We were turned down by 4 banks before we received the YES that allowed us to open Camp Rhino in Boise. The reasons they gave were anything from “it’s too high of risk” (agreed!) to “no one is going to want to do this type of workout” (solidly disagreed). Ultimately, they didn’t believe we could do it. All they knew was the risk. They knew it was pricey. They knew that most new businesses fail and 80% of gyms fail in the first 3-5 years.
What they didn’t know was the HEART and PASSION behind the team of people that have made Camp Rhino what it is! They didn’t know that Rhino was a dream born from Julie Johnston, a human with a heart of gold and who taught her Rhinos to never give up. They didn’t know that Rhino in Vegas had saved my life and that that would fuel myself, my parents and my husband in building this business here in Boise. They didn’t know my parents would go all in – giving every penny they had saved in retirement to the cause – that they would even sell a boat & a parcel of land or that my husband would sell his beloved Jeep, just to make the dream come true! They didn’t know that we would cry, struggle and bleed to keep the business alive, no matter how hard things would get or of the conversations where the outcome was decided: “If the business goes down, we will go down with it”. They had no idea we would put so much work in daily to keep it alive. They probably thought we would buckle when money was tight or when business was slow or when something like COVID hit. They probably thought we wouldn’t have the stamina to last through the insanely stressful path business owners and teams fight day in and day out, but they were wrong.
Beyond this, they didn’t know of Brian Whaley, who would commit himself to the creation of this Rhino family and culture. That he would work for a YEAR before we even opened, running events around the valley. They didn’t know he would leave his other jobs and learn every member’s name, know their dreams, their families, and their dog’s names. They didn’t know about Keeley – who would treat it like a full-time job, even back in the day when she only worked for us one hour a week. They didn’t know about the Angie’s and the Sarah’s and the Deanna’s - who literally cried when making the decisions to leave because they knew they would miss the Rhino family so much! The BVG’s and the Loren’s and the Tony’s, who made huge impacts, even in their short times with us, and the many other wonderful team members who opened and grew this family from the start. They didn’t know that Melissa would leave her dependable full-time job to lead our growing coaching team, or that a wildly passionate Cassie would show up, divinely timed, right when the gym needed her most. They didn’t know about Chris, who’s biggest problem is that he is so passionate that he coaches too much! They didn’t know the Jake’s and Amanda’s and Ashley’s who would work two jobs to keep coaching, the Blake’s and Jack’s who would practically grow up in our walls or the Coco’s that would love our members so deeply. They didn’t know that a Paige would join the team and lift up her Rhino family so much that she wouldn’t take pay back on receipts for birthday gifts she gives of her own huge heart to our new Caldwell Rhinos!
And this is just SOME of the huge team of Rhino coaches and desk attendants who have built and continue to uphold this culture. But here’s what those banks ALSO didn’t know!
That a Marc and Ranae and little Aspen (who was the first Rhino baby when she was a newborn) would STILL be coming to the gym 6 years later when little Aspen was finally able to join the Rhino Kids classes! They didn’t know that founders Dan and Joan and Jodi and Patti would all STILL be attending 6 years later!
And they didn’t know that so many supportive and committed Rhinos would stick by us throughout COVID, would attend their workouts online during lockdowns and would endure all the re-opening procedures and restrictions to rejoin their Rhino family in person again! They probably thought those Rhinos would slow down or be stopped when things got rough like that – but they were wrong! They had no idea how our Rhinos would support and love and welcome each other, through some of the most exciting and/or tragic events in each other’s lives. That they would build friendships – they would find roommates and travel buddies and lifelong besties in this building.
I’m certain they thought we wouldn’t still be here now, but due to all the people and culture mentioned and not mentioned above – They. Were. Wrong. And thank goodness for that. Here, on this 6-year anniversary of the Camp Rhino family (now in Boise and Caldwell), I extend my deepest appreciation to ALL the humans over the years who have made this gym what it is. There are so many. I hope we have impacted your lives as much as you have impacted ours.