Your Voice Matters

By Michele Perez

Prosper family at Crater Lake, July 2016

Your voice can be such a powerful thing. Many of us forget the impact of what people say or how they say it can affect those around us. This summer we are using our VOX (Latin for “voice”) to impact those around us. I’ve been asking people at the Center how they use their VOX with their families. I specifically loved responses from the Prosper family, who use their VOX to positively impact their children.

Center members Mike and Julie Prosper have been able to use their voice and the Center to pass on their passion for health and fitness to their daughters Maddie (9 yrs old and a 3rd grader at North Star) and Sophie (7 yrs old and a 1st grader at Henry Ford).

Members since 2010, the Prospers were initially involved in the Center through Mike’s love of basketball. Before even becoming Center members, Mike, a software engineer, used to play noontime basketball and coached two seasons in our Upward basketball youth league before he even had kids.

Eventually, the Prospers decided to become Center members because fellow PCC church members who were also Center members kept speaking positively of the Center and how much fun they were having, especially during the summer.

Maddie and Sophie, PCCA Dolphins

Today, the Prospers spend the majority of their time at the Center in and around the pool. Both Maddie and Sophie took swim lessons at the Center and are now on the swim team. Maddie swims four days a week with the team and Sophie swam for a few sessions starting last summer. Julie participates in our Masters adult swim workouts a couple times per week. Julie says about swimming at the Center,

“It’s not enough to keep pace with Maddie…she officially has me beat on a 100-meter freestyle! In addition to swimming for fitness and competition, our family loves to use the pool for fun. It was a big deal when each of our girls successfully passed the swim test necessary to go on Treasure Island. We love hanging out at the pool with other families for Hot Doggest Nights and other occasions.”

Although not a water person like the rest of the family, Mike keeps busy at the Center as well. In addition to playing noontime basketball, Mike was a constant attendee of Meredith McLean’s, Fitness Director, Boot Camp. Mike adds,

“I enjoyed the class despite the excruciating 5:50am start time. That class triggered my interest in weightlifting and I soon became a regular fixture in the weight room in the early morning hours as well.”

Two years ago, only a few days before the start of Maddie’s first Upward season, Mike tore his achilles playing his beloved noontime basketball. Despite the injury, Mike continued to coach the team while on a scooter. Mike has continued to coach Upward and had a blast this year coaching Maddie’s second season.

Mike and his 2017 Upward team, the Mystics

What keeps the Propers coming to the Center? According to Julie,

“Mike and I were both runners before we joined the Center. We valued staying active and fit, but the responsibilities of work, parenting and everyday life easily crowded out a regular workout routine. Once we became members of a larger fitness community, prioritizing exercise got easier.”

Julie and Mike have different individual goals. Mike is all about building strength while Julie is all about cardio endurance and speed. Julie and Mike love how the Center gives them the opportunity to set diverse goals in a positive and encouraging environment. The Prospers have enjoyed the welcoming voices from other members who have encouraged them to take advantage of the variety of ways to reach for new goals, whether it’s a new PR for Meter Mania, a new weightlifting goal, being more consistent at Boot Camp, or just surviving a spin class.

Despite having different individual goals, Mike and Julie share the common goal of being healthy and active and voicing their passion for fitness to their girls.

As a couple with shared fitness goals, they’ve even had “dates” at the Center where they’ve used the weight room, swam laps, or just sat in the lobby drinking coffee. As a family, the Prospers have often used the Center as a place to relax and unwind – at the pool or shooting hoops in the gym. Mike adds,

“We love being able to go and play at the Center where we’re certain to either run into someone we already know or make new friends. After my achilles injury, many people I had worked out with at the gym noticed I had been gone and offered encouraging words for my return. I still look forward to returning to the early morning weight room crowd – telling jokes, sharing stories, and getting fit together.”

Julie gives this advice to other Center members and potential members,

“Try everything – especially the classes that scare you. Don’t shy away from something because you think it’s just for really fast or really strong people! Mix it up – variety will keep you engaged. Take it slow – patience will keep injuries away; ramp up slowly.”

Julie and the girls after surviving the Escape from Alcatraz swim, September 2015

The Prosper family is a wonderful example of how other’s voices can positively influence us, and how we can pass that positive outlook to our children by voicing our passion for fitness in the community.

How about you? How are you using your voice to matter?

This month at the Center, use your voice to encourage someone by sharing your story of passion for health and fitness with someone at the Center.

Thanks for BEING part of the Center!

Anthony Mejia
Executive Director