Winners in this year's 2009 Club Industry Best of the Best competition have programming that towers above the rest, and it shows.

Several of this year's winning clubs generated member excitement for their Best of the Best programs by modeling them after popular TV shows and movies.

Sparrow's Michigan Athletic Club adapted the popular “High School Musical” Disney series into a children's camp, while Lindenhurst Health & Fitness Center and the Big Vanilla Athletic Club created “The Biggest Loser”-style fitness programs at their facilities.

Other winners incorporated building community and wellness into their winning programs. (Read all their stories in detail on the next several pages.)

The 2009 Best of the Best winners are: Sparrow's Michigan Athletic Club, East Lansing, MI, for the Best Children's Program; The Big Vanilla Athletic Club, Arnold, MD, for Best Nonmember Program; Lindenhurst Health & Fitness Center of Lake Forest Hospital, Lindenhurst, IL, for Best Group Training Program; Akron General Lifestyles, Akron, OH, for Best New Member Integration Program; the Atlantic Club, Manasquan, NJ, for Best Community-Based Program; and Chesapeake Energy Corp., Oklahoma City, for Best Behavior Modification Program.

This year, we added one new competition category, Best Group Training, for small group training or boot camp-style programs. We also separated the Best Nonmember Program and the Best Community-Based Program awards into two categories.

All of the Best of the Best entries were rated by a panel of judges who were chosen for their expertise in certain categories. To determine the winners, judges looked at the program's innovation, goal-setting and attainment criteria, budgeting, member or nonmember participation, marketing, program effectiveness, and the club's follow-up efforts. The judges also looked to see that programs were unique to these facilities, rather than an adaptation of a pre-packaged program.

The editors of Club Industry would like to congratulate this year's winners as well as all of the facilities that entered the competition. We also would like to thank this year's judges who took time from their busy schedules to evaluate the entries.

The judges were: Kelli Calabrese, owner, Calabrese Consulting; Woody Cox, vice president, PRO Sports Club; Brent Darden, partner and general manager, Telos Fitness Center; Karl Droppers, president, MVP Sports Clubs; Geoff Dyer, founder, Lifestyle Family Fitness; Bob Esquerre, CEO, Esquerre Fitness Group Inc.; Amanda Harris, vice president of fitness and wellness services, ACAC Fitness & Wellness Centers; Gale Landers, CEO, Fitness Formula; Bill McBride, COO, Club One; Carol Nalevanko, president, DMB Sports Club; Faith Pulis, president/CEO, Camp Thoreau Inc.; Roger Ralph, principal, Hockessin Athletic Club; Doug Ribley, vice president of health and wellness, Akron General Medical Center; and Karen Woodard-Chavez, president, Premium Performance Training.

Best Behavior Modification Program

Best Children’s Program

Best Community-based Program

Best Group Training

Best New Member Integration Program

Best Nonmember Program