Over the last few weeks, we’ve discussed ways to help build a stronger community at your fitness boot camp. We’ve talked about community building best practices and how to use social media to create commaradery among members. Today we talk about the benefit of having fun events and playing together outside of your regular workouts.
Socializing in this way helps your members form connections and get to know each other better. When your members enjoy each other’s company, they’ll look forward to coming in to workout together. They’ll cheer each other on when times get tough, and they’ll hold each other accountable for not missing workouts. Friendships and connections are the glue that makes your community stay together, and they are formed when you play together outside of workouts.
We suggest planning and leading monthly social events. The list of things you can do with your community is endless, but we’ve outlined some of our favorites below.
Of all the ways to get together, hanging out over food and drinks is easiest and consistently garners the biggest turnouts. After all, everyone has to eat, right? To get started, you can do something low key, like meeting for beers after a tough workout. If you feel like putting a little more planning into it, you can host a cookout or potluck dinner. If you’re feeling a bit more ambitious, try a food and wine pairing or seasonal meals, like a Thanksgiving dinner or fourth of July BBQ.
Getting Physical Together
Getting your group together to exercise in a fun and social way outside of your boot camp is also going to be popular with your members. Consider gathering a group to run a race like the Tough Mudder or Color Run. You can also host or participate in an annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving or a Memorial Day 5K.
Another idea is to hold a team workout competition for your members. As a bonus, invite your members to recruit their friends, which can have the added benefit of turning them into new members. (Which just strengthens your community more) You can also plan a group hike or SUP outing, or take a yoga class at a nearby studio.
Giving Back Together
Volunteer projects are also fun to do with your community. There are so many ways to get involved, but we’ve seen groups make sandwiches for the homeless, hold a donation (coat or toy) drive, adopt a park or highway, participate in the United Way’s Day of Caring, join others in a coastal cleanup day and much more. Be sure to encourage members to wear shirts with your boot camp’s logo to potentially recruit new members when they’re giving back.
Doing Things Around Town
Finally, you and your group can always do fun things around town. Take a trip to a U-Pick farm for fresh fruits and vegetables, go black light bowling, take a group ski trip, go to a fall festival, see a drive-in movie or tailgate for a football game.
Once you plan an event, be sure to create an official Facebook event to invite all of your members. Then advertise your event in your monthly newsletter and with signs through your facility. When it comes to planning your events, it’s helpful to sit down with your staff and sketch out ideas four to six months out. If you don’t take the time to plan ahead with your events, you’ll end up playing catch-up, scrambling to pull your events together the week before you want them to take place. Not only is that process stressful for you, but your members will have less advanced notice, so your turnouts will be much smaller.
So, did you follow us throughout this series? Are you able to implement our best practices and specific tips for social media and events to build your boot camp community? Share any additional tips you have for building a strong community in the comments section below. We’d love to hear your thoughts!