Emelia Shoup with the Vision Implementation team presented Tate Metcalf of Sisters Athletic Club with a "Community Campion Award". photo provided
Emelia Shoup with the Vision Implementation team presented Tate Metcalf of Sisters Athletic Club with a "Community Campion Award". photo provided
Tate Metcalf makes no bones about the fact that the past year and a half of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a tough one for the health club he has operated in Sisters for more than two decades.

Tough state mandates on capacity, and a roller coaster ride on risk categorization, challenged a business that is based on people gathering together to work out, to participate in classes — and to socialize. Being cut off or inhibited from their regular exercise program was hard on patrons too.

Sisters Athletic Club (SAC) significantly upgraded air filtration to kill virus spread through the air and purchased an electrostatic gun to kill viruses on surfaces. Patrons sanitized equipment before and after use, and the workout spaces were reconfigured to keep people widely separated.

“We followed the law of the land and did everything we could — and took our hits for it,” Metcalf told The Nugget. “Safety was number one for me.”

He acknowledged that this approach was costly in the short term.

“Long term, I believe it will be very beneficial,” he said.

Metcalf’s efforts, and a long history of community support, earned Metcalf and SAC recognition as a “Community Champion” under the category “Prosperous Community” from the Sisters Country Vision Implementation Team.

“In honoring SAC, the team noted: “The Sisters Athletic Club is not just a place for exercise but also a community hub where people can connect and socialize. During the pandemic, SAC owner Tate Metcalf and his team showed unending resilience, positivity, and dedication to the health and safety of their members and staff while still creatively providing programming and services to their members. The SAC provides more than 35 local jobs, and was nominated by five different staff members.

“Owner Tate Metcalf has a civic-oriented spirit but a humble heart, never asking for recognition of his numerous donations to the Sisters High School athletic teams, homeless shelters, membership scholarships to families in need, and to other local businesses over the difficult past year.”

Metcalf acknowledged that, despite the strains of the pandemic, “We still contributed to the Sisters High School GRO scholarship along with our other community service like the homeless in Central Oregon and providing access to SAC for those that need it but can’t afford it.”

Being named a “Community Champion” puts Metcalf and SAC in the company of a range of organizations and individuals who have had a positive impact in Sisters: Debbie Newport; Mandee Seeley; Age-Friendly Sisters; Fire Chief Roger Johnson; Sisters School District; Robyn Holdman; and Circle of Friends.

“They do the heavy, heavy lifting for our community,” Metcalf said. “It’s an honor to be a private business that’s associated with the other people that are involved.”