The Story Of How Thrive Gym Came To Exist Is A Journey Of Passion, Commitment And Support Of An Incredible Community Of People
Severna Park Gymnastics (SPG) was founded in the summer of 2008. The creation of SPG was born out of a need for a new home for local gymnasts when The Little Gym of Severna Park closed its doors. At the time, the Severna Park Community Center had just opened its doors after its massive renovation. The Director of SPCC, Chris Marsala, and the former Director of The Little Gym, Courtney Parfitt, joined forces with Patterson Physical Therapy to create a new gymnastics program that met the need of the community. With the help of local families, Severna Park Gymnastics was able to provide high quality gymnastics instruction and innovative fitness programming. The program took off and before long, SPG was a full fledged gymnastics program complete with a competitive team, tumbling classes and boys fitness classes.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
In 2011, the SPG team had their eyes out for a permanent home and a place to expand programming in the Severna Park/Arnold area. As fate would have it, a new sign near a hidden industrial park on Ritchie Hwy had popped up that said "For Lease." After months of investigation, consideration, and hard work, SPG's new home was secured! Students, teachers and families put in hard work, muscle, and time to bring together truck loads of equipment, gallons of paint, and a ton of man-power to prepare the new facility. The week SPG Arnold was set to open its doors there was an earthquake AND a hurricane. But that didn't stop the passion the SPG team had, in fact, it made the commitment even stronger.
SPG-Arnold opened it's doors on August 28th, 2011 and became the 2nd location for Severna Park Gymnastics classes. Over the next 4 years, Severna Park Gymnastics continued to grow and innovate, offering new programs like Taekwondo, Gym Ninjas, Dance/Gym Combo and more competitive team options. SPG-Arnold also has become a central location for the community by providing a gathering place for local Moms Group, Girl Scout Troops, Cheer Teams and Pre-schools. The success of Severna Park Gymnastics is the direct result of the partnership between a supportive community and a passionate group of instructors who are committed to being a positive force for the children and families they serve.
In 2015, the SPG team began to have a dream that they could bring the same service, commitment and positivity to the Greater Annapolis area too. So the process for looking for an additional home began again. As fate would have it, a new sign near a hidden industrial building in the heart of Parole popped up that said "For Lease". After months of investigation, consideration and hard work, SPG's newest location was secured. Because the new home was in Annapolis, the SPG team knew it needed a name that would make it more welcoming to the greater Annapolis Area. After considering our mission, vision and values, the SPG came up with the name of the Sister Gym Program: Thrive Gymnastics. Thrive means to grow or develop well, to prosper and flourish. That is the goal for our children, that is our goal for ourselves and that is the goal for the new community we come into. Thrive Gymnastics opened in August of 2016 and the the Annapolis community welcomed the new gym with open arms. New programs were launched including Ninja Zone, Thrive Dance, and a J.O Competition team. In 2019, Severna Park Gymnastics and Thrive Gymnastics rebranded to unite under an updated logo and new location name, Thrive Gym - Annapolis & Thrive Gym - Arnold. Events like open gyms, storytimes, holiday parties and Ninja nights filled the building with joy, laughter and learning.
Then in early 2020, COVID-19 began to impact communities across the United States. On March 16th, Thrive Gym was ordered to shut down when the State of Maryland entered lockdown. Familiar with overcoming adversity and grounded in an unwavering level of commitment to serving Thrive families, the Thrive team did in 6 days what it takes most to do in 6 months. Working around the clock, Thrive Gym turned a challenge into an opportunity by launching a virtual expansion. On April 1, 2020, all programs were offered online in two unique and creative ways. Children were able to attend class and team practice through either Thrive-At-Home, live zoom classes, or through Thrive-2-Go, an-demand learning portal. These innovative programs delivered an consistency and fun to Thrive families in a time when uncertainty was running rampant. The community also showed their support for Thrive by offering donations, continuing to pay tuition and signing up to be Thrive Supporters. A truly beautiful show of unity in a very scary time. After being forced to shut down for 3 months, Thrive Gym reopened its doors with a whole new style of teaching through masks, while distanced and sanitizing constantly. The community was reunited and slowly programming resumed. Children, parents and coaches worked together to provide fun, learning and a bit of normalcy. In an effort to meet the needs of all families, Thrive continued to offer both virtual and in-person programming while adding new programs like Friends & Family classes and building an outdoor gym for the Fall. It was a trying time and also a true testament to the resilience of our community.
In August of 2020, while in the midst of navigating the global pandemic, Thrive Gym was heavyhearted to see a local gymnastics facility, a fellow Greater Annapolis Area business, close their doors for good. Knowing that this closure would be turbulent for displaced students and staff during what was already a most challenging time, Thrive Gym welcomed the unexpected opportunity of acquiring the 451 Defense Highway space. Within two weeks of announcing the new venture, the Thrive community showed up once again to help! Over 100 friends of Thrive helped clean, clear out and revitalize the new Defense Hwy facility. Teams were merged, new families were introduced into the Thrive