Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Stalked at Stroller Strides

Some of you may remember I joined Stroller Strides as part of my New Year's resolution to get back in shape. I LOVED the class from the start and immediately signed up for a monthly pass which allowed me to take an unlimited amount of classes. I’ve found the class has made me feel a million times better physically and emotionally, it’s a great place to connect with other moms, and they contribute so much back to the community. (Find out more at http://www.strollerstrides.com/)

Imagine my shock and anger when I heard that during one of the classes, park patrol approached one of the instructors (in front of the moms and their children) and cited the instructor and threatened to have her arrested if she continued the class. Then, along with some nasty words, the park patrol proceeded to call TWO more cruisers for backup! Geez I didn't know a bunch of moms with strollers could pose such a threat. As a result, our classes were cancelled until our local stroller strides franchise owner and instructor, Zoe, could work things out with the city.

Well – the moms continued to meet in the park on their own without the instructors because Stroller Strides had become such a wonderful source of support, friendship, and a healthy part of their daily routines to get themselves energized and their children out into the fresh air. Unfortunately, the moms found themselves being watched. Park patrol sat in their cars with binoculars, took photographs, and noted the moms’ cars and license plates. The franchise owner was sent citations for continuing to operate the class, saying that even if the instructors weren’t there, that if it there was a time and place posted online then it was considered a class. (Even though we all have an email saying classes are cancelled and will be receiving refunds for the cancelled week!) It was maddening to hear. These moms live in this community, pay their taxes, and use a public trail and park but are being watched! Will nannies be charged for taking children to the park too? How about personal trainers that take their clients outside?

I could go on and on about what’s going on…but you can read more here as the story has been picked up by our local paper: http://www.dailypilot.com/articles/2009/02/17/business/dpt-strollerstrides021309.txt Basically the city wants to take over the classes which would make it more of a hassle to register and sign up for, and probably a completely different class, or they want to charge a ridiculous amount to a small business owner that already pays her taxes.

Zoe has since met with the city and they will hopefully come to an agreement in the next few weeks, but nothing has been set in stone yet, so I’m gonna write my letter to the city now and cross my fingers! Save Stroller Strides!!!