Bowling Green Backyard Bootcamp founder Allison Millet graduated from WKU with an elementary education degree. She started teaching out of college and soon after became a stay at home mom.
Millet landed her first teaching job because of a connection she had. She said, “I was in an elevator. I was wrapping up that last semester student teaching and I heard somebody talking about a job opening in Adairville, Kentucky and all I knew was: I’m getting ready to graduate and I need a job. So, I’m dating this guy, who now I’m married to, and he’s from Logan County, where Adairville is, and immediately he makes a phone call to a friend, and the friend knows the principle. And you know, I’m just this 20 something year old girl sitting there saying ‘don’t call, don’t call and say anything nice about me.’ And now I’m like, ‘absolutely call and say something nice about me.’”
Millet coined a personal slogan, “Connections, relationships, all day long.”
Not long after teaching elementary school Millet became a mom and switched to that full-time. On the side she continued to teach fitness classes, which then evolved into leading stroller work-outs, which evolved into starting her own ‘gym.’ Their home had an empty lot next to it and she started Bowling Green Backyard Bootcamp there. “An empty lot turned into quick, very, very, fast growth,” Millet said. “That was one of the first outside-of-the-box kind of fitness places, and it exploded in 2010. So we had to move out of my yard.” From there they moved to public Bowling Green parks and during the winter time into warehouses and gym spaces.
She also attributes her success as a fitness instructor to her connections at WKU. During her time on campus she got involved at the Preston Center and became a group fitness junkie.
Millet said, “I was there all the time, and they said ‘you’re here all the time, why don’t you get certified?’ That was in like 1998, and that was the best gift anybody could have ever given me, because I got my certification and I have not stopped since. So teaching is definitely in me.”
Preston was brand new and everything in it was super revolutionary. Millet said she gained the freshman 15, stepped back, realized she didn’t want that type of life, and ventured into Preston. From there she says, “I just remember soaking everything up, not even knowing this is what I wanted to do, but just like loving that person's classes, she was a great storyteller, and loving this person's class, because I always worked hard in her class because of the encouragement that she gave.” She said that by attending lots of different classes she was able to be educated by all the different instructors. Millet said, “And then I think that's what helped pave my way.”
Millet said of Bowling Green Backyard Bootcamp, “It truly has been about building relationships. And I mean, I just think that's pretty much why people keep coming back.” She said owning a business is all about relating, caring, and connecting.
Millet said that one of the biggest ways she learned that is that she wasn’t having to look for new clients for every 6-week session of classes, it was the same people who kept coming back. “There’s no commitment, no contract, and they just keep coming back. They all love each other,” Millet said. “And I think it’s because they know that they have somebody that truly cares about them. And I’m just as real as I can be.”
Learning about connections and relating to others is something Millet said she didn’t learn at WKU or at all growing up. She’s used this business-owning experience to help parent her kids. “I’ve got a very hard working kid, sure he makes the grades, sure he wants to keep a scholarship,” Millet said. “It's the connections. Don’t just go to your class and listen to your professor, connect with that person.”
Millet also knows what it's like to go to college and not know what you want to do. She picked something to major in, and then didn’t end up sticking with it. It was the experiences and connections on campus that taught her the most, not the one thing she became labeled with.
“Everybody was always like, ‘what are you going to do?’ ‘What are you going to be?’ ‘What are you going to do?’ And when it came time for my son to graduate, I just said, ‘I can't stand when people ask you that,’” Millet said. “I think we should flip that, and I think it should be, ‘I want to do a lot.’”