As one of the only all-ages gymnastics club in Canberra’s north, places at Belconnen’s Canberra City Gymnastics Club are in hot demand.
It’s only the end of the first week of the new school term, but Canberra City Gymnastics Club office staff member Ann Dawson says classes across all age groups are almost completely booked out.
“We would like to expand into Gungahlin to better cope with demand, but in the meantime we do recommend registering as early as possible to secure a place,” she says.
“We have such a high retention rate that fitting new people in can be difficult. I’d say we have less than a dozen places available right now, which is hard to believe!”
Ann has been involved with the club for around eight years. Though her daughter no longer trains or coaches at Canberra City Gymnastics, she says the club’s positive environment keeps her coming back – despite the long drive from her home in Canberra’s south.
“Over time you get to know the people, kids and staff that you work with, and as a not for profit organisation with huge numbers – I’ve processed over 700 registrations this week alone – you want to do the best that you can to help them out,” she says.
Canberra City Gymnastics Club, which was founded by Dr Les Sharp in 1978, caters to people of all ages, from two-year-olds to adults.
“We start off with kinder gymnastics classes for building coordination and getting to know the gym, developing social skills and gross motor skills,” Ann explains.
“Then we have the school aged programs, where the biggest area is recreational classes where kids can learn basic gym skills in a fun environment without concentrating on competition.”
Children are selected from the recreational classes to join competition teams, which compete nationally against other clubs and states around Australia. These teams are taught by experienced Russian gymnastics coaches, while the recreational classes are generally coached by former gymnasts.
Ann says that many of the club’s competitive gymnasts are busy preparing for the 2015 Australian Gymnastics Championships, which will be held in Melbourne later this month.
“Nearly all of our senior level gymnasts are members of the ACT team this year, which is great,” Ann says.
“We’ve had a very good reputation in the past and one year even had an ACT team comprised entirely of Canberra City Gymnastics girls, which placed at Australian Championships.”
Ann says the club is particularly proud of former Canberra City gymnast Laura Peel, who competed at the 2014 Winter Olympics in aerial skiing and won her first world title at the 2015 World Championships in January. Club gymnasts Adam Falzarano and Hannah Breynard have also represented Australia in recent years.
Canberra City Gymnastics takes new registrations all year round, however, as the only north side gymnastics club in Canberra, it’s best to register early as vacancies fill up quickly.
Canberra City Gymnastics fast facts
- Number of gymnasts: Close to 1000
- Training venue: 85 Chandler Street Belconnen (the club also offers classes off site at venues in Mitchell and Lyneham)
- Club president: Tania Constable
- Social media: Find Canberra City Gymnastics on Facebook.
This is a weekly series profiling Canberra sporting clubs. To nominate your club for an upcoming profile, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.