After being completely shut down for over fourth months due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Cariboo Chilcotin Gymnastics Association is making preparations to spring back up onto its feet.
Following guidelines set out by viaSport and Gymnastics BC for reopening its facility and working with gymnasts, the CCGA is slated to reopen on Sept. 8.
“We are currently working on recreation programming for the fall 2020 season,” said CCGA head coach Annie Glanville. “Due to COVID-19 and new protocols that need to be put in place we are working on different program ideas.”
Glanville started out as a recreational gymnast with the CCGA before moving on to competitive gymnastics and has now been coaching for 20 years.
“Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever imagined a pandemic causing such a big change in the sport,” Glanville said.
“Things will look different but we are all very excited to get back at it.”
Glanville said for the club’s safe reopening, plenty of cleaning and sanitizing is required.
“Every piece of equipment has to be cleaned when they are done using it — a full disinfecting with a fogger has to be done between each class and at the end of the day,” Glanville said.
Another big change — and a strict no-no under normal circumstances — is gymnasts are now going to be training in socks.
“Typically socks are too slippery to train in but this will help limit the amount of contact their skin has with the floor,” Glanville said.
Additionally, with a limited number of people allowed in the building at a time the CCGA is not allowed to have its regular viewing area open.
“Parents will no longer be allowed to stay and watch their child,” she said. “It looks like we will not be able to offer parent and tot, toddler programs or birthday parties at this time. We are looking at offering programs only for age six and up. They have to be comfortable enough without having their parent in the facility.”
In order to get back to a point where they are able to safely reopen, Glanville noted a team of volunteers, coaches and board members worked countless hours getting the gymnastics club prepared.
“It took a lot of deep cleaning and de-cluttering.”
The CCGA’s competitive team, meanwhile, has been doing some training since the beginning of August with reduced hours and numbers of gymnasts.
“A key challenge for the coaches is the implementing of hands free coaching — no spotting,” she said. “This is a huge change for us. These are mandatory protocols from Gymnastics BC that we must follow in order to run. Physical distancing with coaches and gymnasts will be enforced.
“The days of high fives, fist pumps and hugs are on hold for now. We have to be creative with how we are going to praise the gymnasts during training.”
Glanville said keep an eye on the CCGA’s Facebook page as fall registrations will be announced soon. Registration will be by appointment only. Or, for more, call the CCGA at 250-398-7331.