“I’ve known Miss Linda for 20+ years; she watched me since I was a baby and now watches my kids! They get so excited to go to the gym and play with Miss Linda. There is never a day they leave without huge smiles on their faces. There is no gym in the area I’d ever consider joining solely because of Linda and the amazing person that she is.”
- Kelsie Sonnenberg
The One and Only Miss Linda
Linda Bornholdt – The Heart and Soul of Fitness Incentive
How many moms, dads, and kids have passed through the nursery door over the years? Hundreds? Thousands? Too many to know or count. And who was (and is) waiting behind that door to welcome them and their children into that bright, happy room? Miss Linda.
Linda Bornholdt has provided Fitness Incentive parents — members and staff — with childcare services for 27 years. To think of her is to (of course) think “love, trust.” But it is also proper to think of “stability, continuity.” This is because, in a very real way, without the nursery and Miss Linda’s stewardship over the years, Fitness Incentive would be a very different place. However you might describe the vibe at FI (among others, terms like “family” and “community” come readily to mind), it’s worth remembering that without the nursery and Miss Linda, that vibe would be very different. Just ask any FI parent, whether member or staff. Where would or could they go and count on the warm, safe, nurturing professionalism of Miss Linda? How challenging would it be for member-moms and dads to stay in shape in the gym they love, confident and assured that their kids were in such capable hands? How much more difficult would it be for staff-parents to do their jobs in an anxiety- and distraction-free environment were it not for the love, trust, and stability they know they can count on?
Well, we did ask members and staff parents to share their thoughts and experiences in the FI Nursery. Some of these now parents were once “Miss Linda babies, toddlers, and kids” and now have their own babies, toddlers, and kids under her care, benefitting as they did from Miss Linda’s nurturing wisdom and kindness.
“Miss Linda watches my boys every Monday through Friday. Besides being such a genuine person, she is an excellent caregiver. When I had my first son, I was hesitant to return to the gym because I didn’t know how I would feel about someone else watching my baby. But Linda made me feel so secure right away, the second I brought in my son Hunter. If you’re a mother, you know how uneasy you can be with leaving your baby with someone you’ve never met before. But since that day, I got such a good vibe — that my son would be safe and sound — that I brought my second son Cayden to the nursery at six weeks.
Hunter is so excited every time we go and see his friends and Miss Linda in the nursery. Miss Linda is the heart and soul of Fitness Incentive, and I am so grateful I have her to watch my boys while I have my ‘mommy time.'”
— Dana Moran
“As amazing as the nursery is on its own, it truly is Miss Linda who gives the place that extra touch. When I had my first daughter in 2019, I realized in hindsight that I had terrible postpartum anxiety. I am a stay-at-home mom and had never left my daughter alone with anyone — not even family — because I couldn’t bear to be apart from her. Around ten months postpartum, my mental health started to decline because of my obsessiveness over my daughter. My husband suggested maybe a gym membership to work off my anxiety and to have a little space from our daughter while she is still right there in the same building. I was open to this idea but still incredibly nervous about leaving my daughter with anyone.
When I met Miss Linda, my fears instantly eased. Linda immediately realized how stressed and uncomfortable I was and took the time to get to know my daughter Anna and talk me through my fears. She never once made me feel crazy or annoying (which is how I often felt.) I thought I would never be okay leaving Anna, but Miss Linda is the baby-whisperer AND the mommy-whisperer! Little by little, I left Anna longer and longer, always with updates on how she did afterward. My Anna was always so happy; she only cried when we had to leave and go home!
Three years later, I gave birth to my second daughter, and thankfully, I didn’t suffer from the same postpartum issues. Now both of my children absolutely love playing at the nursery, most of all with Miss Linda. She is so engaging with them, making up all kinds of games and coloring activities for my older child and even playing on the floor with the baby. You have to meet Miss Linda to truly understand how amazing she is. Your children couldn’t possibly be in better hands, and I am so grateful for her.”
— Lauren Alexander
“Miss Linda truly is the best. From my first interaction with Miss Linda, she immediately made me feel calm and reassured that my kids would be in good hands. She’s patient, kind, and intuitive with my children’s needs. She shows true compassion towards the kids and genuinely cares about their wellbeing. The gym is a great place to relieve physical stress, but there’s a larger mental load that is relieved when you know your children are well cared for. It’s fulfilling to model a healthy lifestyle for my children; this wouldn’t be so easy without the incredible nursery at Fitness Incentive.
We love Fitness Incentive and are proud to be a part of the community that feels more like a family!”
— Melanie Guadagno
“The nursery is a great place for the kids to make their own friendships, have some play time, and allow me to take a little time for myself. As a single mom of three, it’s hard. I love that I can squeeze in a workout without taking time away from my kids because they are there with me.
Linda is the best. I love her. My boys love her. She is by far one of the kindest, most genuine, and friendliest people I know. She knows my family so well. My older boys, who are now 14 and 11, spent time with her there, and now my little one, who is two, comes with me. Linda makes sure everyone feels comfortable and safe. She gets to know the kids so well and makes sure they have a great time because she always discovers their interests. Linda becomes like family to anyone who knows her. I know my kids were and are always in the best of hands with her.”
— Courtney O’Malley
“Linda has been an amazing person in all my kids’ lives! They have the best memories of their time at Fitness Incentive with her. They love to come back and visit her whenever they have a chance. She is such a loving person and takes special care of all the kids that come and stay with her in the nursery. We love her and could never thank her enough for all the wonderful memories she made for our kids during their time at Fitness Incentive. We love you, Miss Linda!!!!
— The Wallace Family
“Exposure to the nursery over the years has been a privilege. I began there as a baby myself and have lots of memories that have followed me into adulthood. Now I’m seeing my own kids experience it for themselves, and it is awesome.
There are no other gyms nearby that I’d trust with my kids. They love the atmosphere, the toys, and Linda, whereas I love the watchful eye they are under, the cleanliness, the huge smiles on their faces when they leave, and the friendships they are creating.
Miss Linda is truly a blessing. The amount of care and love she shows the kids is unmatched. She makes moms and dads feel so comfortable dropping their kids off, and while they are working out, they know that the kids are happy, safe and having fun in her care. She makes an effort to learn every kid’s name and build relationships with parents that make her feel like she’s your family. I’ve known Miss Linda for 20+ years; she watched me since I was a baby and now watches my kids! They get so excited to go to the gym and play with Miss Linda. There is never a day they leave without huge smiles on their faces. There is no gym in the area I’d ever consider joining solely because of Linda and the amazing person that she is.
— Kelsie Sonnenberg
I started coming to Fitness Incentive on Main Street with my mom when I was around 7 or 8. I have three younger brothers, and we all loved coming to the gym. I always wanted to help take care of and play with all the other kids. Linda used to tell me, “one day you are going to work here and take care of all the babies!” so when I turned 16, I begged my mom to try and get me a job at Fitness Incentive, and that is exactly what happened. Linda has been my babysitter and my manager, but most importantly, I now trust Linda with my two daughters every single day. Linda truly treats every kid as if they are her own and makes coming to the gym for exercise or work so easy; my girls beg to come! Although my youngest daughter is still not fully talking, she says “Linda” as clear as day! My oldest daughter and Ms. Linda have funny nicknames and inside jokes with each other. It is so special to watch the bonds grow, just as mine did over the last 25 years.
— Kristen Napolitano
About The Author
- Paul Smith
Paul Smith manages member communications and graphic design for Fitness Incentive and Incentives Spa. He is a frequent contributor to Fit to Print.