Olivia Hartmann strikes a balance on the mailbox tumbling aid. Barry Stewart/Hope Standard

Gymnastics program on a roll at Hope rec centre

”Gymnastics can make such a difference in a child’s development”: instructor, Chelsea Currie

A young woman with a passion for gymnastics has brought the sport to Hope, starting small and hoping to grow into a wide base of levels and opportunities.

“Gymnastics can make such a difference in a child‘s development,” said instructor, Chelsea Currie. “I know the growing population of young families in Hope feel they are lacking a variation in activites, so I was really excited to bring the program out this way.

“I contacted the rec center, inquiring about their need for these classes, as I had heard they were looking for some new programs to add to their schedule. I knew at the time the dance studio was expecting to shut its doors and there were going to be a lot of kids looking for a new extra-curricular activity.

“As a child, I was involved in display-teams and competitive meets for gymnastics,” said Currie. “I have since taken my NCCP artistic gymnastics certification and have been coaching for the past 3 years full time. I’m doing similar classes at a community school in Chilliwack.”

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Currie’s first class in Hope was targeted at ages 6 to 12 and the maximum of 10 students was soon nailed down, with a few going on a waiting list. The ten one-hour after-school sessions began on October 3 and conclude on December 6.

Each session begins with a dynamic game, such as tag, to get the class warmed up.

“I use the warm up games to teach participants boundaries, practice basic skills, to interact with one another and of course for a little fun,” explained Currie. “It’s a great way to get them to interact with one another and prepare for the class ahead.

“For stretching, I focus on the basic movements and help the kids learn why and how to stretch properly,” said the instructor. “Sometimes we include partner stretches or games that involve a stretch — which I always encourage them to go home and try with a friend or family member, to increase good habits.”

This introductory class focuses on floor exercises, making use of mats belonging to the rec centre and some that Currie brings along.

“I currently pack around half the equipment I use in classes with me,” she said. “I squish four mats and two beams into my Chevy Cruze most days. Time for a vehicle upgrade!”

Now past the halfway mark in the sessions, the instructor said she is seeing improvements in her students.

“Each week, we move onto a new progression for a skill and I see my students able to hold more weight on their arms and be more willing to try new things,” said Currie. “Some can now walk all the way down the beam without touching the floor once.

“At the end of each class I mention at least one skill that I would like the class to practice at home,” she added. “You can tell who does their homework.”

RELATED: The show will go on: Hope’s dance studio saved from closing by local parents

Looking ahead, Currie wants to widen the scope of her program next year, as long as the interest is there.

“Currently, I was only offering beginner gymnastics tumbling classes — but next session I’m offering a slightly different set up. There will be four events: floor, vault, beam, and bars. And you’ll see three different options for classes: Parent & Tot, Level 1-2, & Level 3-4.”

To keep in the loop for upcoming programs at the rec centre, ask at the main reception desk, or check out the recreation menu at www.fvrd.ca.

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Instructor Chelsea Currie and Olivia Hartmann work on a roll-out from a hand stand, at a recent Wednesday gymnastics session for kids, in the rec centre’s conference room. Barry Stewart/Hope Standard

Sisters Katelyn (standing) and Andrea Soares enjoy the opening tag activity at a recent Wednesday gymnastics session for kids, in the rec centre’s conference room. Barry Stewart/Hope Standard

Helping with a handstand. Barry Stewart/Hope Standard

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