Dear Fellow AZR Members,

My name is Stephane Fitch. Some of you may know me as that overly cheery middle-aged dad who climbs at the gym a few nights each week or ducks into a yoga class every now and again. I’d like to ask you to do what you can to support AZ on the Rocks and the people who make it so special during this difficult time.

These are anxious times. Yes, many of you are facing serious family and financial challenges yourselves. But if you are fortunate enough to have a relatively steady job and have the financial flexibility to do so, please reach out to AZR’s owners, Kevin and Kent, and their manager, Stephanie, and ask them how you can help. I myself have decided to simply keep my membership going for a while, for example. I hope many of you will do the same. If that’s not an option for you, please consider making a smaller gesture. Ask Stephanie for suggestions. It would mean so much to the staff at AZR.

They need us and we need them. We’re all together in a once-in-a-century battle that has two fronts. First, obviously, we’re up against COVID-19, an insidious new virus that has the potential to injure or kill large numbers of us. Second, we’re taking a super-strong medicine, “social distancing,” that brings with it devastating economic side effects. We can’t get through all this if we don’t reach out to each other and help each other.

It’s heartbreaking that AZR had to close its doors. I know Kevin, Kent and Stephanie wanted to keep the gym open, knowing that it’s a source of joy for all of us and a place of employment for all the wonderful coaches, instructors, route-setters, cleaners and other staff who keep the gym humming along.

I’ve spoken with Kevin. He’s ready to keep the gym closed until he’s sure it’s safe. He says he will do as much as he can to keep the employees busy and earning some hourly wages. He’s got them cleaning the place up and getting it ready for the day when we can all come back. Unfortunately, that may be months from now. We should try to help the staff during this difficult period.

Sometimes, you don’t realize how precious a thing is until it’s not there. There’s so much more to AZR than yoga and climbing. I love the camaraderie. It’s one of those places that makes Scottsdale feel extraordinary. It’s more than just “a gym.” It’s our gym. We go because the AZR staff makes us feel like we belong. Ultimately, AZR belongs to its members. Let’s try, if possible, to take care of the place and the people that make it special.