Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Don’t Stop Believing!

As I watched my vision turn into reality last year, I wasn’t sure what would come of it all. I had no idea what it would look like one year later. I never imagined it being the place it is today, so quickly. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of UPG, to the gymnasts, coaches, parents and support staff! You are the reason for our success!

My coaching staff has been absolutely the best staff a boss could ask for!! They truly do care about each child in the gym; everyday they strive to be the best coaches they can be!! Thank you for the wonderful job you all do to help these young athletes be the best gymnasts they can be!

What we’ve accomplished in just a year is impressive. Our enrollment and coaching staff has more than doubled. Our progressive students have improved so much that it’s hard to get a spot in the higher level classes. Our competitive team has tripled in numbers and has made wonderful progress since last April. We have two WI USAG State Champions, Allie Woodford and Ally Klauck, and many State award winners too! Every Team UP member has qualified for the state meet in their level. Many have moved up into a new level and are having success in the new level too!

My theme song from the beginning was always “Don’t Stop Believing” even when many around me, including my own husband, told me I couldn’t. I even made that song the ringtone on my cell phone so I could hear it everyday. In the end it’s not about being the most talented person or having the most talented kids. It’s about believing in yourself and the potential that we all have, that we can bring out in ourselves and in each other. Over the past year I have watched that potential grow in each one of our gymnasts! Even tonight, when I gave an almost impossible challenge to our Level 3s, they took it and one of them earned it by casting to a handstand on bars! And quite a few more were very close!

So as I look back to last February 19th and have watched what the gym has become in this short amount of time, I know this is just the beginning of bigger and better things to come for everyone at Ultimate Performance Gymnastics! We are not even close to where we have the potential to be. Believe it!

Monday, December 31, 2012

What an incredible year 2012 has been!

Last New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, 2011, I was anxiously awaiting an Eau Claire Plan Commission decision in 3 days, allowing us to locate UPG in the Chippewa Valley Industrial Park. Our equipment order was awaiting the final O.K. to start manufacturing; our electrician was waiting word to purchase the lights; and I still didn't know if anyone would show up when we opened. The last moments of 2011 were filled with an anxious anticipation. It’s not easy to wait when your dreams come down to a few critical moments that can make or break you.

Tonight, as that crystal ball in Times Square descends on 2012, everything has changed. Instead of anxiety, there is a constant feeling of moving forward, shattering the status quo, and progressing towards everything we know UPG can be! 2012 has been a wonderful year not only for myself, but for every person that’s involved in every aspect of Ultimate Performance Gymnastics!

From the business end, we never dreamed that the growth of one gym would be anywhere near where it is today, and where we now project it will be in a few years. We are SO looking forward to the future! Not only is the UPG staff excited about the future so is Chippewa Valley Spirit All-Star Cheer! They will be an integral part of our future! I’m excited for what the future holds for all of us!

From the coach’s end, UPG is truly blessed to have some of the best gymnastic coaches from anywhere. They are always striving to learn more; what else could a gym owner want but coaches who are always seeking more knowledge to better their athletes! It’s awe-inspiring to watch! They are dedicated to the athletes of UPG, they do everything in their power to bring the potential out of every athlete with love and care! Thank you to all of them, Carly, Abbey, Lisa, Ray, Nicole, Cassie H, Cassie U, Claire, Morgan, Megan, Brittany, Emily and TJ. You all mean the world to me and to your athletes!

From the Parent’s end, we are truly blessed with wonderful families! There is NO DRAMA in our gym! All the parents are supportive of their athletes and of all athletes. There is no competition between families, we are all for one, one for all! What else could I ask for as a gym owner!!! They truly follow the theme of “THERE IS NO I in TEAM!” UPG staff would like to thank ALL the parents for their support; we couldn't do it without you!

From the Athlete’s end, well UPG has the best athletes around. They put forth the effort it takes to be the best they can be. They realize that the competition is tough! They work hard to be better every day. And even though it has not been an easy task to accomplish what they have accomplished in the past year, they are still inspired to be better everyday! WE LOVE EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM!

All of us at UPG are excited to see 2013 unfold in front of us! The future is bright for our athletes! I’m glad that I am able to bring this experience to the Chippewa Valley. Personally, I've given up a lot with my own family, but it’s more than worth it! I can’t imagine my life without UPG and all the children and their families involved! THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HAS SUPPORTED ULTIMATE PERFORMANCE GYMNASTICS IN 2012!


Love & Thanks,
Lynn Wingert

Sunday, August 19, 2012

UPG 6 Months Later!

So today, Sunday, August 19, 2012, is exactly 6 months since UPG opened its doors. WOW! How time flies! As I reflect back to the Opening Day, worried that no one would come to the Grand Opening, since we didn’t do any paid advertising, just word of mouth from the people that knew Carly, Missy and myself, a Facebook page & our website. Then they came, they saw and they believed in our mission. They saw & learned what we are all about, how we love the sport of Gymnastics and how we want to pass it on to the next generation. Not just with mediocrity, but with excellence! This sport has taught us a lot about life in general; that if you really work hard at something you will be successful! There is no easy way!

So when I sit back and reflect, I see the 6 year old little girl who was doing bridges up the steps in her house that her mom signed her up for gymnastics and then became a member of Team UP in just 4 months to the 13 year old who told me she wanted to be a college gymnast & was willing to work hard to do that and she does everyday, it brings tears to my eyes because this is a huge reason why UPG exists! For the children who really want to be great at this sport & reach their potential. There’s a story for each child that walks though the door of UPG, a story of wanting to be the best they can be! I will share them all one day!

Now I’m going to be frank. This wasn’t easy. What it took to get to this point was a ton of convincing my husband that it was a worthwhile venture, a 5-year wait! Five years is a very long time, especially in the life of a gymnast. At first we had a handshake agreement on a suitable, but small space, until the rug was pulled out from under us in the most unethical way. A lesson learned, but God really does work in mysterious ways, because the perfect building fell into our lap the very next day.
“Oh wait, you can’t put a commercial business in an industrial park,” said the property manager. So the 3 month long process began to change the laws, and with unanimous support the ordinances were changed! But none of this was easy. It was quite frankly hard-fought.

So now Ultimate Performance Gymnastics exists, it’s here to stay, it’s not a novelty like some may think, but a real and awesome place to learn gymnastics, with awesome coaches who love and lived the sport of gymnastics their whole lives and want to pass it on to the younger generation. To teach children how to be the BEST they can be!

Thank you to all that have supported us and continue to do so. We look forward to a bright future!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

TEAM what it really means…

As Destiny Baughman & I walked into the gym one day last week for an extra training session for TOPs, she turns to me & says, “Do you know what “TEAM” means to me Lynn? I said, “No Des, what does it mean to you?”  Her reply, and this is from an 8 yr old who for the last 2 months has trained by herself for TOPs, “Together Everyone Achieves More!” 

WOW! They really do get it, even one of the youngest members of Team UP!  It’s not about beating your teammate in a competition or having more skills than the rest, but everyone working hard to be successful as a TEAM!  Being the best you can be for the TEAM!

I learned this from all my coaches as a gymnast growing up as a Parkette.  It was never about one individual, but always about everyone being successful!  Some might have been better on one event than another, but it always came down to everyone being a contributor to the team.  That’s what mattered the most to everyone, the gymnasts, the coaches and the parents.  I truly thank my coaches for instilling in each one of us this philosophy!  That is what Ultimate Performance Gymnastics is all about, that’s one of the most important reasons I built this gym!

As I watch the women’s team finals of the 2012 Olympics, USA young ladies truly get it too!  I know one had a horrible disappointment during qualifications, a heartbreaking one!  Though she’s a strong person and did not let it affect her when it mattered the most for the TEAM!  Together they put forth their best effort & went all out to accomplish a goal and they were successful!  Congratulations to TEAM USA on being the 2012 OLYMPIC CHAMPIONS!!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

When the Rubber Meets the Road

The euphoria of watching your plan come together has lifted and you are facing the harsh reality of logistics. You find yourself standing in the middle of a large warehouse overwhelmed with truckload after truckload of gymnastics equipment, pallets stacked high with boxes you can't lift, everything with major assembly required, and suddenly you realize that you need help from your friends, all the help you can get! But people have busy lives and responsibilities of their own. Who can find the time to help you, to be there when the rubber meets the road, when it really counts? Tracy Lawrence wrote a great country song about it:
"...Somebody's gonna drop everything, Run out and crank up their car, hit the gas, get there fast, never stop to think, 'What's in it for me?' or 'It's way too far!' They just show on up with their big old heart..." Tracy Lawrence, Find Out Who Your Friends Are
In building my own gymnastics school from scratch, I've discovered that people will come through for you. They will help you meet the challenge and ask for nothing in return. The amount of help I have received during the past week and continue to receive daily is a testament to that truth. It reaffirms how I feel about this area and its children. If you want to build a gymnastics facility and have it last, you first have to love your community and want to make it better. When the community sees your true motivation and understands why you are doing it, not for financial gain or to one-up someone else, but to provide something wonderful for children, something of the highest quality because their children are worth it, they will understand, just as your friends already do.  And they will be there too, when the rubber meets the road!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Getting Hooked on Gymnastics!

It happened to me when I was young, and it may happen to your child as well. The first symptom is the enthusiasm that young gymnasts feel towards the sport of gymnastics. You see it in the faces of gymnasts who finally make that new skill they've worked so hard to accomplish. It's what helped me develop from an eager little girl attempting her first back handspring into an accomplished college gymnast and eventually into a successful gymnastics coach. It starts with drills and techniques taught by dedicated coaches who simply love the sport of gymnastics like no other. Young gymnasts begin with "basics" to learn body position and develop muscle memory, and repeat those skills over and over and over with each workout until it practically becomes a lifestyle. Their little muscles learn what to do, when to pull, when to push, how to become flexible and how to get stronger. With each success comes an enthusiasm that makes them want to do more, to get that first kip or round-off back handspring. Suddenly your child is begging for more time in the gym to work on skills and you can feel the excitement and the commitment that starts to bubble up as the child progresses. As they notice more advanced gymnasts working out and perfecting that giant or flyaway, the sparkle in their eyes intensifies and they picture themselves achieving that same degree of perfection one day. It becomes a mission, a devotion, and an incentive to work harder until they eventually find themselves like me, hooked on the sport of gymnastics, always looking towards their next workout, skill or competition and transferring that intensity to everything in their lives. Look out world, another gymnast has arrived!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Learning to Plan with Purpose

As I reflect back on this experience as a whole, I'd like to share what I've learned about planning a gym. Like running a marathon, building a gymnastics school from scratch takes a tremendous amount of strategy and preparation, planning for both the easy stretches when you are full of energy, and the long arduous miles, which make up the bulk of the race. There are two kinds of runners, and for that matter, business owners: those who have a plan and those who plan with purpose. The first type knows what they should be doing (or should have done) but stumble along hoping to finish the race, while the second type takes the proper steps one-by-one to accomplish the plan and win the race. When I first started this endeavor 5 years ago, I knew what I wanted and formulated my plan, but I learned it takes a lot more than that. You can't pursue any plan haphazardly and expect good results. You can't just sprint to the finish line in the fastest way possible. You'll trip, stumble or just run out of gas and others will pass you by. I've learned that a plan with purpose does not take any shortcuts. I could have cut corners, purchased old equipment, saved money upfront and settled for a lot less, but where would I be down the road? Planning without purpose leaves you running a race without a finish line. In short, I've learned that opening a gymnastic school the right way has a steep learning curve, but there is only one way to do it for long term success. It means planning harder, thinking further, and going the extra mile in every step of the process. I've learned that it's not important what is easiest, what someone else has done, or what others think you should be doing. It's essentially choosing to prepare with purpose for what can only be described as a marathon.