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The Power Of A Single Choice.


By Hailey Wilberger

Do you ever stop to think about how a series of events or a series of choices impact the people you hold dear? It sounds obvious, and maybe a little cliche, but there’s truth to it. And I’m not just talking about your choices but the choices of those around you, too. Our story, Thrive’s story, began with a choice made by Courtney Parfitt. Over a decade ago, Courtney was the director of The Little Gym in Severna Park, but when that business closed, she made the decision to open Severna Park Gymnastics, SPG as it would be called.


Businesses come and go; that's a fact. And maybe the closure of The Little Gym was insignificant to many, but to others, myself included, the impact of Courtney’s choice has been profound. Had Severna Park Gymnastics never come into existence, The Little Gym families would have found a different gym to try. My family would have found a different gym to try. I wouldn’t know what I was missing… but I’m so grateful that isn’t the case.


As an organization, we’ve had more than one name, and we’ve had more than one home. Our story is filled with the richness and warmth of more people than you may realize. Each one of those people (children, parents, coaches) brought with them something to give, and if they left us, the value they brought when they stepped through our doors, remained. I’m only one piece of Thrive’s larger story, but to me, Thrive is one of the biggest pieces of my story.


I started with parent/child classes at The Little Gym and attended until it closed. That’s when I joined Severna Park Gymnastics. If I’m being honest, I was never a stellar gymnast. I had mental blocks often and my upper body strength was questionable. But when I think back on the many, many years I spent as a gymnast at SPG, I don’t feel embarrassment ... even though I typically averaged a score of 6.0 on bars ...and I needed Sarah Priebe to spot me on a leap, a cartwheel, and a handstand during my first ever competition beam routine (I don’t think I will ever live that one down). But I look back on these memories with sheer gratitude. Gratitude for coaches turned coworkers, gratitude for people who cried with me when life threw curveballs my way, gratitude for endless moments of laughter, and gratitude for everyone who cheered me on as I grew from a girl into a young woman.


I know I am not the only one who feels this passion for Thrive Gym. There are many of you who share a special bond with a Thrive Gym coach, or maybe you are also a gymnast-turned-Thrive- employee. Many of you reading may not have witnessed the moments that bonded those of us who have grown with Thrive Gym, who have been with this organization for a good chunk of our lives, but I hope that you can still feel the energy. It’s a special energy that radiates from a group of people invested in going the extra mile, in being there for one another, and in growing together despite the odds.


You might know us as the ‘gymnastics people,’ or the ‘ninja people.’ We may just be a place where you go for open play or story time or birthday parties. Or we may be the place you spend most of your free time. No matter why you come or how long you stay though, I hope you also know us as the people hoping to see you thrive.


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