the time, there was never a name I was overly happy with EVER.
After nearly a year of actively searching and brainstorming one night I woke up around 4am with the name “Virtue” in my head. After a quick Google search to see if it was in use already and also to check the definition, I loved it! I was so excited I couldn’t go back to sleep and at that point it didn’t even matter to me what any one else thought of the name I knew that was what it was going to be called.
When was Virtue established?
Virtue was legally established in October 2015, however our first session took place on January 11th 2016 so this is the date we celebrate our birthday. We have recently turned five years old so we are a baby still in the grand scheme.
What was the main thing you wanted to achieve with the club?
I really wanted to provide opportunities for all, regardless of age or ability. It was important for me to create an environment in which all participants can progress to reach their highest individual possible standard. I believe movement is important it has so many benefits not only the physical aspects but the social and emotional too.
What is your favourite aspect of Virtue?
Our family vibe, I just love it, I have never worked in gym which has the same feel to it as we have. All our members are treated equally and no gymnast, coach, parent or discipline is superior. We promote acceptance, equal confidence, modesty and we all genuinely care for each other.
As a coaching team we each bring a different dynamic to enable a level balance and a mutual level of respect for one another. Our highest qualified elite coaches can be teaching our toddlers and our voluntary assistant helpers are just as involved with our future ideas as a manager is. Overall I see my job as setting the clubs future goals but I am also more than happy to come in to be an assistant for a class any day of the week. Every single person is just as important as the next, this goes for parents, gymnasts and coaches alike.
As a family we spend so much time together whether it be gymnast days out with their teammates and coaches, old members staying in touch, current staff popping in on their day off to say hi or even ex staff surprising us and helping out for a day just because they miss us. It really is a second home for every one as cliche as that sounds. We are very open and welcoming not only with our staff but also our parents and gymnasts too. Some of our best decisions which we have made have stemmed from their initial ideas not mine. We really value each and every member and we cannot thank them enough for their support, suggestions and ideas over the years!
What do you think is unique about Virtue?
That we chase happiness. Everything we do is for our members, the kids, the parents, the coaches, the whole family. Our club culture is very unique and it is something that even as we expand, is very important for us to maintain.
What are you most proud of?
Our impact on children, this is always very overwhelming and emotional to me. I love that what we do influences children positively, the whole team want to make a real difference to our members by encouraging them to become successful in their own pursuits. Whether thats as a competitive gymnast, or an assistant coach, simply making friends or even growing in self confidence each personal accomplishment is a huge achievement in its own right.
What do you feel is the biggest strength of our company right now?
Evolution hands down. As a company we are always open to change and we keep moving constantly, this creates evolution. We adapt fast and without fear, why resist change? To make anything happen in life change has to occur at some point or you will just stay where you are. Any member of our team (a coach, a gymnast or a parent) can have an idea and if it makes sense we run with it, worst case scenario it doesn’t work and we change, who cares? Change and evolution is our super power!
Have there been any challenges you as the founder and owner have had to face?
In a personal professional context transition is for sure the hardest challenge I have ever faced. The very first transition was undoubtably the most difficult. I knew I was a great executor in my field as a gymnastics coach, but transitioning onto the next stage to enable the company to grow I honestly found it really daunting initially. The more the company grew the more I had to trust and delegate, on top of educating myself at each new stage not only with physical skills but also internal attributes too. I work for my team just as much as they work for me.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
HUSTLE, there is always more to do, there is always more to learn, you can always improve, times are forever moving and you have to remain open minded to change in order to further our evolution of our passion.
If you didn’t google already, the meaning of Virtue is the behaviour showing high moral standards. I believe this comes naturally to all Virtue members and is a huge part of what makes the club and contributes to its continuous progress.
After chatting to Kara, I took a lot away from it, and you can too – whether it is to dream big, to understand that change is ok, or simply just do what you love and love what you do. But know that anything is possible!
Kara had a dream, a vision, an idea and she has worked so hard to make that dream her reality and we are so proud of all you’ve achieved.
It is the best being apart of the Virtue family.
Stay tuned for blog #2…