Between the creation of Jam Hope Foundation, continued growth through a pandemic, and dynamic shifts throughout the company, there are a lot of things to be thankful for from 2021. A few of those things bringing big changes! With the growth of Jam Hops, big decisions needed to be made to support continuation of that growth for years to come. That is what pushed former CEO, Brenda Nolby, to change her role at Jam Hops to President and promote former Executive Director, Stacey Clayson, to be the new CEO of Jam Hops.
Brenda began her journey at Jam Hops from the very start of the company in 1997. She was working as a gymnastics coach for The Gymnastics Factory when it was sold to Diane Assimacopoulos and Chris Hemauer, who combined it with a small community program to create Jam Hops Gymnastics Factory. Then, in 2000, Brenda left her well-loved, full-time human resources job to become a co-owner of Jam Hops. Brenda said that gymnastics has been a passion of hers since she was young and knew she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do more in the Ham Lake area. She then bought the rest of the company in 2013 and has been the sole owner ever since.
Stacey got started at Jam Hops six years ago, working part-time as a customer care representative. She had a few ties to Jam Hops, one being her friend Dawn Brewster, who is our current Birthday & Kidz of Karacter Coordinator and recommended that Stacey apply at the company. Quickly Stacey became an integral part of Jam Hops, going from a stay-at-home mom, starting at Jam Hops part-time, becoming a full-time employee, then Office Manager, to Executive Director, and now CEO. She said, “I’m so lucky that I get to say I love going to work every day, there aren’t a lot of people that get that opportunity. It’s been amazing being able to grow with the company and I look forward to our continued growth together.”
Having been a part of the day-to-day activities at Jam Hops since its birth, Brenda did not make the decision to step into presidency lightly. Taking on this role means handing off the responsibility for daily functioning and decision making, but also opens up the opportunity for her to become the growth advocate for Jam Hops. Brenda knows that handing off that responsibility is a big step towards growth and is excited to promote and mentor Stacey as the new CEO of the company. Brenda said, “I’m proud that Jam Hops has strong enough leadership that I feel comfortable leaving things in their hands.”
What Are We Most Excited for in This Dynamic Shift at Jam Hops?
Having the opportunity to make these shifts within the company is a blessing in itself, but the opportunities that follow are what we’re most excited about. Stacey said she is most excited to “follow in the footsteps of what Brenda Nolby has worked so hard to create” and can’t wait “to take Jam Hops to the next level alongside the amazing staff and customers that we have!” Brenda is “looking forward to starting a new chapter,” while accelerating on the path towards her passion of “helping kids feel valued, and developing them into strong, healthy adults.” She plans to do this by focusing her time this upcoming year on developing a leadership program for youth.
What Are We Most Proud of from 2021 and What Are We Most Excited for in 2022?
2021 was a big year for Jam Hops. One of the biggest accomplishments, and the one that Stacey is most excited about, is the development of our non-profit, Jam HOPE Foundation and its first program, Alpha Athletes. Our Alpha Athletes program gives children with special needs the opportunity to experience active movement in a fun and safe environment. The program includes Alpha Movement, Alpha Dance, and Sensory Friendly Open Gym. Being able to inspire EVERY child to become a life champion was our inspiration to create the program and we are so excited to be able to provide an environment to do that.
In 2022, we are excited to see the Alpha Athletes program grow and, as Stacey said, “impact more children within our community.” Other things we are excited for are: the 25th Anniversary of Jam Hops in April, the return of competitive cheer, continued growth of our Kidz of Karacter program, our 2022 Gymnastics Spring Shows, Dance Recital, Theater Productions, and Ninja Zone Mission Ceremonies, along with many other fun events and activities!
What are Our Three Favorite Things About Jam Hops?
When we asked Brenda and Stacey what their three favorite things about Jam Hops, the answers were almost exactly the same.
What Part of Jam Hops’ Mission Do You Value Most?
My favorite part of our mission is that by teaching through example, we build self-confident, productive children who will become LIFE CHAMPIONS. One of the ways we uphold that part of our mission is through our Kidz of Karacter program, which we use to teach our students a different life skill each month. During class, we introduce the life skill, explore what it means, while also practicing and developing the skill through discussions and an activity.
- CEO; Stacey Clayson
Inspiring kids to become LIFE CHAMPIONS, of course!!
- President; Brenda Nolby
Brenda, Stacey, and the rest of the Jamily are very excited for this change and are ready to continue making a bigger and bigger impact on our community.
For anyone who’s new here, we are Jam Hops and we have been an established company for 25 years as of 2022! As we grow, the purpose of our business is to positively impact our community and families found within. We will continue to seek out ways to engage children in activities that aid in their overall development. Our tagline and main goal as a company is to “Inspire Kids to Become LIFE CHAMPIONS!” Welcome to our Jamily.