Grants from a national sports relief program were welcomed by two Langley gymnastics clubs who have managed to make it through the worst of the pandemic.
Flip City and Langley Gymnastics Foundation have received $14,000 and $15,000 respectively, from the Jumpstart Sport Relief Fund, among 300 sports organizations to benefit from a $12 million infusion of money by Canadian Tire Corporation.
Jumpstart aims to help sport and recreation organizations build back sport and play in the wake of the pandemic, which a State of Sport study by the Ipsos polling agency found has left 52 per cent of sports program providers fearing they may go under.
Flip City Recreational Director Sherri Taylor said when the pandemic hit, they had to make a decision.
“Do we close, or do we ride it out to the end?”
They decided to hang in there, and have survived, by cutting costs, and financial donations from agencies like Jumpstart.
“It definitely helps us,” Taylor said.
The Jumpstart grant has been earmarked by Flip City to create a coaching-in-training program.
“This training is allowing us to train and eventually employ youth as coaches,” Taylor explained.
Tattina Maxim, business manager for the Langley Gymnastics Foundation (LGF), welcomed the financial support.
“We’re very grateful,” Maxim commented.
During the pandemic, both clubs have hosted virtual versions of championship events that would normally draw hundreds of competitors in person.
Instead, athletes recorded performances, which were then sent to judges for review, as was the case during the recent Christy Fraser Invitational.
In some ways, it ran smoother than an in-person meet when all competitors have to be scheduled, Maxim noted.
“[But] we definitely missed in-person,” Maxim added.
Gymnastics BC, the governing body for the sport, has updated its return to sport plan guided by the provincial decision to begin lifting some COVID-19 restrictions for the second phase of the restart plan.
Among the changes, no physical distancing is required on the field of play for indoor sports, a maximum of 50 individuals can be in a space at one time and anyone, other than spectators, can enter a club’s facilities “for the purposes of sport” as long as they follow the club’s safety plan, including learning facilitators, judges, athletes and coaches (up to 50 spectators are allowed at outdoor events).
Clubs have been advised that phase three of the provincial restart plan is expected to take effect on July 1, which would, among other things, allow limited numbers of indoor spectators.
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