Written by: Glynis Braun, PYB’s Community Mobilization Coordinator following PYB’s donation-based event with the Chestnut Hill Cycle Fitness. To learn more about CHCF, please visit http://chcyclefitness.com/.
“I’m a Tar Heel born, I’m a Tar Heel bred.”
With my arms wrapped around my classmates in the stands of the Dean Smith Center, I could confidently sing the first two lines of the UNC fight song, knowing that they rang entirely true for me. My dad attended UNC Chapel Hill and raised his four children, apparently me especially, to love Carolina blue and hate the Duke Blue Devils. My mom took turns dressing up my sisters and me in the Carolina cheerleader costume we owned- and not just for Halloween. While my three older siblings didn’t follow my dad’s legacy down South, I certainly bled Carolina blue.
My four years at UNC were perfect: I received a fantastic education, I made the best, most genuine friends (all oddly from out of state as well), I studied abroad in Greece, and I was able to celebrate a National Championship in 2017.
At a towering 5’4”, basketball was never my forte. I instead found strength and stillness in the pool and on the running trails, beginning in middle school and continuing to this day. However, the camaraderie in the Dean Dome is enough to turn anyone into a basketball fan. So much so, they might even get a job for a youth basketball program some day…
Upon graduating from UNC, I immediately began working for Girls on the Run, a positive youth development program that inspires girls to lead joyful, healthy, and confident lives. Sound familiar? I loved working and coaching for GOTR, but a few months in I realized that I wasn’t embodying the lessons I was teaching my team of 3rd-5th graders. I would encourage my girls during practice to “Be brave!” or “Be bold!” and “Try new things!”
Finally, I took my own advice and decided to pursue my love of group fitness and become an instructor. I was only 23 at the time and feared I didn’t have enough classes under my belt, older clients wouldn’t take me seriously, or that I was musically challenged and what did I know about tempos? But I pushed those thoughts aside and worked hard to become a trained barre instructor at Chestnut Hill Cycle Fitness, where I had held membership for almost a year. CHCF is an empowering female-owned studio, free of screens and free of judgment.
I felt a sense of community there, and felt supported by all the students as I taught my first class, and still do as I near two years on the team. A team that would literally do anything for me….
Two years into teaching fitness and two months into my role as PYB’s Community Mobilization Coordinator, I decided to combine my two support systems into one incredible fundraiser. On Saturday, March 13th, Chestnut Hill Cycle Fitness hosted our first ever “Sweat for the Net” event in the shape of two back-to-back donation-based cycle classes benefitting PYB. Classic basketball tunes like “Whoomp (There It Is)” and “Space Jam” blasted from the speakers in the parking lot as instructor Bradford Jones and owner Alli Bradley led two amazing workouts at 10am and 11am, respectively.
Over thirty people attended the event and over $650 was raised in just one dynamite morning. Slam. Dunk. When I initially approached Alli about the idea, she barely let me finish my thought before exclaiming “Yes!” and asking if she could wear her Sixers jersey. She brought that energy to the event, and all thirty attendees couldn’t help but mimic it as they pedaled it out for PYB in the sunshine. My goal for the event was to raise $250, enough for CHCF to get their name on a brick in the Alan Horwitz ‘Sixth Man’ Center powered & operated by PYB. But with the money raised, there will be TWO bricks in our future center engraved with CHCF mantras. My first rodeo on the events team exceeded all of my expectations, which is a feeling I’ve encountered numerous times as a member of the PYB team.
I joined the PYB team in mid-January, the same week as the Game Time Gala. I highly recommend starting your job at the Fitler Club, drinking wine and eating pizza with your new colleagues. Sitting with Randy and Austin on a hotel bed watching the Gala was definitely not how I imagined being introduced, but it definitely eased any nerves I had coming into the evening!
I immediately felt welcome by my new coworkers, many of whom I share connections with through my alma mater, William Penn Charter School. Since that night, I have immersed myself into my role spearheading the Commemorative Brick Campaign, our vision for a center truly built of, by, for and with the community.
Coming from the Girls on the Run program team, switching gears to work in development has been a fun, rewarding challenge. I feel so lucky to have joined PYB at such an exciting time, and to be given the chance to make the Commemorative Brick Campaign my own is an honor. When brick purchases trickle in and inscriptions say, “WE ARE PYB!” or “IN HONOR OF KENNY HOLDSMAN FOR HIS PASSION AND DEVOTION TO MAKE PYB A REALITY” or, my favorite, “TRUST THE PROCESS” I cannot help but smile. This Center is going to be built by people who embody the spirit of PYB, whether they’ve been a fan since day one or they are new to the team, like me. And we are doing it brick by brick. A popular hashtag during my time at UNC was #GDTBATH, or “Great Day To Be A Tar Heel.”