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Ashlin Gymnastics lands Jump Start Sport Relief Fund

Ashlin Gymnastics has landed $10,000 through the Jump Start Sport Relief Fund.
Bonnyville Ashlin Gymnastics Club are the recipients of the Jump Start Sport Relief Fund.

BONNYVILLE - The Bonnyville Ashlin Gymnastics Club is flipping over the news that they're the recipients of the Jump Start Sport Relief Fund. 

Linda Rondeau, board chair for Ashlin Gymnastics, said the non-profit organization is "super stoked."

The local gymnastics club will be receiving $10,000 to help cover the costs of making their space more accessible. 

Currently, the facility isn't the most user-friendly for those with disabilities, Rondeau said. 

From the long set of stairs to access the viewing area to the bathrooms being located on the second-floor, there are a few tweaks Ashlin Gymnastics would like to make so everyone can enjoy their gym. 

"We want to have the opportunity so that all kids, more kids can experience the fun of the sport and not be left out," expressed Rondeau. 

A chairlift that would take users up the stairs, installing a bathroom on the first floor, and adding a ramp in the gym itself are some of their considerations. 

"The other things we were looking to use the funds for is to help pay for coach training, because to become a gymnastics coach is actually a lengthy and expensive process," Rondeau detailed. "Unfortunately, with the pandemic, it has really limited our ability to cover those costs for our coaches and this will help to cover that so we can keep continuing to have coaches so that we can have gymnastics in this community."

In addition to the grant, donations and fundraising dollars will be used to cover the cost of these items. 

"It will definitely cover a chunk of it, and our fundraising committee is continuing to look for more donors to help cover the cost, because it's very expensive. Just to put the bathroom in, we're looking at a $9,000 to $10,000 process, just for that one thing alone."

Rondeau said work isn't quite underway just yet, but their hope is to have it started this summer. 

"We're hoping that for the fall it's all in place."

According to Rondeau, it was Tina Boucher, member of the group's grants committee, that landed Ashlin Gymnastics the funding, which is vital during times like these. 

"The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted us so greatly. Gyms across Alberta have been affected, their coaches have had to be laid off, they've moved onto other positions because they need a job, so that has left a deficit," detailed Rondeau. "We don't want to lose this for our community, just because we're in a rural area. This is an opportunity for students to build. Gymnastics has so many core foundations for other sports that we don't want to lose it in our community."

Meagan MacEachern, Bonnyville Nouvelle