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Jyl Camhi

Jyl is the president and co-founder of Great Play, a unique, franchised children’s gym recognized as one of the most innovative youth programs in the world by the IHRSA (International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association).  

How many children do you have?  I have two boys – ages 11 and 12

How did you come up with the idea for your company?  As someone very committed to health and fitness in my own life, I’ve always valued leading an active lifestyle.  For children, this starts with playing with children in your neighborhood, participating in games at recess, and more. To make sure all children feel confident and comfortable being active, it’s best to equip them with basic fundamental motor skills starting at a very young age. I started taking my boys to kids gyms when they were younger and started thinking of franchising one, but every time I looked I saw lots of things I wanted to change and improve. So I decided to just create my own.  We broadened the skills (most were focused just on developmental gymnastics) to include the full range of motor skills kids need, plus added a  sports skill program for older kids to ensure they grew up with the confidence and competence to participate. We filled every class with many activities and constantly change it up, so the kids are never bored. And we developed patented interactive technology to make it very engaging.  The result is that its a lot of fun for the kids and highly educational (though the kids don’t see that part!). And our customers stay with us for years, rather than weeks.

What’s your favorite parenting tip?  Celebrate their individuality! Just as they say in management training, that you should play to your staff’s strengths rather than their weaknesses, look for what makes your children special, celebrate it, and help them blossom from that base.

How do you get your family to eat healthy food and/or exercise?  First and foremost by doing it myself. It’s just the way we live.  We have healthy foods in the house.  My husband and I are active and exercising all the time.  It’s just the norm.  

How do you recharge your batteries?  A good long run on a nice sunny day.


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