A Letter to My Members

Janice Ferguson
July 31, 2023
A Letter to My Members

Without you, Bandit is nothing. Without you, my dream is just that. A dream.

Your faith in me has made this dream come true. And for that, I am thankful. For that, I should be paying you. Not really. But, you know what I mean.

How Many Members
As a CrossFit gym owner, one of the major questions I get asked is “How many members do you have?” Sometimes I feel like I’m back in high school and someone is asking me what kind of car I drive, or what kind of house I live in. Is it a two-story? Brick? A mansion? A trailer?

Honestly, I don’t really know an exact number. Maybe 30? 25? What about the many “members” of ours that aren’t currently paying me, or coming to class regularly any longer. I still count them as part of the Bandit family. I still care about what they are doing, and where their lives are taking them. Nonetheless, most people seem to associate a gym’s number (AKA quantity) of members with the success (AKA quality) of the gym. While, having members is a necessity to pay bills, I have a hard time measuring the success of Bandit CrossFit primarily in how many members we are. I prefer to measure the success of our gym based on the quality of relationships that we have as a community.

The Good Kids
When I was teacher, and talking to parents of the “good” kids, I mean the REALLY good kids, I would tell them, “I wish I had a class full of Little Susie’s.”

Now, my wishes have come true. I have a gym full of the “good” kids. Each one of you are amazing little Susie’s in your own way. I’m so proud of each and every member that is brave and loyal enough to call him/herself a Bandit. The quality of my Bandits, in their character and performance, overshadows the quantity of them all day long.

(Dear “bad” kids from my past teaching gigs, Mrs. Fergie loves you just the same. You know better than anyone I like to talk plain.)

I always tell you when I’m coaching, “I just want to take you somewhere and show you off.” I mean it. The progress we’ve made in less than a year is beyond anything I had ever hoped for. You don’t even know how advanced you are, because 95% of you have never been to another CrossFit gym. Bandits move well. You know what you’re doing. If you were left without a coach, you could run the class yourselves. Harry Wong, an expert in classroom management, advised that student self-sufficiency is the hallmark of a high-performing classroom. This is true in my career as a teacher and as a CrossFit coach. I don’t have to tell you to grab a lighter bar, PVC or plate for your Sotts presses and duck walks. Just one cue is enough to correct you in the fiery-frenzy of a WOD. Chest up, heels, knees out, full extension. While “knees” wouldn’t mean anything to an outsider, Misty knows what I’m telling her. Because we’ve been working on her stubborn knees buckling since her first day back in March. Then, on the next rep, she squeezes her glutes, and her knees magically push out at the top of her clean second pull.

This bears repeating: YOU are the foundation of my gym. Right now our facility is small. We lack modern conveniences. Our gym is the hallmark of what CrossFit used to be–a place to train and work hard with no frills, just results. I’m not ready to blow this thing up. Yet. One day, when my dream for a bigger facility, with more programs and classes, and possibly a decent bathroom, is recognized, I will count on my charter Bandits to help me steer the ship. I won’t be able to do it alone.

A Word About Quality Vs Quantity
The core belief that drives EVERY decision I make at our gym as a coach and a businesswoman: QUALITY TRUMPS QUANTITY. For this reason, I will not chase members and enrollment numbers by taking shortcuts, hiring inexperienced sub-standard coaches, or unreasonably discount our worth to superficially grow OUR gym just so I can tell inquiring minds a magic number. My goal is to make my current members happy. That is the bottom line. End of story. I am in a relationship with each one of you. However, there will come a day when I am not in a relationship with all my members. This is where Kim, Josh, Sam, Emily, and many of you will come into play. All Bandit coaches are an extension of me. There will always be a highly-qualified and caring coach taking care of and leading the Bandits—no matter what class of the day.

After much thought, I have finally come up with a way to answer those prying folks who likely don’t even know a high-bar from a low-bar squat, or internal from external rotation: “Enough.” As in, “I have enough members.” Because it’s true. You are enough.

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