What was a vision by Keith and Kathy Rawlings a decade ago, has evolved into a full-service, total health and wellness facility serving community members in Harford County. The Arena Club is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year, and the Rawlings couldn't be prouder.
"Our goal was to provide a full service wellness center that would focus on serving the total population — from kids to seniors and from athletes to those with disabilities. It's wild that 10 years later, we're there," Keith Rawlings says in a media release noting the anniversary.
The club on Route 22 next to Harford Community College opened its doors on Jan. 30, 2003. Today, the club has a staff of more than 200 and several thousand members, according to a recent newsletter the Rawlings sent to members and employees thanking them for 10 years of support.
"Over the years, The Arena Club has grown to be more than a health and wellness facility," the owners wrote. "It has become a community of staff, members and friends that encourage each other and bring positive energy to each other's lives. The social aspect and strong sense of community that has developed here is something really to behold. The variety of our programs and services brings members from all walks of life, and it is amazing to see everyone accepting and respecting everyone else for who they are. We have become the place we envisioned 10 years ago…a place that has something to offer for everyone and where everyone fits in."
In preparation for this celebration of their anniversary, the Rawlings noted they spent the last year reinvesting in the club, adding a new pool dome, replacing the turf on the indoor field, installing new acoustics in the largest group fitness studio and renovating locker rooms with new lockers and fixtures, "all while keeping our standard membership rates unchanged for the past three years."
Members, especially those who have been with the Rawlings, attribute the success of The Arena Club to its people – both the members and staff who foster the strong sense of community and encouragement that emanates throughout the building – and to their faith.
"We are so blessed to have a facility that can offer something for everyone," Keith Rawlings said. "The diversity of our members and the camaraderie that exists here is really something special."
"To our members, especially those who have been with us since the beginning, thank you for your loyalty and trust in us for your wellness," he said. "We are honored to be celebrating this milestone anniversary with you."
Though the club's official anniversary date was Jan. 30, a special event to celebrate the anniversary is planned in May, according to a club spokesperson.