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home : business : business May 26, 2018

4/3/2018 1:21:00 PM
Sisters Athletic Club honored for service
Sisters Athletic Club won the prestigious IHRSA Outstanding Community Service Award for 2018. Rebecca Womack, Regan Roberts, and Tate Metcalf with Jim Worthington, IHRSA board of directors member.  photo provided
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Sisters Athletic Club won the prestigious IHRSA Outstanding Community Service Award for 2018. Rebecca Womack, Regan Roberts, and Tate Metcalf with Jim Worthington, IHRSA board of directors member.

photo provided

By Charlie Kanzig

Tate Metcalf's mission and vision in operating Sisters Athletic Club did not include striving to win awards for the business. However, thanks to the club's commitment to making a difference in the community, SAC won the prestigious IHRSA Outstanding Community Service Award for 2018.

IHRSA (International Health Racquet and Sports Club Association) received a nomination from Sisters resident Josh Nordell in 2017 and Metcalf was notified on November 27 that SAC had been chosen as the winner.

"Once Josh made the initial nomination, IHRSA contacted me, and although it is hard to boast about what you do, it is easy to brag about what your team does for the community," said Metcalf. "I felt so honored, I saved the voicemail."

The official announcement from IHRSA read, "Tate Metcalf and his staff at Sisters Athletic Club have demonstrated an incredible willingness to open their doors to people in need, be it active military on leave, firefighters battling forest fires, or school athletic teams. The club's commitment to the local schools, offering and supporting the Life Skills program by providing free access, job training, and hiring opportunities to students with special needs, is one that other school districts strive to emulate."

A professional film agency contacted Metcalf to create a video to be used for the awards ceremony, which was held in San Diego March 22, highlighting the club and the reasons it was chosen.

"The filmmaker from Boston spent two days in Sisters and got amazing shots using his drone and I think he fell in love with Sisters because he made his screensaver of a shot he took here," said Metcalf.

The filmmaker said, "I have filmed every award-winner the last 17 years. Never have I seen such a unique health club; there is something magical happening there. The small town is so welcoming I can't wait to bring my family back. Congrats to Tate and all of his great staff at the Sisters Athletic Club."

Metcalf can still scarcely believe SAC won the award. Often clubs are awarded for doing fundraising for causes in their community, but SAC was recognized for literally opening its doors to truly serve people in the area.

"The recognition from the IHRSA board is beyond words," he said. "They have never given it to such a small club in such a small town before. It usually goes to the mega-clubs in big cities that have tens of thousands of members and can raise millions of dollars. We are so unique here in Sisters."

Metcalf continued, "I think Josh Nordell put it best when he said, 'It doesn't take much effort to raise money once or twice. But it takes a lot of effort to give time every day to the community.'"

Winning the award has validated the club's mission and vision, according to Metcalf.

"We are one of the top 10 businesses in Sisters based on our number of employees, and all of our team is dedicated not only to the members but to the community as a whole. We never set out to win an award to justify our vision, but we absolutely set out to make a positive impact not only on Sisters but on Central Oregon as a whole," he said.

When asked how winning the award has affected SAC, Metcalf said, "The response from the health-club industry has been overwhelming. I have been asked to travel to different clubs to do consulting to help them. But honestly Sisters and Central Oregon is so unique we can't compare other cities to us."

The icing on the cake for Metcalf came with the recent trip to San Diego for the presentation of the award at the 37th Annual IHRSA International Convention and Trade Show. SAC employees Rebecca Womack and Regan Roberts accompanied Metcalf

"I was so excited to be able to share this moment with Regan and Rebecca," Metcalf said. "I wish that I could have taken more of our team to experience not just the award ceremony, but the biggest health-club conference and trade show in the world. It was super-fun to be invited to some of the VIP parties. We all felt like rock stars!"

Josh Nordell, whose Life Skills students from Sisters High School and Sisters Middle School are beneficiaries of SAC's generosity, said, "When you stop and think about what Sisters Athletic Club has created and the culture of inclusiveness that radiates throughout our whole community, it's pretty incredible."

Sisters Athletic Club opened in 2001 and has just over 1,900 members.

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