Kay Yuspeh, of Elite Fitness Clubs in Wisconsin, brought a member of her staff with her to the ILC Lunch at the convention. Her thinking was that they might not be interested in the meeting, but they would at least appreciate a free lunch. But what surprised her was how interested her staff member was in the meeting content itself.
Thanks to the IHRSA’s Tax Challenge last weekend, over 750 emails on WHIP and PHIT were sent to members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Collectively, challenge participants reached 178 members of Congress - including 64 Senators and 114 Representatives. What surprised me when I looked over the list of people who participated, was that the overwhelming majority of senders were either from clubs who have never actively supported efforts to pass WHIP or PHIT before, or from a diverse mix of club staff who make up the ILC roster.
The Public Policy Committee of the IHRSA Board is also doing its part to expand the list of IHRSA leaders and engaged members. Each member of the Public Policy Committee is contacting IHRSA members who they know should be part of the ILC and asking them to get on board. What may have surprised some, is how receptive club operators are to a pitch to join the ILC when made by a peer. Early reports from Allison Flatley of Corporate Fitness Works show that the first call to a peer is easy and results in pledges and participation in the IHRSA Tax Challenge. And Jim Worthington of Newtown Athletic Club has brought at least half a dozen new members into the ILC during and since the convention.
What’s the point of these three stories?
One of the complaints that has been raised during recent ILC meetings is that the room is filled with the same people. Where’s all the new blood? But look around:
- young staff members are interested in the ILC meetings,
- hundreds of new club operators and their staff are committed to take political action to get more people physically active, and
- more and more clubs are willing to make a contribution to the ILC to pay for the industry’s lobbying efforts.
This makes me think that the new blood is here. Don’t be surprised that when we educate and engage them, they are willing.
What can you do?
Let’s see if we can raise the number of emails sent to Congress to 1,000. If you didn’t do so last week, please send your email asking for support of WHIP and PHIT. I know you are busy, but it really only takes 2 minutes. Just click here now.
If you only have time to send one email, don’t send it to a member of Congress. Send IHRSA’s Tax Challenge link to your staff and ask them to send an email to support WHIP and PHIT. You too may be surprised how interested the members of your staff are in WHIP and PHIT and other ILC issues. In fact, if you would like any more of your staff members to get the ILC emails, just let me know and I would be happy to add them to this list.
And, maybe the next time you are talking to a club operator at your roundtable or another leadership event, you can ask them if they are a member of the ILC. And if they aren’t, ask them why not. Here are some talking points to make the ask easier.
As always, if you have any questions or need more information. Please let me know.
Helen A. Durkin
EVP Public Policy