Building Confidence with Heart – Wallers’ Gym Jam Academy
There is a unique kind of joy on a person’s face when they talk about something they love… it might be a twinkle in their eye, or the curl of their lip, but the expressions and emotions they exude clearly let you know they are joyful. This is the look and feeling I experienced when I sat down with local business owner, Olympian, heart surgery champion and father, Chris Waller. Chris, along with his wife Cindy, their daughter Alex and a staff of exceptional young people keep their athletes happy, healthy and focused on their goals with their holistic approach to gymnastics at Wallers’ Gym Jam Academy.
“The theme of our gym—Building the Hearts of Champions—was bore out of my very own heart issues. I was born with a congenital heart defect, which I had the first of two surgeries to correct it at 15. I went on to train and compete in the 1992 Olympic Games held in Barcelona. The second and final surgery was done in 2005,” said Chris.
Born out of Chris’s battle with heart disease, the Gym Jam Foundation (their non-profit) came to fruition. And for 13 years, Chris & Cindy have been organizing events like Chris Waller’s Heart of a Champion Competition in order to raise money to offset costs for their students as well as support another non-profit close to their heart, Camp del Corazon. You can find more details at http://heartofachampioninvitational.com.
“Winning is not about always getting medals, it’s about building confidence and consistency in your athleticism,” says Chris. If you can live five out of seven days as a champion, they you’re a champion in our book.
“And if something doesn’t work out at competition, as long as you put in the work leading up to it, we teach the kids that the loss can be more accepting. Things just didn’t work out that day, and you go right back to working hard for the next opportunity,” adds Cindy.
It was just eight years ago that Chris received an opportunity to visit Camp del Corazon. Camp del Corazon is a non-profit, providing a free-of-charge summer camp for children with heart disease. It provides a week for children to feel like normal kids at summer camp! When the Waller’s witnessed the children at Camp del Corazon, Chris and Cindy knew that they wanted to help fund the camp. You can learn more at https://www.campdelcorazon.org/portal/.
For more information on the fun, challenging and confidence building programs available at Wallers’ Gym Jam, please visit http://wallersgymjam.com. You can also reach them at 661-251-3390.
photos by Joie de Vivre photographie
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