Enjoying the challenge
February 29, 2012
Christalin Thompson is a busy woman.
She raises three children, 5-year-old Riley, 2-year-old Carson and 5-month-old Addison, works three 12-hour shifts a week as a concierge at The Memorial Hospital in Craig, and teaches Zumba classes three days a week from Holistic Health & Fitness.
"I've always been busy," the 25-year-old Craig resident said. "Even when I was in high school, I was in cheerleading and student council and I had a job."
As an adult, Thompson's active lifestyle has helped her discover new passions. This was the case in 2007, when she was living in Oceanside, Calif., raising Riley, who was 10 months old.
Looking for a fun way to stay in shape, Thompson, the daughter of Craig residents Sid and Denise Arola, started taking Zumba classes. She was drawn to the Latin dance-inspired fitness program because of its energy, she said.
"The party atmosphere," Thompson said about why Zumba appeals to her. "You don't feel like you're working out, you feel like you're having fun."
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Thompson returned to Craig in 2008 and quickly noticed Zumba classes weren't offered in her hometown. She decided that had to change.
"When I moved home, (Craig) had nothing," she said. "So I decided to become an instructor."
After getting her instructor's certification in Denver, Thompson looked at opening a studio in Craig. In May 2009, she opened Zumba Fitness on Yampa Avenue.
While she was working to get her studio off the ground, Thompson gave birth to her second child, Carson. While Thompson was on maternity leave, Craig resident Becky Smith filled in as instructor.
"Everybody liked her and it worked out really well," Thompson said.
A struggling economy forced Thompson to close her studio in July 2010. Rather than give up teaching Zumba in Craig, she and Smith started offering Zumba classes at fitness centers in town. The duo started at Trapper Fitness for the first year before settling into their current home at Holistic, 420 Breeze St. In October 2011, a third partner, Craig resident Kara Holden, joined the group.
Thompson said working with partners has its advantages, especially when it comes to maintaining her schedule.
"We have it pretty balanced out," she said. "We know who's doing it which days, and it works out well."
While being a mother and instructing Zumba both offer their share of challenges, Thompson in late 2010 found herself wanting more adult interaction.
"I love being home with the kids, but there's not enough going on for me," Thompson said, recalling her motivation for getting back in the professional world. "I needed adult conversation."
Thompson's mother, controller at TMH, told her the hospital was looking for a concierge, or front desk staffer. Thompson applied and was offered the job. A year later, she couldn't be happier she accepted the position.
"There is nothing I don't like about my job," Thompson said. "I have an awesome boss and awesome employees around me."
Her favorite aspect of the job is the patient interaction, where she "guides them where they need to go," she said.
Aside from finding fulfillment in her job, Thompson, who gave birth to her third child in September 2011, said working at TMH has altered her future aspirations.
"Depending on how Zumba takes off, when all my kids are in school I do plan on going to nursing school," she said. "I was actually working towards going to dental hygiene school, and once I did start working here I realized that this is more my kind of flow."
In her personal life, Thompson simply plans to "raise my kids," she said. Coupled with her professional aspirations, it doesn't look like her life will slow down anytime soon. She wouldn't have it any other way.
"It's a challenge at times," she said, "but I enjoy it."