We are super proud to announce a new partnership with Strive & Uplift, a strength and conditioning community. We chatted with founder Ren Caldwell about the Pull for Pride event they recently held at their Seattle location and the new relationship with VC.
VC: Hi Ren! Tell us about your recent Pride event.
Ren: Pull for Pride is a national fundraising initiative for queer organizations - events happen all over the US in June, and we were super excited to host the first Seattle event! There was a great turnout, and lifters/contributors raised over 12K for Lambert House, a local organization that maintains a safe social space for queer youth including homelessness services. This was a deadlifting event, with both seasoned powerlifters and new-to-lifting folx participating - the heaviest lift was 606lbs, but the crowd favorite was a woman who lifted over 300lbs in an inflated unicorn costume (and cartwheeling afterwards)!
Community members at Pull for Pride
VC: What was the response from your community members? Did you get to see new folks in the space?
Ren: Almost all of the people who came to the event (over 100) were new to the space, though several of our members came to support (and one deadlifted) and also stepped up to volunteer for the event. Everyone wanted to buy our awesome VC tanks, even people who were coming into the gym for the first time - so that's a great sign not just of the coolness-factor, but also that they felt comfortable and supported in our space! The energy was incredible that day, and the event helped us make some great new connections with local businesses and people!
VC: Any big ideas or lessons learned from this experience?
Ren: It felt wonderful to know that we didn't need to make any adjustments to our space/attitude/language/vibe in order to host an awesome queer-focused powerlifting event! We're already doing the right things to make sure all people, especially those who don't often feel welcome in traditional gyms spaces, feel celebrated and supported in ours. At the same time, having so many new-to-us people come in for this event showed that even though most of these peeps had heard of us and would hopefully enjoy being a part of our community, it took hosting an event like this to get them in the door and will take more to get them to come back. We're moving forward with some great new partnerships with queer orgs and HAES (Health At Every Size) providers - excited to welcome some new faces into our Squad!
VC: We’re really stoked to have Strive & Uplift as a VC partner and am looking forward to sharing content with our community up here in Canada and around the world. What do our friends have to look forward to?
Ren: We're extremely excited about our new partnership with VC - we're been wanting to work with VC for ages, especially in the last few years as the mission of our business became even more defined as synergistic with VC's values of inclusivity and accessibility. We're planning to produce written and video content for VC's blog and newsletters, focusing on the "whole athlete" with information about sport nutrition, mental health, self-care/injury reduction, and other S & C topics specific to ultimate. We're fired up by the chance to be more of a global resource for ultimate players through VC's platform - hopefully this is just the beginning of a great partnership!!
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