To the staff of the YMCA of Metropolitan Minneapolis:
It is a great privilege to write this endorsement of Ms. Jennie Berglund for YMCA Instructor of the year. Not only should strong consideration be given to Jennie for local honor, but her actions and impact at our Y are great enough to merit any national consideration there may be as well !
What measures do you use in making this decision? By whatever measure there is, Jennie has exceeded even the most extraordinary expectations. Is it raw numbers like attendance? — I’m sure that data is available to you and speaks for itself! Is it group loyalty, dedication to work, making it fun, or caring about others? Is it fulfilling the Y’s mission? By whatever measures there may be, Jennie is exemplifying all that the Y could desire in an instructor and then some!
What follows is a small part of the evidence of these characteristics based on my observations as a frequent member in her TurboKick and TurboPump classes. I wish I could claim some unique stature in providing this evidence — however, there are at least 40-50 others who could make an equal case to provide it as well – I just have the special honor of helping to convey it on their behalf!
There is a huge, loyal following in Jennie’s TurboKick & Hip Hop Hustle classes. As an example, there were 60 participants in TurboKick on a Saturday at the end of June – the studio was full! No special event — just a regular class day with people looking forward to the usual fun and fitness that comes standard with Jennie’s classes. If you were there, you’d hear the hum and the buzz before class begins, because people are laughing and talking before we get down to business – what fun already! And then Jennie makes the class that much more fun with her lively and entertaining banter as we work out!
Then there’s Hip Hop Hustle — she started this class from scratch within the last year, revved up enthusiasm for it and now has rewarded our Y with an extremely large & loyal following on Monday nights! Not only is it intensely popular, it draws a much younger and hipper crowd that may otherwise be at our Y!
How about focusing on a few of the numbers? Jennie is there teaching classes 5 or six days each week, in addition to her full-time job. Now that’s dedication! There are hundreds and hundreds of people who circulate through her classes and, based on their popularity, that number will keep growing as more space becomes available soon!
Now for a few of the intangibles. Jennie knows most of the names of people in her classes! She strives to get to know them and makes them feel welcome to return and bring their friends (and they do, in droves). People laugh and interact together, and this makes going to class an event not to be missed!
Another intangible is the benefits for the Y staff who co-teach with her. She is a strong role model for other instructors. They learn from her style and emulate her as they also get more comfortable with knowing people by first name and building relationships and camaraderie in class – her style and enthusiasm are catchy and slowly but surely spreading throughout the MN Valley Y staff!
How about the extras — the above and beyond?!?
– Jennie puts together a monthly newsletter that goes to her Y groups that highlights a different member each month
– There are informal gatherings outside class where people can get to know each other in a setting outside of the Y
– On their birthday, members are invited to pick their favorite exercise round as a special treat!
– Through her initiative, TurboKick is being held outdoors several times this summer
– Her Hip Hop Hustle class has an awesome video they made that you can view on YouTube at http://youtube.com/watch?v=EzhzhX4VMm0 !!
To conclude, Jennie has gone way above the usual bounds of duty and created a community of members who have found a place to belong at their local Y! In my many years of being in groups, I have never seen anyone have such a profound and positive impact on a group as her style and personality have had on our groups! The unique combination of fitness and fun that draws armies to her classes make her the very best candidate for instructor of the year, and our only request is that you present any award in front of her TurboKick class so that many of her hundreds of raving fans can be there to share the joy and the honor she so richly deserves!
Paul Wilson – YMCA Member – MN Valley YMCA