Why “Community”?

I’m sometimes asked why community is one of our core values. In part, it is because it’s the word that our members use to describe their experiences with others here. When you become a member at Fortitude Strength you become part of a tribe. A group of like-minded people pursuing similar goals. In our case strength, health, and fitness.

Before I get too deep into it, I’ve gone back and forth on even using the word community because eeeevery gym I’ve ever walked into says their “Community” is what makes them special. If everyone is special, no one is. Every gym, including ours in the past, ends up with cliques when the focus is “community” because “community” is only in reference to the people in the gym at that time. When most people say community they mean my friends, who come in when I do. Often excluding new members or at best acting standoff-ish. That is the opposite of community and the definition of a clique. I remember feeling my anger rise when I saw cliques form because I knew drama followed.

Back when we started Fortitude we said “We’re a place for everybody!” From my experience that doesn’t work. If we say we can help everyone, we’ll effectively help no one (or very few people). If you need a real-world example, walk into any 24-hour gym in town. I can speak with near certainty that if they showed membership numbers it would be in the hundreds with a fraction even showing up regularly and an even smaller number getting significant results. They’re a place for everyone based on “community” that is helping a very small percentage.

Today we have core values that protect our people and I’ve spent 6 years curating, refining, defining, and redefining them. Most gyms, and individuals for that matter, haven’t spent enough time defining what their values mean. I/we have.

At Fortitude Strength, Community means- Walking into Fortitude feels like coming home. We are inclusive. We build each other and ourselves up. Attempting to tear anyone down is not tolerate within these walls. We focus on culture and community is a positive byproduct. We represent everyone under our flag and they, in turn, represent us. We take great care of our people.

As a facility, we aim to drive culture and community becomes the positive byproduct of that.

Socially, your community is a choice. It’s an intentional decision to interact with a group of people and their choice to accept you in return. Communities have standards. Live into those agreed-upon standards and the community thrives. Everyone moving together towards better.

Why community and not family then? Isn’t that what a family does? Yeah, it should. But we all have that one uncle, sister, or cousin that seems to make it their mission to tear everyone else down? You know the one that you hope won’t show up to the next family gathering (pre-COVID). I do and the deal is you didn’t get to choose them. Sure you can cut em out or cut em off but they’ll always be family.

Communities don’t operate that way. If someone shows up day in and day out with the intention of making the community a worse place to live, they are given the opportunity to improve and do better. If they choose not to, they’re out.

At Fortitude, we have a process that selects for and weeds out anyone interested in making Fortitude a worse place to be. It’s our initial consultation. Think of it as a 2-way interview. If you want to start at Fortitude Strength, your first step is to come in and meet with our head coach. Where we’ll get to know you, your goals and both of us will learn if Fortitude is the perfect fit to help. Based on the type of services that we offer AND if it feels like a good fit culturally.

If we are a good fit then we talk about membership.

If not, we’ll refer you to another gym in town that might be a better option.

All of our members agree to our community standards, which they helped us write: 
As a member of Fortitude Strength, you agree to show up in the gym and community with respect, decency, and tolerance towards your fellow human being at all times. Any act(s) deemed to violate this basic principle of human existence can/will result in immediate membership termination. This one is simple, be a good human being. To yourself and to others.

We have Values to protect our culture AND our community because we care about the people that choose to call Fortitude “My Gym.”


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