Flip for Function, which provides Occupational Therapy [OT] services and therapeutic gymnastics for children of all abilities, has partnered with Magnitude 10 Gymnastics in Hermitage to open a new location. Magnitude 10 Gymnastics is located at 3351 Stoners Bend Dr, Hermitage, TN 37076.
The company currently has two previous partnerships with Let it Shine in the Franklin/Brentwood area and Nashville Gymnastics Training Center out in the west Nashville area.
Chastity Hagerty is making major moves to provide big changes and new opportunities in the community. She tells us a little about how Flip for Function came to be, her motivation and plans for the future.
Q: Can you tell us about Flip for Function and how it came into being?
A: Of course! Flip for Function provides Occupational Therapy [OT] services and therapeutic gymnastics for children of all abilities. We use gymnastics in our OT services and use our OT knowledge to inform our recreational gymnastics sessions. I actually started coaching gymnastics when I was 15 – as soon as I was old enough to work, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I continued to coach through high school, college and even post college, when I needed a break from my 9-5 office job. I ha[ve] a journalism and marketing degree but it felt like there was more I should be doing. I started doing private lessons with a little girl with Down Syndrome and her mom asked if I had ever considered pursuing Occupational Therapy. At the time I was unsure of what it was, but she mentioned the way I was able to connect with her daughter and set up her sessions through a holistic lens was similar to the way occupational therapists view and work with their clients. I did some research and decided to go back to school for Occupational Therapy.
I had always wanted to be in a profession that served the community to the best of my abilities and this seemed like the perfect fit. After I told this little girl’s mom that I was going that route, she mentioned the need for recreationally based classes in the community specifically for children with special needs and that planted the seed for Flip for Function. I was accepted into Belmont University’s Occupational Therapy program, and from my very first day, I was soaking up all the knowledge with anticipation to launch Flip for Function. During my last semester, I had the opportunity to create and implement a pilot adaptive gymnastics program, partnering with an Occupational Therapy clinic and the gym I was working at. The program involved training current gymnastics staff on inclusion practices as well as a temporary program devoted solely to children with special needs. That helped to solidify the foundation of what is now Flip for Function.
Q: How did your partnership with Magnitude 10 come about and what does it mean for Flip for Function?
A: That is a funny story! During my undergrad[ate] studies, I was living in Texas and planned to move to Nashville to pursue music journalism after I graduated. I reached out to Magnitude 10 in 2008, while I was still living in Texas, to inquire about working as a part time gymnastics coach for when I moved to Nashville. I ended up on the phone with them for 2 hours because we connected so quickly and easily. They told me that when I got to town, I’d have a job waiting for me. Plans ended up changing and I moved to California instead but continued to keep in contact with Magnitude 10 through the years. Needless to say, when I finally moved to Nashville and launched Flip for Function, they were one of my first calls! I love the values Magnitude 10 stands for and this gives us the opportunity to expand our offerings into more communities, allowing more families to benefit from our services.
Q: Are the classes one-on-one or are there group class options?
A: Currently, all our offerings are one on one but we will be slowly rolling out different group options VERY SOON!
Q: What age ranges do you mostly see in your programs?
A: Depending on the program, we have the ability to see children of all ages from infants up to 18 years. We offer Occupational Therapy services and recreationally based therapeutic gymnastics – within our OT program, we see all ages! For our recreationally based program, the age depends on whether we are doing 1:1 sessions or if it is a group offering, which are split up by various age groups.
Q: What qualities do you look for when hiring coaches and therapists?
A: This is a great question and a topic I’m super passionate about! Anyone who talks to me knows how much I appreciate our staff! I have actually worked in management roles for over 10 years before starting Flip for Function and employee training and retention has always been a topic I love! First, I look for people who are passionate and invested in what we do at Flip for Function. I want people who hear about us and their heart lights up. I get emails from people who say “I work somewhere else, but I love what you’re doing and would love to be a part of it, even if it’s just one day a week or as needed or as a volunteer!” I guess you could say, I look for people who have their heart in what we are doing, because that’s not something you can teach.
I also look for people who are wonderful collaborators and want to be a part of something bigger than themselves – Flip for Function is a place where all the staff talk about their various sessions together and reach out to each other for tips and strategies and new drills. It is not a place where people get wrapped up in what is “their job” and “not their job.” Rather, everyone is invested in all our clients and the company and the mission – and they are all willing to do what is in the best interest for everyone. Whether it’s working on building out a curriculum, seeing clients, working tables at resource fairs, subbing for others when they are out, brainstorming efficient systems for the business – I look for employees who are true team players.
With that said, while I look for a handful of foundational characteristics, I also appreciate having a well-rounded staff, full of people with different strengths that help to balance out the dynamic. I’m also a firm believer in promoting from within the company – so everyone I hire has qualities that will serve them well in a leadership position one day!
Q: Can you tell us a little bit more on how people can sign up to volunteer?
A: Yes! To volunteer, people can email us at [email protected]. We also have a link on our website under the tab, Get Involved.
Q: What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in regards to the gym?
A: I feel like as a business owner, you’re faced with challenges constantly – it’s like one of my favorite songs says, once you climb one mountain, there’s another ahead. It’s like constant pivoting, adjusting and learning. I think for me personally, one of the biggest challenges has been changing my mindset in regards to perfectionism – recognizing that when it comes to business, sometimes you just have to jump all in, even when you don’t have all the details figured out. That’s been a constant theme since day 1 – even now as we expand into other locations and are working to expand programming. I typically like having every detail figured out first, but that can sometimes lead to overwhelm[ing] and inaction. Sometimes you just have to jump, trust yourself, and adjust along the way – and it’s been working out so far.
Q: What is your hope for the kids that participate in your programs? What is your hope for the coaches and therapists that lead them?
A: My hope for the kids in our program is for them to feel a sense of inclusion, community and success. From day one we focus on our relationship with our clients, building trust and creating a space where they feel safe to be themselves and explore. We hope to create an environment where they learn in a way tailored for them and they experience success, while recognizing their potential and what their body needs from a sensory standpoint. We aren’t just teaching gymnastics skills, we teach life skills and hopefully a desire and love for fitness and exercise. Some of my favorite messages from our clients are about how their child started doing handstands at home because it’s something we work on in class and they now independently use it as a regulation strategy – without being prompted by an adult. Or the parent who is so excited his child does rolls at the park now, playing like a “regular kid” as he phrased it. My hope for all kids I work with, even prior to Flip for Function, is that they leave their sessions with us feeling better than when they first walked in – whether they learned a new skill, or felt listened to, or understood – I want them to walk out those doors feeling stronger, happier, understood, more self confident – whatever it was they were needing that day – I hope they receive it during their session.
For the coaches and therapists, I hope they always recognize how impactful the work they do is and they continue to lead from their heart in every session. I hope they learn and grow alongside their clients, and always celebrate every achievement with them. I love when I’m watching them lead sessions and they look just as excited as the child they are working with – I hear giggles and happy squeals, and the coach is right beside them clapping and smiling and giggling too!
Q: I know you’ve just announced your partnership with Magnitude 10, but are there any other new locations or partnerships in the works you can clue us in on?
A: We have multiple partnerships in the works currently – the actual paperwork isn’t in hand so I don’t want to give too much away – but we have approximately 4 other partnerships we are working to solidify currently. If all goes as planned, 2 will be in Williamson County, 1 in Davidson County and 1 in Sumner County.
Q: What is your favorite memory you have since opening the gym?
A: Oh my goodness – picking one favorite of anything is always hard – especially with something as close to me as Flip for Function. My first favorite memory was the first time a client came in excited that their child had rode their scooter for the first time over the weekend. This child had sensory challenges and was hesitant for her feet to leave the ground or fall backwards – which also led to her being hesitant to try new things. When they came in for the session and I was told that not only did she ride it, but she loved it – I was floored – and it reminded me of why we do what we do. As a whole, those are my favorite moments: the texts, the emails, the excitement when they walk in the door – sharing all the positive ways Flip for Function has impacted their child and their quality of life and even how it has impacted the parents. It can be the 500th text like that, and it will never get old – I cry every single time.