Twice a week, FitKidz Gymnastics on Ellis Street opens its doors to teens of any athletic skill level.
Last Monday, five attende a drop-in class with instructor Katelyn Luscombe.
The group, which has been as large as 20, likes that the sessions offer them flexibility to improve without the pressure of visiting every Monday and Wednesday from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Katelin Coombes was part of the small group and loves that she has more time to do things. The former FitKidz competitive gymnast is playing volleyball and, later this year, will try out for basketball. Coombes competed in gymnastics for four years. Last season, her final year of competition, she was among a group who claimed a top-10 spot in provincials. The 12-year-old loves the classes because they are not too long and she can still be part of the sport she loves without being competitive. While working with Luscombe, she has noticed improvement in her flexibility and has picked up some new tricks.
What does she enjoy most about the drop-in classes?
“That we really get to do what we want,” said Coombes, who hasn’t missed a class.
Mackenzie Thacker, 13, is another former Fitkidz competitor. During her five years of competing she entered two events but doesn’t want to compete anymore.
“I just don’t really like competitions,” said Thacker.
Thacker also attends both sessions.
“Instruction is good,” she said. “They teach you what you want to learn. They help you with whatever you want to improve on.”
Thackers has also enjoyed being around the other members as she has learned from them.
“You can see what they are doing and try and accomplish what they have been learning,” she said. “Push yourself to learn those things.”
The group works in a large area, and with only five on that day, there was plenty of play space.
Luscombe said the sessions are intended for beginners to experienced athletes.The classes started in September and continue until June. She feels they have gone well and likes the turnout they receive.
“Last year we started with about three athletes. This year we are rotating through about 20,” she said.
What Luscombe likes about the teen drop-in classes is they can accommodate a variety of skills. Along with returning athletes, they have some who have just started out. One is Cameron Foster of Okanagan Falls. He took up the sport last year.
“It’s one of those sports where you get a really good workout,” said Foster, 15, who has played hockey, tennis and golf.
Luscombe’s instruction has been motivational for Foster, who has enjoyed working with her. In the time she has assisted him, Foster feels more mobile and flexible.
“I had a bit of a problem with my hip and I have noticed it’s really helped,” he said. “I definitely feel a lot stronger and healthier.”
Luscombe enjoys instructing her students because of their character and said “they are great kids.”
She is also pushed by them.
“I need to come up with different challenges for each individual,” she said.
Annette Card, the head coach and general manager of FitKidz Gymnastics, likes the classes because they keeps kids involved in sports, which she feels is important.
“A lot of kids drop out of organized sports by the time they are 12 or 13 years old,” she said.
To her, it also enables them to socialize with friends and it has been a success with the numbers they attract.
“It’s definitely a great place,” said Foster. “I definitely recommend it.”