ATHABASCA - The Athabasca FLIPS Gymnastics Club is head over heels to be back in action after a long hiatus.
Having shut down in March due to the pandemic, the club was able to re-open in September following Alberta Health Services (AHS) and Alberta Gymnastics Federation (AGF) guidelines and have had a steady run of gymnasts tumbling down their mats ever since, explained Kathryn Cyr, the registrar for the club.
“Registration for our fall session is lower than previous years, but we’ve been lucky to have Wanda and Bryce Semashkewich coach LTIS (Landing Trail Intermediate School) and EPC (Edwin Parr Composite) cheer through FLIPS on Tuesdays,” Cyr said in an email. “It’s a definite win-win for both activities as all the after-school sports programs have been cancelled through Aspen View (Public Schools).”
Cyr added the Ninja Warriors class reached maximum enrolment quickly and while the club is not taking part in any competitions, they still have their competitive gym classes running six, nine and 12 hours per week along with tumbling and recreational classes.
"We also have daytime classes for families completing homeschooling this year to get some activity into their curriculum,” Cyr said. “We still have our daytime parents and tots and hope to incorporate a trampoline class in our winter schedule starting mid-January. During this uncertain time, FLIPS isn’t offering drop-ins like the past so registration in a class in recommended.”
They are however able to offer birthday parties now that COVID restrictions have entered Phase 2.
“Being in the second phase though, we are flipping excited to again have birthday parties and use of the lobby party area as well as private lessons with coach Davin,” Cyr said.
There is AHS signage in the building including kid-friendly, easy-to-read signs as well as hooks in the lobby to keep personal belongings physically distanced and not taken into the gym. There are alsol sign-in sheets, hand sanitizer and daily screening lists to help with contact tracing, should it ever become necessary.
“The athletes don’t wear masks while training; the coaches wear them while spotting and the coaches work really hard to maintain social distancing of the kids,” said Cyr. “Masks are requested for kids as they travel through the hallways and highly recommended for any parents who stay in the viewing area; because masks aren’t a local bylaw, we can’t enforce this.”
Cyr said that parents have been supportive of the club’s requests to maintain distance and wear masks, adding the club prefers if only one family member stay to watch, if needed.
The foam pit at the east side of the gym has been covered with mats for extra space and for ease of sanitizing, and coaches have allotted extra time between classes to wipe down equipment and high touch areas.
“The re-opening of FLIPS in September after being shut down since March, could have never been possible without the countless hours of the volunteer board and the assistance of coaches,” said Cyr. “We are so flipping excited to open our doors again to our community.”
FLIPS' entire schedule can be found at athabascaflips.ca.
Follow me on Twitter @HLSox