Hear what our Boot Camp graduates have to say

Integrity mandates that only unsolicited testimonials be used in BOOT CAMP marketing: Since our 1991 beginning it has been our choice to never solicit testimonials. You can be assured that the words you read below have not been coaxed in any way and represent the true sentiments of the author. In most cases, initials, rather than full names are used, as BOOT CAMP does not request permission to reprint. Jeff Metzger

I thought the “Boot Camp” was everything and more than I expected it to be. You presented so much material in a relatively short period of time, in a very enjoyable atmosphere. I think for many of us new business owners, you showed us the way to make our business work more proficiently by taking the managing of it a lot more seriously.

I’ve sat down many times to complete this evaluation for you and have found it very hard to describe in words the impact the Boot Camp had on me. Coming from a banking/accounting background, I had very little to do with the sport of gymnastics other than an occasional meet that I attended with Tom. When we opened our center, I remained the behind the scenes “accountant” making sure the business, in essence, paid its bills. By attending your Camp, I felt that I finally became a part of the”gymnastics world.” You and the others who attended helped me to “hear the sounds and smell the smells” of gymnastics which might have taken many years to do on my own. Gymnastics has been a big part of my husband Tom’s life for a very long time and I wasn’t quite sure where I fit in our business; now I know thanks to your Boot Camp!

I listen to my tapes every once in a while. If I need a motivator or just some back to reality reasoning, I flip in a cassette and redirect. There was just so much to absorb, I feel like I need to listen over and over in order to integrate it with my daily thinking and planning.

Thanks for a great four days, but mostly for presenting me with the means in which to go forward with our business. It was an experience I won’t quickly forget.
P.S. It was super to finally meet you. We had purchased our foam floor from you back in 1987 when we opened and you helped Tom out a lot with the quick delivery and suggestions you gave him over the phone.

Dear Jeff,
Will if I had any lingering doubts about the usefulness of the Boot Camp (which I don’t), they have been washed away at least 28 times! That is how many times I could have paid for the Boot Camp on the tuition adjustment I just put together for my team program. After a program analysis, using a lot of the information you shared at the camp, I found a $2589.00 monthly deficit in team fees.

Actually, the number of times I could have paid for the Boot Camp may be a big high because I relied heavily on a great spreadsheet program. I wouldn’t lower it by much though.

In short, thank you for all of the work you put into our camp. Your materials were a great guide and cut my work considerably.

Once again, thanks and my best wishes for a great holiday season to you, your family, and Vickie.

Dear Great Kahuna,
I’m sorry that I wasted your time asking you about the length of enrollment calculation methods. Maybe you’ve already erased it from you memory banks, but I just couldn’t figure out how my current students could show a longer length of enrollment than my former students. Well, it’s because we used to have a different enrollment system for preschoolers than for school-age kids, and we just switched them all to the same system in 1988. Which means that the ledgers I was using didn’t start reflecting enrollment on kids until they hit the first grade, and so they are essentially worthless for length of enrollment studies.
I thought I would write to tell you again that you are a genius, you are the smartest man in the world, and all of that ego-pumping stuff you requested. Vicki sent out a picture of the boot camp crew that was much appreciated, and I showed everyone your picture and they were duly impressed (except for Diana, she’s my 6 year old, she was more interested in the woman I slept with for three nights).
I thought you would be proud to know that I think the gym will be making a profit this year. Yes, I know it’s a shocking concept. It’s looking like about 4% if projected through the end of summer (my fiscal year ends August 31). Enrollment is sitting at 1280, which is about 180 more than B.B.C., aren’t you excited? Next year, of course, I will have less students, but more profit.
I’ve thought a lot about why a smart person like me has not already thought about the profit part of the business before, and I’ve decided it’s because I am an excellent time manager. Early on in life (about the age of 12), I decided that the most important task of life was to understand who God was and what He wants from me. Until I was about 22, that was my main hobby. Then I really got into knowing other people, teaching kids and loving them. I eventually figured out that I could love kids all I wanted, AND teach them good gymnastics. (Remember I grew up in an era where the best gymnastics coaches were also the biggest SOB’s,, so this was a hard concept for me). That progressed into teaching employees and loving them. By the time I was 30, I was the boss. So then I devoted myself to providing the best gymnastics classes ever invented. And now YOU come along with the amazing concept that I could actually love the kids. love the coaches, have a great gymnastics program, AND make money while I’m doing it. In fact, you say, I could even have a better program if I had more money to work with. It makes me want to say, “Hey, why didn’t I think of that myself?”
But if I’ve learned anything about time management lately, it is that time management means doing the right thing, putting first things first, doing the important thing, and forgetting or delegating the rest. What Drucker calls efficiency. So I guess I did what was important to me, in the order of importance, and you have to admit that’s what good time management is all about.
You are truly a special person, and I told Stevie G. that I am jealous of him because he gets to come out, but he said since he has to work it won’t be all that much fun, but I think I might like to pretend I forgot everything so you can do like remedial boot camp for me. But I am WAY too busy to leave right now, because of all the hopping that’s going on at the gym.
You will be proud to know that someone else does all the gym’s disbursements now. I have a new Recreation program director, who used to be the old Kindergym director. I have a new Kindergym director, who used to be a plain old coach. Our new Summer Camp coordinator used to be a regular coach, and our new head coach for team used to be our choreographer. She’s a woman, which is kind of radical for this part of the country. The whole staff is way into marketing in every way, and they think you’re the great kahuna too. They will REALLY like you when the new compensations system goes into effect next September.
Hope your family is well and you gym is too. I’m wishing you will be at Nor-Cal Congress next year. I will come and listen to you ON PURPOSE this year!
Love and Kisses,

Dear Jeff and Steve,
I apologize that my evaluation is so late in its return. Both Ron and I thoroughly enjoyed Boot Camp. It was, as far as we are concerned, “worth every penny”. Since this isn’t an immediate response to the weekend, I thought maybe I should let you know what effect Boot Camp is having several weeks after.

I thought when we returned I was suffering from a little bit of PMS. It’s unusual for me, but the tears and emotional outbursts seemed to signal a true unbalance somewhere! However, since my symptoms have lasted four weeks now, I’ve decided it must be PBC. I’ve spent some time trying to figure this out amid the back to business schedule of our return, and I think Boot Camp stirred up some self-doubt. As you can see by the way I started this letter,, I have a tendency to spend occasional time there. The up side to this is that whenever I have to make an adjustment out of my comfort zone, I do this. It’s the reevaluation process for me and it’s good. I think there were things said by both of you that touched me in a way I didn’t expect. I appreciated your honesty, the volume of issues you have taken the time to evaluate, and your effort to share with an industry that desperately needs to be inspired to a higher level of professionalism.

With that said, I will try to answer your evaluation as specifically as I can. My very patient husband will be sending his evaluation in separately. He has been most productive these last four weeks: we have a new mission statement now under review by some of our key staff, an updated computer system, new programs, reorganized office, staff uniforms, system manuals underway and a day planner in his brief case!

Years ago I heard Zig Ziegler speak. I had read See You at the Top and had seen him on TV and when he was invited to speak in our community, I was there. He was very energetic, he had good things to say , he was interesting, but he was so “practiced” that it felt like the audience was invisible. There was no rapport with the audience at all. I appreciated your ability to be aware of your audience, to bend with the needs of your audience, to be patient and gracious and to share a little of your own testimony. It’s hard to relate to a speaker who has never known some self-doubt, some despair, or some struggle. Thanks for sharing a little of yourselves.

I’m sorry (there I go again) to make this so long. I hope some of my feedback is helpful. Again we felt Boot Camp was valuable. We have enjoyed your Success Journal, Jeff, and hope you will be able to keep it going! We are planning on attending Congress, maybe we will see you there. We have promised each other a week in the Caribbean afterwards so just maybe all of this hard work and struggle is worth it! We hope it is for both of you. My best and thank you for everything.

Dear Jeff
I want to take a moment you thank you for the wonderful experience that we had at Boot Camp this past weekend. Everything about the experience was first class from the time we were picked up at the airport until we were dropped off. The hotel and meals were excellent and the classes and discussions were superb. You and your staff have done an excellent job of organizing this experience.

As I told you while I was there, I was concerned a little about what the content would be and how you would handle the wide range of backgrounds of the attendees. I have to say that there was something there for everyone. I can tell that Boot Camp has been an evolutionary process and that you managed to make it successful by continuing to change and adapt the program to meet the needs of owners. You have put together a great team to present Boot Camp. Congratulations, a job very well done.

I will address the evaluation the format you handed out on the blue sheet the last day, since I know you couldn’t read my handwriting.

1. Three most beneficial topics
a. Hiring philosophies
b. Management Structure
c. Board of Advisors

2. Other Good Topics
a. Beliefs Discussion
b. Questions and Answers
c. Interaction with other attendees

3. Least Beneficial
a. Retirement Planning
b. Norms Discussion
Not enough data to really make it useful. More work need to be done in the industry. I don’t have much hope for it happening unless USA Gymnastics takes the lead.

4. What Topics would you have like to have covered more completely?
a. We think that the personal financial planning portion is good, but can be gotten almost anywhere at home from a financial planner. We would like to see Sean give a complete overview of the retirement options that are unique to small business owners as well as the pro and cons of the various retirement plans that owners can offer to their employees.

b. The marketing portion was good, buy I think a discussion of developing a strategic marketing plan would enhance the weekend. We need the philosophy of tying all of your marketing efforts together into a strategic marketing plan. Steve’s presentations are unparalleled for presenting unique ideas. I think a discussion strategic marketing would enhance his presentations and the weekend experience. That being said, I realize that time is a factor. The problem is, this is a topic that most business owners don’t understand and a one hour class at Congress is not going to help them. Boot Camp may be the only hope. If you decide to pursue this I have some more ideas.

Finally Jeff, I have to say that the time and money spent on the weekend are a bargain. I am sure that there is no where else in the country that owners can get this much bang for the buck.

If there is ever anything that Stephanie or I can do for you, please do not hesitate to ask. There was so much going on that I didn’t get the opportunity to talk to you and Penny more on a personal level., but I hope that we can make that happen sometime too.

Good luck and continued success. See you at Congress!

Dear Jeff, Steve, Sean and Pam,
It has been said, “All frustration comes from unmet expectations.” after literally months and months of planning, saving, and looking forward to Boot Camp I was, frankly, a little concerned that my expectations would be inflated and I would be somewhat disappointed.

THANK YOU ALL for going above and beyond my high expectation during Boot Camp! I was anything but disappointed! The total immersion format was perfect for me. I came away inspired to share, learn more and work harder, no…smarter than ever.

The individual meeting with Sean wad very helpful and I have followed his advice in obtaining a good CPA to help set up our QuickBooks program as we move forward in the business. Looking forward to your financial seminar sometime in the future.

The Boot Camp manual is something I have referred to frequently already and I know will be of great help in the future. Calculating break-even numbers for the program is on my list this week. I have also referred to some of the letters to parents which were included in the manual. Very helpful as far as content and wording. Thank you for putting together such a valuable resource!

As you had said, some of the most valuable time would be spent at dinner and informal times with other boot-campers. This certainly proved to be true. I have interviewed a recommended instructor who recently moved into our area from Redding. Yippee!!! (As you may recall, staffing is one of our biggest concerns at this point.)

The personal touch provided at BOOT CAMP was the icing on the cake. Thanks Pam, for all your work in that area!

Looking forward to a productive year. Thanks again!

Dear Jeff,
My third Boot Camp has convinced me that I need to come to Boot Camp more frequently. The fundamentals that you put in motion in my school have changed my company enormously in the past decade. I noticed that when you discuss business topics today, I hear them from a whole new perspective, because my company is so different now than when I first met you.

This past year, I joined a local business forum, and was hugely disappointed because, well, I guess I was expecting YOU. Unfortunately, they just don’t hold a candle to Boot Camp, even though they charge seven times your price.

I still have a lot to learn, and I am thrilled about what the future holds for my company! Thank you for helping me live a better life.
Wishing you every success,

Dear Jeff,
I wanted to take a moment and thank you for “Boot Camp”. Not only was the magnitude of information invaluable to our industry, but the people running the camp are truly amazing! Each of you reveal an obvious passion for your respective businesses and contribute unique perspectives to the course work.

Jeff, you are an intelligent man able to cut through the fluff and help people focus on what is truly important. Steve, your humor is amazing, but not as amazing as the love you have for the children. “Y”, thank you for making us feel so welcome and knowing all the details that make a difference!

“Boot Camp” was absolutely outstanding! I learned more than I expected and left motivated to build an empire (After I took a long nap!) Thank you!

Dear Jeff and Steve,
This letter has been a long time coming, but even now, seven months after we listened to you talk about culture and other life changing philosophies, is it all beginning to come into perspective. We find the information you provided a constant source of motivation, not to mention the more practical values it has. You know I read the other letters you included with your Boot Camp promotions, and I must say they probably sold me on the program, but honestly no amount of complements or praise could ever do justice or express the amount of thanks that we have for you! You truly did provide “Lifetime solutions for our business.” It hasn’t been easy, mind you, but you didn’t say that would be part of the deal. As I type this, our enrollment is at its highest point ever with no signs of stopping. So let us just say a very Heart felt Thank you.

Dear Jeff,
Please allow me to offer in writing my sincere thanks for the INSPIRING job you did for us in Boot Camp. The energy you put forth and total dedication you gave to us during those days and nights was truly an example to be remembered.

Your example has left an image which I will attempt to emulate in the future. I am changing my mode of daily operation; from the chicken with its head cut off which goes everywhere fast but gets nowhere, to the turtle who takes time to ponder and plot his every step. That’s me, the turtle. Of course, this turtle will have afterburners on once the course is set.

Thank you for the inspiration, and the vision of what can truly happen and be achieved in our business.

Hi Jeff,
As I am involved working on my business I am constantly going back to ideas and principals that I have gotten from you over the years. It is incredible the number of times your ideas have been helpful in my decision processes. My attendance some years back at your Boot Camp left an indelible impression on me and my gym. I will always remember the first time I heard you speak at a Congress. You were DETAILING the monetary value of an answered phone call. I was hooked! I signed up for your camp right after that. Jeff, I want to deeply thank you for your contribution and for how important it has been to my business. I have recommended your Boot Camp to many people and will continue to do so.

Hi Jeff
I have been contacted by Wayne Hill, the Executive Manager of Gymnastics, Queensland, for some background on yourself. See below. Trust all is well in the USA.
Ross Gage
Executive Director, SwimAustralia
——Original Message——
From: Ross Gage
To:Wayne Hill, Executive Manager, Gymnastics Queensland

Hi Wayne
Jeff spoke at our annual SwimAustralia Convention on the Gold Coast in 2001. He gave several presentations in the leadership-management area. In our 10 years of Conventions, we have never had a better received speaker.

Knowing Jeff runs “Boot Camps” inn the USA, we got Jeff and Penny out last year to present the inaugural Swim Australia Boot Camp for Entrepreneurial Swim Schools. This was conducted at Port Douglas in July…tough life! It was designed for those wanting something more ‘high-powered’ and willing to pay for it, while getting some great network. It was a huge success.

We are planning to conduct the second Boot Camp with Jeff and Penny around July 2004; possibly at the Yeppoon Resort. The plan is to have a max. of 30 delegates (max of 2 per school) with up to 10 spots available for gymnastic clubs and dance studios…schools working with young kids who have many similar objectives and challenges.

Significantly, both Jeff and Penny mix very well with delegates outside of ‘lecture’ time. Darn near Aussies.

Please feel free to buzz me for more background on Jeff and/or Boot Camp.
best wishes

Jeff, Steve, Sean, and Y,
Outstanding educational experience! Thanks!
As I was looking toward my new adventure in the business of educating children through athletics, I had three fears. Could I work with professional people, was business potential limited, and were my skills transferable. I am happy to say, thanks to Boot Camp, these fears are now fading. Why? My lessons from Boot Camp. Professional people are developed through sound leadership. I have pursued becoming a quality leader for 14 years, yet I was becoming fixated on management! I am now VERY excited about continuing my leadership education through the sport which gave me my start and I love so much. As for my skills, I guess I’ll have to do my flying on the trampoline. The potential is amazing. Where I once saw limits, I now see new opportunities.

Since returning home and getting devoured by my current job, I have finished The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The One Minute Manager. Great companions to Boot Camp. During Boot Camp, a very large light bulb went on in my head. The relationship between becoming a principle-centered leader of your personal life parallel very closely with coming a principle centered-leader of your business. You have all set the example not only within this business, but outside it as well. The personal benefits of your workshop are numerous.

Since I am a true information junky, I appreciate your openness with the building blocks and systems you have used to develop Kids First Sports. My gears are spinning out of control trying to figure out how to properly use them at KGTC. Never fear, I put the brakes on and started at the bottom of the pyramid.

Thanks again. I look forward to returning some day with my partner. I’ll probably need a Boot Camp “oil -change” and I want him to get the insight I fail to convey in the Metzger way!

Dear Jeff,
I just thought that I would write to you and personally thank you for the help and advice that you have given me. I understand that it is what you do, that is, your business is advising and consultation, and that in my case, the advice you gave was at no charge.

I believe that in any endeavor that we undertake there are documentable phases that the creative mind goes through. I had reached a plateau where I was stonewalled and had even considered giving up. When I spoke to you we did not discuss motivation but it was one of the many things I got from our talk. I am now really cooking’ and psyched about getting our business started.

At this point we have really started to pay attention to our strategies and philosophies and in doing so everything else is falling into place.

Once again I want to thank you for what you’ve done for us. You will be hearing from us in the future about Boot Camps and other information.
Sincerely yours,

Your article is UNBELIEVABLY CORRECT!!! Boot Camp a couple of years ago helped me TREMENDOUSLY!!! We still have a small gym and have not yet made that jump to a big facility and my main reasoning is I was concerned that we did not have the staff. We still do not have the staff, however, they are coming on board. We have used the FIVE HIRING MANTRA’S especially “WE WILL GO SHORT STAFFED RATHER THAN POORLY STAFFED.” As a result we are continuing to FIRST train a staff that can support a larger facility THEN we will build a larger facility.

You may not remember what you said to me when I called you before I came to BOOT CAMP but my primary concern was bricks and mortar. At that time you said for me to not do anything until BOOT CAMP. Had I not gone to BOOT CAMP I am convinced that I would be now in a larger facility but I would either be broke or dead from exhaustion…

You are also correct about DISCIPLINE…that is probably the HARDEST thing of all…It is SO…OOOOO MUCH easier to let the wrong staff person stay in their position and drain your resources rather than to what you are going to have to do eventually anyway…which is let them go…
I am working hard every day to be MORE DISCIPLINED.


I will be in touch and let you know how things are going.
Thanks again,

Jeff, Penny, “Y”, and the rest of the gang,
Just thought I would drop you guys a note to say thanks so much for the time in Cincinnati. The course was great Jeff – I found I was able to reflect on what Stan and I are doing a lot better and I know the course was really good for Stan. Our company is growing quickly and sometimes it seems we are running to just keep up. Part of that running is because we have not yet set in place all the base values and it was great to have you hammer that home the last several days. We have already begun to focus our attention on cementing our foundation and even though it takes time, I know we will get there soon.

It was great to be back in Ohio! I really enjoyed your facility and your great staff. I enjoyed our discussions and of course the socials were pretty darn good too. You gotta implement that “Most Embarrassing Story” night into the social scene. It would be a blast! There are some really good stories out there – and you would be surprised what people will let out of the bag for the sake of wining a free T-shirt. I know that might surprise you.

Say hi to “Y”. She was great – super personality and she does your company proud. I hope that we can get back to visit you in the next year or so – Stan and I were talking that maybe we could get a gang of you to come visit us and do some sessions for our staff in the next year or so. It’s always good to get the staff someone else’s perspective. We can talk about that down the road.

Well, I should go – got a busy day ahead. So take care and have a great summer! Best of luck down the road – I hope our paths cross again! Thanks again.

Hello Jeff,
Just a moment of your time…as I am learning more about other gyms, I can see a huge Metzger influence. They have truly taken your knowledge and input from Boot Camp and put their twist on it. They ARE very good people: Business people wise, and child-oriented wise. I respect them a lot.

I know you’re probably shy about hearing these kinds of things, but you have got to know that you have changed so many people’s lives for the better. You have had the ripple effect. You directly influence the owners/directors who in turn go out and perform at a higher level (in many areas) thus pleasing to the client (parents and children).

You’ve helped many a gym owner to drive a bigger car!

Thank you for your passion and consistent message throughout the years. You are a gem in our industry.That’s all!
Sincerely and GymTastically,

Dear Jeff,
I am horrified! I cannot believe that I never filled out the Boot Camp evaluation. I came across it when I was looking through the manual (again!) and I am so sorry that I never got it back to you. Well, here it goes…

Boot Camp was fabulous. The length was great, the sessions were interesting and educational, and the social events were very well planned. Your crew did a fantastic job at taking us all in, making us all feel so welcome, and answering our many questions.

I think that I got so much out of Boot Camp, because I was surrounded by so many wonderful non-swim school people. Not that I don’t enjoy hanging out with swim school owners, but it was great to get the ideas of what I consider are some of our main competitors. I think that here in Miami, my main competition is not other swim schools, but other types of children’s programming (gymnastics, baseball, soccer, etc.) Our businesses are so similar and I am amazed at how many new ideas I got from everyone.

You are such a wonderful speaker, Jeff. Your passion really comes out in your sessions and you are extremely motivational. I really got a shot in my arm from coming to Boot Camp. I will be back!

Dear Jeff & Steve,
I have one word for Boot Camp – WOW! I can’t describe in words how significant all of the information will be to our company. The presentation was excellent; it was felt with emotion, it showed that you truly believe in what you are doing.

The expression of your staff, the support shown, and the words spoken were of admiration and respect. I felt as though Kids First is a family. Everyone believes in the culture of Kids First. You have really created something special and it shows every day in every way.

For the fist hour of our trip home the three of us rode in silence. One we began to talk and compare how we felt, we were excited, the problems that the company had been facing seemed much easier now. We were given the tools to achieve success. We are different people now, and can no longer accept the old way of thinking, status quo will no longer satisfy our needs. We had a 5-hour brainstorming session in the car searching for the right words to express what we now felt and create a culture we could hang our hat on. It was intense and even fun at times, we are still working on fine tuning our mission and preparing our principles. We have a plan and things seem clear and right. The steps we are taking, as a result of Boot Camp, are in the right direction.

Thank you, you have not only affected me professionally, but personally as well. I will always remember the time I spent at Boot Camp and with my fellow employees, a bonding experience all around.

I am finally getting a chance to let you know how great boot camp was. I once worked for a very wealthy food company during which I attended many business seminar and workshops. As a club owner, I have been to National, regional and state congress many times. Boot Camp was, by far, the most valuable I have attended. Your efforts and willingness to share what you have learned has given me a fresh out look to my business. I an excited and working hard to create a business that will take care of my family and be well respected in our community. You and Steve make a great pair, a perfect balance between left and right brained thinking.

We are in the process of creating plans and building a gym club with a warm water pool. Your business plan has been very valuable as I am using it as an outline for what I would like to do. I will keep you posted on our progress and may have to take you up on your consulting. Once again, KUDOS to you, Steve, Sean, Y, and the rest of the gang at Kids First. You are truly a leader in our industry and I am looking forward to the time I can see and talk with you again.


Dear Jeff,
Just thought I’d send you a quick note concerning our new project. First, I feel compelled, again, to tell you how valuable my Nov. ‘00 Boot Camp experience was. I learned more about myself and our industry in four days than I have in the last nine years.

Since boot camp I have done the following:
– Examined and rewrote my own personal plan.
– Examined and rewrote our company mission and principals.
– Started training staff on mission, principles, and business culture.
– Wrote a 50 page multi-venue business plan.
– Submitted this plan to four separate banks.
– Meeting bimonthly with managers, training them specifically on boot camp strategies. (This has really helped me to think things through.)

We have a site plan and preliminary city approval on a 25,000 square foot facility that includes a warm water pool for swimming lessons. We currently have two contractors bidding for work with an initial cost estimates of 1.4 to 1.6 million. I am shooting for a $50. to $55. square foot cost. We will get more information from the banks next week. I would like to ask you the following questions?

1. What type of work did you do on your facility to keep costs down?
2. How hard did you push contractors on their pricing and fees?

Once again, thanks for your efforts, keep those BIZ TIPS coming!!! (20-60-20) rule was great.

I attended the first Boot Camp in your new facility, and let me tell you that it was fabulous! You may or may not remember me, but I am the guy from Alabama that had just purchased about 4 1/2 – 5 acres of land, and was getting ready to build. I know that you wanted a survey from everyone concerning Boot Camp, but I really didn’t feel comfortable sending you one until I was able to put some of the thoughts, theories, proposed ideas, etc. into action to see what I had really gained. I wasn’t really being a skeptic, I just had trouble comprehending everything that was being tossed around by the 30 plus people in the room. I really didn’t understand a lot of what was being said and discussed, simply because I had never run business of any kind (not even a lemonade stand). But after Boot Camp, I took the information home, slowly began to digest what I did understand, and now after being open for 10 months, a lot of the notes that I took are beginning to make sense. I am definitely planning a return trip to Boot Camp with the hopes of a little better interaction on my part simply because I can now pose relevant questions to my own business. I have recommended Boot Camp to everyone I know, and I plan to bring my wife when I come back. Like I have told everyone I’ve run into…yes, Boot Camp is expensive, but the business plan and the other literature that you receive is worth every dime. You may or may not remember me telling you this at Boot Camp, but when you mailed me the business plan ahead of time, I plagiarized it like you said for us to do, and after about 8 hours of work, I was approved for $140,000 in less than 3 days from a local bank. I have now updated my/your business plan in an attempt to consolidate all of my loans, and I feel pretty confident that it will go through again. (hope I didn’t jinx myself) Anyway Boot Camp had a huge impact on me in more than one way You may also remember when I was at Boot Camp that I was having difficulty coming up with a name for my new gym, we tossed around Silver Lakes (community name), as well as a few others, but when I sat down at Boot Camp and opened my handbook…..everything made sense. The very first thing I read was that “Long Term Build Pyramids.” So, I decided to build my own. Once again, thank you for all the help! I can’t wait to come back to another Boot Camp!

Thanks a ton!!!!!

Dear Jeff and Steve,
We just couldn’t wait to write and tell you thanks! Boot Camp was definitely a valuable asset to both of us. (I’m so glad I told Tim we should go) We are both very excited abut opening our gym. You have been a great source of information and inspiration.

I personally (Danielle) had been dragging my feet for a long time on getting plans done for the future gym. I had so many questions in my mind, and no idea how to find out the answers. This lack of insight made me very reluctant to dive into a new business full force. During Boot Camp I had almost all of those questions answered, or found out how to answer them for myself. Consequently, I am feeling very confident and positive now about our future venture.

Boot camp weekend was definitely intense, but also enjoyable. We’re so glad we came “before” we opened our business and not “after”. We know it will make a great difference in our startup.

Thanks a million!! We’ll talk to you soon!! (Please thank Vicki too!!)

Dear Jeff and Steve:
Ow! Ow! Ow! My brain hurts. Must download now before critical mass ensues.

Where to start! OK, like I told Jeff before I left, I wish I’d come to boot camp two years ago when I first talked to him. By most standards my gyms are huge successes, except by my own standards only, of course.

Boot Camp was an affirmation of the things I’m doing right, a clarification of the things I’ve wanted to do, and a red flag for things I’d better do. Jeff taught me that just because the way I’m doing things now is the way I’ve always done it, doesn’t make it the best way. Steve taught me to remember why I got into the business in the first place. “Hey, lighten up, enjoy it, don’t take yourself so seriously. This ain’t Wall Street!”

After 27 years of teaching and 20 years as a business man, this camp was just the shot in the arm I’d hoped it would be. It ain’t just the money (Did I just say that?!). The other campers were great. I had a great time. I really enjoyed sharing with all of them.

Anyway, I’ve got a lot of work to do, and I can’t waste anymore time stroking your egos! I highly recommend Boot Camp to all future and present gymnastic school owners.
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

Hi Jeff!
Just wanted to let you know that nearly three years after I attended your boot camp, I am still very impressed by you and your “loads” of info. It has been the most useful tool I have ever seen with regards to running a business. Thank you for providing such an outstanding service.
Hope to see you at Congress!

Filling out your evaluation did not do justice to the quality time Katherine and I spent at Boot Camp in November. From our first introduction to fellow “Boot Campers” and staff colleagues Thursday evening I could feel the synergy developing. I would have never known you had just undergone a root canal unless you had told us.

Your immediate rapport you established with all in attendance is very indicative of how you channel your dynamism into your company, staff, clientele and family. This trait displayed the insight and qualities in understanding the human side of running the people business we are in.

Your organizational ability in choreographing the topics, discussion and feedback was of the highest order. The flow of Boot Camp was well presented for the situations and elements one encounters in the dynamics of the motor skill learning business we both are in. I admired your dedicated work ethic in presenting goals desirable for business owners to attain in achieving a smoother system in developing a better quality service. The idea’s and tools presented reaffirmed my belief it’s worth the effort to work smarter not harder in attaining profitable results.

At present the Boot Camp manual never leaves my side. It’s reassuring to know I can always use this as a reference in encountering management issues relating to our Swim School operation. I garnered information at Boot Camp which O shave spent years looking for within our own industry. This lends a great amount of credence to know in what an exceptional service you are providing.

Kids First is a proven example of your achievement and how you infuse great energy and enthusiasm for the success of your organization.

Dear Jeff,
I know I thanked you on numerous occasions verbally for your Small Business Boot Camp November 21 through November 25, 2002. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you in writing for solidifying the vision for our current company and for expanding the vision of our company’s potential which may now include kid’s sports.

We have always lived our core values at Spine & Sport. With our organizational growth, we have been exploring what our core values are specifically and have been trying to get them down on paper with fairly good success. We have now been able to tweak our vision statement to include what the future may hold. Each of our divisions then has its own mission while staying in alignment with the ultimate vision. That potential vision was very much brought to life for me with the words of “responsibility.”

Specifically, your statements of giving people options and allowing them to be responsible for their own actions, without any emotional attachments to their decisions, was an ah-ha moment for me as I have always tried to operate in that manner but had never hear it stated in such a tangible way.

I had sensed, as you had mentioned, that there was some uneasiness on your part with someone from another profession or non-gym industry at your seminar. I would encourage you to feel at ease in any such future discussions with me. The bulk of the information that you present transcends any profession and speaks more of personal and public victory and what it takes to make a company “good to great”. It is too bad that you have not published a book to date that I am aware of; you could have combined Covey and Collin’s work into one volume and saved business leaders the time and expense of having to read and purchase two books. (Just kidding).

I have a strong suspicion that your Small Business Boot Camp manual will remain a reference point as we continue to shape the foundations, strategy, and tactics of our organization. I praise the Lord for the timing of this information coming to our organization through our interaction. I look forward to any potential future interaction between you and I as we continue to move our organizations forward through strong leadership in thought, word, and deed.

I again thank you, Jeff, and God bless you.
Sincerely and warmly,

Dear Jeff, you know I had a tremendous amount of time to think about all the wonderful things about Boot Camp XXX. I have been to at least 20 workshop type learning sessions. Boot Camp places very high for the following reasons:

You delivered your promise with substantial learning that any gym owner can put to use. I look for at least 5 things that I can use or implement in my personal or professional life from these types of events. I came away with 8 specific forward moving ideas that I will implement. There were several others that in time I may consider.

Your staff (especially “Y” but not limited to her) were extremely friendly and helpful. The accommodations were excellent Hotel to the meeting room. The delivery of the presentations day to day and hour to hour really kept you wanting to know more every step of the way.

The Boot Camp book has a hug amount of useful information and I will refer to it for years to come. I have more to say but my kids are tugging at my sleeve so I must go for now.

Thank You Again,

I must first apologize for not giving you immediate feedback on you GymClub Owners’ BOOT CAMP. When you work a full time job in addition to the Gym, at times something must give. In this case it was my response. I am sorry for that, it was not fair to you.

In my short years affiliated with gymnastics, I have never been involved in any one clinic, seminar or meeting that has affected our outlook on the gym as a business as the boot camp did. Being in a full time job with a service orientated company, I have a strong belief in the principles you went over and over. You brought them back to the front in running our own business. I thank you for that.

When I first thought of having an 8 hour drive to get home, I shuttered. But it was the best thing that happened. With all the information you fed us, I could have just let it get all confused within the mind. The trip home helped me to get straight a plan of action. (This plan would not have been as easy if it weren’t for your “BOOT CAMP Action List.”

I want to briefly let you know what I wrote down, and give you a progress report as to why we have been so busy. This was what I wrote as 10 things I learned, prioritized:
A3 Importance of Marketing
A2 Clarify Demographics
B1 Importance of Decisions – levels
A6 Growth through Delegation
A5 People as an extension of Marketing Position
A7 Expectation of Employees (QCGC & You)
A1 Organization of structure for our “peace of mind”
A4 Job Functions for major positions

Dear Jeff,
Our Boot Camp experience has been one of a phenomenal nature. As you know, Danielle and I have attended two Boot Camps. The first was back in 1995 when opening our gym was still in the “dreaming of” stage. We opened in the Fall of 1997 with 0 enrolled and the Boot Camp encyclopedia being the only thing to guide us into the unknown. We have since attended a second Camp in November of 1998. The gym is going strong today and we still use the strategies and ideas from Boot Camp extensively. Our program has grown to an enrollment of 300 plus students since its start. Not much buy the typical standard of gym clubs, but the hitch is our facility is only 2500 square foot. Without the education we have received from your program, our success would not have been as great. Thank you so much for your efforts in putting the Boot Camp together. I recommend all gym owners attend at least one session. I’m looking forward to my third. Keep up all the good work.

With great sincerity,

Dear Jeff,
It was so nice to see you again at Region IV Mini Congress in Osh Kosh. Thank you for taking time to talk to me right when you arrived! It was very helpful.

Donna and I refer back to our Boot Camp Manual constantly. I want you to know that Boot Camp XVII was definitely the best thing I ever did! As stated in your Boot camp slogan, I have learned lifetime solutions for my business, and business solutions for a lifetime.

I am looking forward to hearing both you and Penny at National Congress in Sacramento. This is my first time attending and I am sure my mouth will drop wide open and I will be in about as much shock as I was at Boot Camp! I can’t wait to go. My husband, will be attending as well as Donna and her husband Tom. Maybe we can find some time to get together and have a drink.

With sincere gratitude,

Thanks for the Boot camp experience. I trust you read my review of the program after I left. I made many changes to my gym. Just a guess (but a good one), I profited around $10,000 from your advice/system. That is the profit after subtracting the expense of the camp/etc.

Not bad. Thanks again for the different point of view. I would like to have you come down to Florida for a few days this summer, before I open my satellite location. Please send me some info.
Thanks again,

(From Boot Camp Grad to His Fellow Collegues)
Hey Fellow Boot Campers!
It’s me Aaron, from Utah. Remember the guy who had the strange food obsessions (thinking that the health code was not stringent enough)? Or maybe from the hotel lounge? Yeah, that’s me. So….

The FIRE Still Burns!

It has been 5 months since our time together and I can honestly tell you that the experience continues to impact and direct the course of my business (and life)! My vision and mission (formerly just written words and good ideas) now actively serve as powerful guiding forces in every decision I make. Moreover, by beliefs have been greatly challenged forcing me to take a closer look as to why good or bad things happen in my business and making appropriate adjustments – I have more leadership skill and control. Not trying to sound like a testimonial here, but come on people – it worked!

A Business network IDEA

Anyway, I have coordinated with a few clubs (with similar objectives, goals, purpose, etc.) in our state to form a business network that serves ads a useful resource. Each member of the group has something to offer bringing to the table their experience, strengths, and creativity. We hold a monthly meeting to discuss a particular area of key issue ad work toward some useful solutions. Even better, we invite our key staff people in those particular areas to further their training! We had our first meeting a week ago (about preschool gymnastics) and I have already noted some improvements made in our club! In addition to this, we all get to sit around afterward and just vent about everything if we choose – great fun.

I wish all of you the very best.
Thanks again,

Dear Jeff,
Just as I have stated before, my life has been forever changed because I made the “right” decision to attend you Boot Camp.

As a young child, I was taught (by my parents) to be successful, follow after other successful people. The gymnast in me taught me if someone else can do it you can, too. My belief and faith have taught me to get the the top, help others. It is obvious that you have gotten the top by helping others. Keep doing it! Our world and children will be better off.

I believe to get something I have never had, I have to do something I have never done. Yard by yard it will be hard. But inch by inch it will be a chinch. Thank you for showing us that patience, persistence, beliefs and a strategic plan can make it happen. Boot Camp was sent by God!

Gymnastically yours,
P.S. See you at the top!

Dear Jeff,
I got your note about the Boot Camp and the new sports center. Good Luck. I know you are as busy as a one arm paper hanger, but I also know that makes you every happy. I know the feeling. In the same package of mail I got an invitation ot the Moceaneu Invitational, and they claim to be the largest gym in the USA at 70,000 square feet. I guess they will have to be content with number two.

I have been meaning to write a testimonial for the Boot Camp ever since I lift there. First, it was a turn on. Since I have been in the biz for a long time I have actually thought about many of the issues, but it fired me up to hear the solutions that other people have created. Next, it helped me to refocus on the core of my business. Our staff meetings worked on the Mission Statement for two months, but in the end we were all happy to be on the same page and we were impressed with the thoughtfulness found in each staff member.

We went to Terms in September 97. This one move made the cost of Boot Camp seem minuscule. Why didn’t I hear of this in 73? The last four months have been the best four months since we moved to Californian. Planning is easier, and the problem of late or seriously past due is essentially erased. I have actually been paying the rent on time rather than after the first week of the month. The landlord we’ve been with for the past seven years is probably worried about my mental state. Term, terms, for everyone. I explained it in May, June and July, and then began giving enrollment packages in August. By the end of August I could tell that it was a rousing success, and November-December just confirmed it. Jeff Lulla told me I would enjoy it when I saw him in Las Vegas. He was right, and the message I would sent to future Boot Campers–Go to Terms, Young Man (or woman as the case may be).

It is difficult for me to parse the difference between our growth from the Olympics in 96, the effect of our gym expansion, and the effect of the boot camp on our companies culture. Each had an effect. We expanded in September 96 from 6 to 12 thousand square feet. I missed the trend from small to large, and had actually downsized, thinking that was a better way. I was wrong. The larger facility is better looking, more pleasing to the eye of the new customer, so after the Olympics our enrollment soared. Other gym owners told me the effect of the Olympics was small and fleeting in their gym. We doubled, and we have been growing ever since. The economy has a lot to do with this growth, but better business practices have been the key to holding on to the growth. One of the disadvantages of being old is you can never say anything briefly.

Good Luck in your new venture.

Jeff’s bold and encouraging delivery helps to give me a sense of “I can do it,” and Steve’s humorous delivery is a reminder to me that we all need to “chill out” on even important issues. What a great combination!

File this one under the category of “Oh, now I get it” or “better late than never”… At any rate I had to share with you a brief thought that was again another one of those “break through, revelations” or just another great concept that came from Boot Camp that kind of hit me like a tone of bricks (in a good way) as I was recently meandering through my manual.

This was one of those philosophical thoughts that has all of a sudden made more sense than ever, and a feeling I have had but for one reason or another had not gotten it to the fore front of my thought process as I continue to evaluate and review my role, responsibilities and priorities.

I just wanted you to know how much I have appreciated these “little” ideas and thought that really have lead to BIG things (at least for me) that I have really come to appreciate from Boot Camp and YOU!!!!!

The hard part of LEADERSHIP as you mention is to try to determine all the different staff development issues that have potential and then implement them on a regular basis…I feel very blessed and fortunate that somehow I was given some natural skills in this area, and continue to try and learn more (from people like you) in an effort to acquire and sharpen these skills continually. This though process is the “saving grace” for me because I am beginning to feel much more comfortable in my leadership role despite my self-induced cloud of self-doubt that has crept in because I was not a gymnast or have a history in the “private-entrepreneur” arena.

Hope all is on schedule and well with Kids First!!! Would love to hear from you if you get a minute to come up for air……….

Dear Jeff & Steve:
Applause, applause!!! Just a short note to tell both of you that I was extremely satisfied and impressed with “Boot Camp.”

Because I am new to the industry, I was a little unsure of what I could expect from Boot Camp and how it might benefit me. I can say without reservation that the experience was everything and more than I would have expected. It was amazing to me that despite the wide range of student’s interests, positions, and experience you enabled everyone including my self to gather and apply the information to their own situation.

The amount of information and presentation methods were outstanding. The materials and “workbook” will be very beneficial for a long time to come. In completing the attached evaluation it is very difficult to determine any specific suggestions for improvement

Dear Jeff,

This is just a quick note to let you know how my business has been doing. Since the “Boot Camp” I have made several changes in my program which have ben very beneficial financially.
First of all I raised my prices! I raised them an average of $1.50/hour class. Guess What! Very few people said a word because I sent home a letter similar to one of ours talking about price increases and inflation.

The second thing aI did was completely reorganize my skill program by age (we previously had a skill based class structure. This is much more convenient because the children can stay in the same class, at the same time for the entire year. The parents thought I made this change for them. It worked our great!

The third thing I did was to delete two of our Gymnastics Awards Exhibitions. It was over kill! The children would sign up for a 10 week session that would finish with a show at the end of the 10 weeks and quit because they thought the class was over! Now I do not give any awards until June. More children have stayed in the program so that they can participate in this event.
My enrollment is now the highest it has ever been – AND SO IS MY INCOME!

I have begun to restructure my entire business and have been doing more “business” activities. I even have a business plan for a new gym which is my new goal for the new year or so.
Thanks for all you help! You and Steve really make a difference for us.

Dear Jeff Metzger

I can’t express how much your Boot Camp has done for me. The personal and business life skills and concepts you discuss, in most individual cases, are skills and concepts we as business owners, effect or contemplate on a daily basis. The difference bring, that your ability to communicate and illustrate, in effect, literally stimulates each persons emotional hot points, so that they become crystal clear in our minds eye.

You are aware of the fact that I’ve attended 2 Boot Camps. I must share with you my opinion, that if a gymnastic school/club business owner/ manager, wants to derive the maximum benefits out of the Boot Camp, that they should seriously consider 2 Boot Camps.

My reasoning is that, with the voluminous quantities of information that you present in the program, combined with the short and intensive learning time window, that after day 3, and in some cases day 2, one’s brain is on over load. Consequently, it’s my opinion after discussing the “over load” concept with other Boot Campers, the general concern is that to varying degrees, a lot of the new information is not comprehended to its fullest. Conversely, the personal commitment to learn more, motivates the Boot Campers to learn more and more.

After having an opportunity to implement, the many lessons, if you will, at the first Boot Camp, I personally found that I had a greater understanding of the many concepts that you presented, and consequently, learned even more.

Once again, thank you for sharing, and taking the time to talk with me personally. I truly look for ward to being a life long business associate, and friend. Give my warmest regards to Karen, Vicky, Mary, and the rest of your super staff.

I realize that there are only so many people that will remain in your circle of friends, however, thank you for welcoming me into your inner circle. I will never forget what you have taught me. Thank you for opening up yourself without reservation or competition. You will always be a success because of our willingness to give and love.
Thank your for teaching me!!!