The Yellowknife Gymnastics Club is resuming its regular programming.
“We were able to host a three-day camp for parents that needed child care while they were back to work before school started,” said Jessica Smith, the club’s general manager.
Following the camp, Smith said that registration for the regular fall session opened up, with 90 per cent of the classes now full.
She said that was great, but staffing remains a challenge. The club was able to bring on two full-time staff members prior to the evacuation and is currently seeking additional part-time and hopefully another full-time staff.
“Most of our staff are teenagers, including a new head coach and a recent graduate who is now on full-time staff,” she said.
However, the evacuation did have some impact on their summer camp program. The club had to cancel the final week and a half of their nine-week program.
“We had 70 registrations for the last week and the previous week, we had 60, so we ended up having to cancel them,” she said.
The canellation resulted in a significant revenue loss for the club. Smith hopes to regain some of these funds through fundraisers this year and by increasing class numbers, if possible.
Despite these hurdles, the administrative staff have been working remotely and offering online courses for staff and new recruits.
In terms of support, Smith mentioned that they are applying for SEED (Support for Entrepreneurs and Economic Development) fund and are exploring other grants through the federal government. However, she noted that there isn’t much funding available for nonprofit organizations.
Smith emphasized the importance of regular training for their atheltes, some of whom are trying out for the Arctic Winter Games this year. The three-week break has put them behind in their preparation, but they are making up for lost time by using their gym time effectively.
Zefir Jordison, a coach who just started at the club, echoed Smith’s concern, saying that the evacuation meant the club missed an important registration period and had an extended off-season. This resulted in athletes having more rest time, but less practice time.
To mitigate these challenges, Jordan plans to jump into training quicker than usual. While this approach may put some pressure on the athletes, especially those participating in the Arctic Winter Games, he emphasized the importance of mental health and not pushing too hard.
“Making sure you’re physically ready and everything like that,” said Jordison.
Despite the challenges posed by the evacuations, Jordison remains optimistic about the future of the club and its athletes.