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University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point Interns visit London & Ireland

Posted By Chris Andrews, Monday, October 8, 2018
Originally in NWI's International Wellness Connection blog on Friday, September 29, 2017
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In November 2016, I received an email from Sallie Scovill, PhD, Associate Professor, UW – Stevens Point asking if I could host 13 students, as she had received confirmation that she had enough students to make a trip to London viable.

UWSP students visiting LondonI was excited. Why? I had previously hosted 12 UWSP Interns in 2015 and the experience of sharing my career journey in Wellness in the USA and in the UK at that time encouraged me to agree to this new request.

I am a 1993 graduate from UWSP in Health Promotion – Wellness, and I completed my Internship in the UK. This provided me with the opportunity to start my own business. In 2000, Personal Touch Fitness was launched and 17 years on, the business continues to offer various corporations Health & Wellbeing programmes to suit their business plans. So when asked to host and share my experiences again, I grabbed the opportunity.

I feel it is important to share and highlight accomplishments of meeting goals, and the highs and lows of running a successful business with the future practitioners of our profession. On June 6, 2017, thirteen Interns came to one of Personal Touch Fitness’ clients in London to observe, learn, participate, and engage with the business, all the while being encouraged to ask questions.

UWSP students visit Personal Touch Fitness in London, 2016

Personal Touch Fitness hosted the interns from 11am – 2:15 pm, and started with the group being split into two smaller groups. Group one, led by myself, was given a tour of the fitness centre, which included information about all services provided, operations, posters, marketing, subcontractors, employees, equipment, classes, etc... There were many questions, and it really highlighted to students how everything needs to work well operationally to be a success.

What can go wrong? How do you manage it? How do you learn? These were some of the questions students asked.

Group 2 was hosted by our Fitness Manager, Martina, and these students experienced the Health Assessment that is provided to fitness centre members.
After 30 minutes, the groups switched.

Afterwards, we made our way to a large meeting room on the top floor of the site. The students were pleased with the view into London City with Canary Wharf in the distance. It was time to have a healthy working lunch. This was a selection of freshly made sandwiches, wraps, fresh fruit, and water. I talked about the background to Personal Touch Fitness from 2000 – 2017. My goal was to give the students an understanding of how crucial it is for a business to always innovate, grow, learn, and offer different services whilst listening to clients’ needs. Each of these is necessary to tailor services, and to deliver what you set out to do.

Martina also shared her experiences of being an employee of Personal Touch Fitness, and how she was developing her skills of presenting by being involved in hosting the group. She admitted that she needed to work on this, and the students loved the honesty. Seeing first-hand that we are always learning helped them to realize that they too will need to become life-long learners to excel professionally. That is wellness.

UWSP students learn from Chris Andrews in London

To end the time with the students, I wanted to close with a Q & A session. I had asked Sallie to have each student write down a question, then send them all to me prior to June. Martina and I answered each question. This process worked really well, as the students found it extremely interesting.

An example of questions:

  • What was the biggest mistake you have made within the field of health promotion and wellness?
  • What are some things you do that have been successful to inspire and motivate employees to want to start a healthier lifestyle at your clients' companies?
  • What is reflexology, and how does it relate to lowering your stress along with exercise?
  • What techniques do you use to convince large companies to get on board with your programs?
  • Do employers have the American 9-5 work hours, or do they let employees decide what hours they want to work?
  • How do you get the most current information, to stay up to date with trends and information?

Was it a great experience for the students? Yes, let me share what one student sent me:

Dear Chris,

 It was wonderful meeting you today. I am so grateful that you took the time out of your day to share your personal journey of building a business such as Personal Touch Fitness with UWSP Health Promotion Students like myself. It was such an amazing opportunity to learn about Personal Touch Fitness and all the hard work that was put into the company to create such a unique business.

 I think I speak for all the UWSP students when I say you are truly inspiring, and I could just feel your passion for the business and what it promotes when you speak. It is encouraging for us as students to hear about someone who has walked in our shoes and has been able to create something so beautiful from an immense amount of hard work and dedication. Thank you for Martina's information, I hope our paths cross again very soon. I've attached our photo together [see photo below] in this email as well. Thank you so much for everything.

Best wishes, Mallory Price

UWSP student Mallory Price visiting Personal Touch Fitness in London, 2016Health & Wellbeing is about sharing, learning, awareness, mindfulness, and always working towards making small adjustments to one's wellbeing for a healthier life. What are you doing to make a difference?

Good luck to all students around the world to reach out and learn, grow and achieve. You are the next generation to push wellness forward. Cultivate a culture that flourishes.

Chris Andrews

Chris is the MD of Personal Touch Fitness (PTF) for 17 years in the UK. Chris prides herself in her passion, enthusiasm and expertise in providing fitness services in the corporate environment which is extended through the company values, ethos and to the employees. With almost 23 years of experience, many leading PTF, she has learnt what works and what doesn’t. Her energy drives her tireless quest to improve her clients’ health and fitness. Chris has given PTF clients the confidence to harness her skills to lead Facilities and Service Provider workshops as well as formulate and promote client Wellbeing Strategies.

Tags:  Interns  Ireland  London  Stevens Point  University of Wisconsin Stevens Point  UWSP 

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