WALLINGFORD – The Wallingford Family YMCA will be reviving a recreational gymnastics program at its facility in the new year through West Haven based In-Flight Gymnastics. The YMCA last hosted gymnastics classes in the 1990s before the classes were discontinued at the location.
Here are five things to know about the re-launch of the program from the instructors and YMCA team.
According to Brian Le Roux, gymnastic instructor and owner of In-Flight Gymnastics center, the program will be beneficial to children’s physical and cognitive development.
“We think it’s a much needed activity for kids, it’s awesome for learning, it’s awesome for physical development, social development, cognitive development as well,” he said.
Children from walking age to over six-years old will work on balancing skills along with climbing over and under various obstacles.
Le Roux said the program will help build muscle strength and stay fit while having fun and learning the fundamentals of the sport.
Sean Doherty, executive director at the Wallingford YMCA, said the program fits into the YMCA’s health and wellness initiative to get kids moving and participating in more physical activity.
The American Council of Exercise cited the need for increased physical activity in American kids after a sponsored study and “report card” released by the National Physical Activity Plan Alliance in 2016 on the subject. American children and youth scored a “D” grade in “Health-Related Fitness” and a “D minus” in “Overall Physical Activity.”
In a similar study for 2018, the scores were the same for “Overall Physical Activity,” with a “C minus” for “Physical Fitness.”
Some of the equipment that will be used during the program includes soft wedges, mats, bars, balance beams and blocks.
Morgaine Degnan, a gymnastics instructor at the Southington YMCA and staff at In-Flight Gymnastics, said tumbling is a common request from those that participate in cheerleading as well as parents of toddlers.
Mats are generally the only equipment needed for tumbling.
“I did all star cheerleading and I did high school cheerleading as well and that’s really the next level where it’s being pushed for the tumbling,” said Degnan. “That we don’t really need equipment for, which is great.”
The YMCA will offer four different classes in four different age groups for recreational gymnastics starting Monday, Jan. 7.
Parent & Child (walking-2 years): Children will be taught the basics while learning to follow directions, improve balance, develop gross motor skills, gain strength, and self-confidence.
Munchkin Gymnastics (ages 3-4): Children in this class will learn to develop coordination, strength, flexibility, and balance through movement.
KinderGym (ages 4-5): This class will emphasize coordination and strength through acrobatic movement.
Youth Gymnastics (ages 6+): Older kids will build on their skills like flexibility and strength while progressing at their own rate. Cartwheels, round-offs and handstands will be taught.
More information can be found by calling 203-269-4497
Other local YMCAs that offer recreational gymnastics include the Meriden YMCA on Cambridge Street and the Southington-Cheshire Community YMCA at Putnam Place, Plantsville.