This week I’m celebrating my 20th anniversary of becoming a Jazzercise instructor and franchise owner. I never thought at age 24 that this choice would have become such an instrumental part of my life.
As I reflect back there are SO memories, but the legacy for me is all of the lives that have been impacted, in big and small ways.
Obviously sometimes it’s an improvement in health or weight loss but many times it’s an emotional transformation. Our bodies are a reflection of the life and attitude we create for ourselves and the biggest change is when a person becomes confident in her body, and realizes all that she is capable of in every aspect of her life. I am blessed to have witnessed all of these changes thousands of times over the years.
Just like I couldn’t put just one class together of my favorite routines, I could never compile 20 years of memories in one simple list. Yet, I felt an “anniversary blog” was in order. So here are 20 highlights that come to mind ( in no particular order).
- Taking my first Jazzercise class with my mom at the Ridgefield Boy’s Club with my first instructor Jill
- Teaching my very first class at the Fairfield Grace Methodist Church to a packed room.
- Opening Day of the Jazzercise Fitness Center of Stamford on Hope Street
- Teaching at the Tres Jazz Convention in New Orleans, as well as twice at the Providence Convention .What an honor to be chosen not to mention how much fun it is to be on the BIG stage!
- Hosting Tim Roberts at my Center (twice!)
- Traveling to Jazzercise conventions in Boston, Providence, Miami, Palm Springs, Las Vegas, New Orleans to dance and sweat with hundreds of other like-minded women (and men). Truly exhilarating!
- Being mentored by the fabulous Donna Duris and Chris Melfi Damon who taught me how to rock the stage. No one better to learn from than these two!
- Hosting a fundraiser for 22 families of firemen lost in September 11th. In addition to the money we raised, having one of the Fire Chiefs who had lost several of his men attended the event in honor of his crew was a real highlight. Plus a live performance by my friend Kevin Briody singing, The Parade, with all of the instructors doing the final stretch which I choreographed to his music.Not a dry eye in the house!
- My impromptu Bachelorette party (organized by Kara) in Vegas. A lot of firsts that night, but as you know what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
- Spending an afternoon and evening in Kansas City with Jazzercise founder, Judi Shepard Missett (completely by accident!), including a little shopping, dinner and then having a drink while listening to jazz (her favorite of course!).
- Our Holiday performance show which featured the ladies from the Senior Center in Stamford, my elementary school Juniors, my pre-teen class and a performance from our instructors. Truly rewarding to see that joy through dance and movement IS for EVERYBODY.
- Mentoring women (probably almost 20 over the years) to become instructors and to realize their potential, achieve a goal and overcome doubts about how great they can really be. Watching THEM teach is the real gift for me.
- Our first Susan Komen Fundraiser in 2000 with instructors from all over the area (Alicia, Lynn, Shannon, John, Mary, Deb, Chris, Donna…and who else?). We raised over $17,000 that night for Breast Cancer.
- Being inspired by Judi’s keynote speech at the Elite Instructor Convention this spring, as well as watching 20 years of her visionary leadership.
- Participating in countless community events, warm ups for charity walks, health fairs, fundraisers, auctions,
- Appearing on T.V. on 12 on Health twice as the guest fitness expert (twice!).
- Having my business story featured in Sixteen Weeks to Your Dream Business.
- Most recently, being selected as a cover model for Healthy Life magazine in 2011
- Working with my mom. What could be better? She’s funny, wields a mean Swiffer and is my best friend.
- Above all, the relationships created through this experience have been the biggest blessing of my life. Not only the friendships I have made, but the friendships I witness being made each day. We have seen each other through marriages, divorces, untimely deaths, health challenges, births, bad hair days and much more. We are always there to share a hug or shake a hip. And that’s what keeps me going.
How about you? If you have a Jazz-er memory we shared (even if you weren’t taking a class, but just remember something about the Jazzer-journey), please add your comment below.
As the cliche goes…… thanks for the memories!