"The economic gap in our country affects kids from how they nourish themselves, to their self image, right down to opportunities for advancement. Having money or not should never be the reason a kid does not experience high quality mentorship. The place in the world that TruStrength Tomorrow can make that difference is through great physical fitness education, training, and classes. We want to provide the bridge for every kid to continue to the journey of discovering their best self." ~ Jesse Wall
Meet Our Founder - Jesse Wall
Jesse was born in Norway, Maine and raised in the Oxford Hills area. “I grew up in a lower economic family that was full of love. We played a lot of baseball and free town sports and bombed around on used cross country skiing equipment on snowmobile trails, but could not afford sports like downhill or attend skills clinics."
Naturally athletic as a young boy, Jesse didn’t fit into any particular peer category. He played sports but also read comic books and had lots of time to roam and explore. He admits that “School was often difficult. I went to the local high school. The mid to late 90s was the height of bullying. While I was an athlete, I didn't always fit in with the sporty kids. Alot of kids back then got teased for reading comic books and how they chose to dress. I was the first kid to dye my hair permanently bright blue. That did not go over well with students or coaches.”
Jesse graduated from Oxford Hills High School in 1999, applied to a few schools and got accepted on an full academic scholarship to Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) in Manchester, NH where he graduated magna cum laude in 2003, earning a degree in business administration. After graduating from college Jesse admits “there was a good section of my life where I lost my direction. Developing youth, especially young males, need guidance. I, myself, did not have a whole lot of mentors. I had no compass, no map, no direction, no passion. I ended up floating through life a bit. I lost my way. That time in my life became incredibly impactful as I chose to reroute my life."
In 2008, Jesse moved to Portland to work for the YMCA as their lead fitness specialist. “I had started training friends in college. I developed my knowledge by reading copious amounts and doing hundreds of thousands of self-inflicted, difficult workouts. I taught them what I could.” While working for the YMCA in Portland, Jesse started working on another dream. “I developed an idea for a side business which was about team and community building and the synergy that comes out of that. I believed people could do more together as a group than as a bunch of individuals. At 28, I looked at people my age who had fallen into the ruts of life. I thought, Man, all these people would benefit from being part of a social group that was about being healthier. TruStrength Athletics was born".
Housed in Norway, Maine, TruStrength Athletics is both a private gym and a place that does team and individual training. It also offers coaching services to the local school teams. Because it is close to the high school, kids are able to walk over after school for their training which is a perk that not many other programs can offer.
TruStrength Athletics is also about helping develop character and self worth as much as muscles . “When we were asked to be part of the Oxford Hills Varsity Football program, I knew I could make the kids much faster and stronger but I wondered if I could help them get the mentorship I missed out on. I decided it needed to involve helping kids identify values that could be at the center of their hearts. The bonding, the synergy and the relationship building that goes on inside this program has been incredible. Every single year we have seen a massive decrease in injuries. Our concussion rates have gone down versus other sports where they have gone up. More so, I see fewer kids quitting and biting at each other. I see kids lifting each other up. That comes from teaching what trust is and that honesty and generosity and patience and caring are as important as leg strength and speed. This approach is now part of our reputation”.
As TruStrength Athletics began to grow, Jesse also realized there needed to be an economic bridge for teams and kids that couldn't afford high quality programs so he and his wife decided to create TruStrength Tomorrow. “A kid with the desire shouldn't miss out because they can't afford it. We also want to introduce kids to sports they don't know exist. Football isn't for everyone. We want to grab young athletes and introduce them to sports they might not have considered. Kids will say, I love running but not on the road. Put them on a trail and they get excited. We are excited to teach them to turn the outdoors into a sport with uphill skiing, bouldering and other programs. We hope we can help athletes who are moving into those under-served sports in a way that no one else does.”
A man who identifies himself as a general mountain athlete, Jesse is a skier, a mountaineer, an alpinist, a mountain runner, an ice climber, a rock climber, among other things. Jesse has completed all the 4000 footers in New England, completed the New Hampshire peaks in less than 48 days, and is the tenth known person to do all 67 in New England in a winter season.
Jesse lives in Oxford, ME with his wife Rebecca and their three children Olive, Henry and Lincoln.