April 5, 2017 | Organizational Highlights
Organization Highlight: Phoenix Multisport
Founded in 1997, Phoenix Multisport evolved out of the personal experience of founder Scott Strode, an accomplished triathlete, mountain climber, ice-climber, outdoorsman, and recovering alcoholic.
Phoenix Multisport is an active recovery community that provides fitness programming to help foster the development of emotional strength to maintain sobriety through pursuits such as rock climbing, hiking, running, strength training, CrossFit, yoga, road/mountain biking, socials and other activities. Community programs are free to anyone with at least 48 hours of sobriety. By offering programs at no cost, participants are able to access a safe and supportive community that fosters sobriety, regardless of their financial circumstances.
In addition, all programming is facilitated by instructors who are in recovery themselves, and have personal experience in maintaining sobriety and building a new life in recovery.
Mission: to foster a supportive, physically active community for individuals who are recovering from a substance use disorder and those who choose to live sober.
“We refuse to accept that substance use disorders have to be “chronic relapsing” conditions. We believe that when people get what they need when they need it, we can dramatically change the course of the illness. Isolation and social disconnect are the petri dish within which addiction thrives and where lives are destroyed, but when people feel valued and find purpose in relationship with others, they are able to thrive and live lives they didn’t imagine possible.” – Jacquelyn Hillios, Deputy Executive Director at Phoenix Multisport
To date, Phoenix has served over 20,000 individuals through six chapters across four states (CA, CO, MA & ID).
The organization continues to expand, implementing a number of different models across New England that include partnering with the Middlesex Sheriff department to integrate Phoenix Multisport programs into the criminal justice system and programming that combines their traditional fitness models with one on one recovery coaching, workforce development, targeted programming for high risk populations, gym access, and community engagement strategies to bring other providers and organizations into our space as a way to expand access to quality services.
“Phoenix doesn’t rely on interventions with a beginning and an end, instead we focus on building communities that endure and grow beyond Phoenix’s formal programming. As Phoenix members build friendships with others, they are exposed to diverse recovery pathways and have access to a wealth of knowledge about resources and providers that can help them navigate their recovery journey.” – Jacquelyn Hillios
To support programming and services, Phoenix relies on a diverse funding strategy that combines grants, individual donations and two revenue generating initiatives. Often working within treatment, corrections, schools and other programs to provide health and wellness programming, the organization helps to bridge participants from formal services to Phoenix’s sober active community where they can access free recovery support indefinitely.
“When you step back and look at the continuum of care, access to services and supports after someone has gotten sober or left treatment is not just limited, for many communities, it is non-existent. There is tremendous opportunity to make a significant impact by focusing on recovery support.” - Jacquelyn Hillios
More recently Phoenix Multisport formalized a workforce development program where Phoenix provides training, mentoring and financial support for members to become certified personal trainers, fitness instructors, climbing guides and yoga instructors. The organization has launched a revenue generating gym model called Per Ignem CrossFit, which allows for the workforce development participants to be trained and then deployed into the gym to work directly with paying gym members.
The merger of the general community with the Phoenix community provides a unique & powerful opportunity to build awareness & reduce stigma around substance use disorders & recovery.
“Pairing this community building approach with physical activity just makes sense. Not only does physical activity promote health, it provides a way for people to build their self-confidence and gain the physical and emotional strength they need to recover. Whether it is on the climbing wall, in the gym or on the trail, members build skills and bonds that prepare them to face life’s challenges together.” – Jacquelyn Hillios