The Yale Club Gymnastics Initiative’s informational meeting took place on Wednesday, September 18th, 2013 at 7:30 pm in the basement of Calhoun College. We were positively surprised that we have already heard from over 30 people within the Yale community who expressed interest in our project. We will go ahead and formally petition for Club Sport recognition to the Club Sports Advisory Board on Monday, Sept 23.
Here is a little update for those of you who were unable to attend the info meeting:
We had roughly 20 people in attendance, and with 15 of you who expressed interest but were unable to make it, Philipp and I are feeling hopeful. A brief introduction of myself: I grew up in California and was a competitive gymnast through level 8 when I was younger. I stepped away in junior high due to an injury, but then got back involved in gymnastics recreationally at the club level while I was in college at UC Davis. After graduating, I stayed in the area and became the Boys Program Director at a private club in Davis for 6 years. While mainly in charge of the boys competitive team, I taught everything from preschool to girls to adults. I moved to New Haven last year and Philipp and I met in the tumbling class that was once offered by Payne Whitney by former olympian Don Tonry. Seeing that there were limited opportunities at Yale for both men and women interested in gymnastics, Philipp and I decided to spearhead an effort to form a club program. Philipp is currently a sophomore here at Yale and is from Germany (or beautiful Bavaria as he likes to remind everyone). He was part of the 2nd league tier while he was doing gymnastics there through the middle of high school (roughly level 10 in the states), and is equally as excited to work on getting a club program off the ground at this university.
Regarding the current status of the club, the club sports office has not made our road very easy over the last few months. Despite approaching them with sound and justifiable ways we could potentially use the varsity space at Payne Whitney, and providing viable alternatives when they would decline our suggestions, the office eventually put its foot down and denied us the use of Payne Whitney. They then said they would potentially consider us for clubstatus IF we could acquire off-site training. This past summer, I contacted a few gyms in the area, and eventually settled on a relationship with New Era Gymnastics up in Hamden, run by Thomas Alberti, about 7 miles from Yale. This gym has all of the equipment for men and women, and ample space for our needs. Philipp and I meet with the Club Sports Advisory Board this upcoming Monday to formally petition for club status.
Now, regarding the meat of what everyone really wants to know – what does the breakdown look like of potential workouts, finances, etc. So here we go. At this stage, workouts would be twice a week for two hours at a time. We are a little limited as to when we can get into the gym, seeing that the gym runs its own large programs, but the best timeslots we currently have are Monday and Thursday evenings from roughly 8:30-10:30. There is potential for a Saturday workout, as well as Tuesday and Friday workouts before 4:00, but the evening workouts probably work the best for most people. This is not to say that at some point in the future, we may be able to work something out with Payne Whitney where, for instance, we have one work out at Payne Whitney for floor/tumbling and vault, and one workout off-site for apparatus. But at this stage, both workouts look like they’ll be off-site. Alright, next up is finances. Disclaimer: the estimated cost I am giving you is assuming a club program with 15 participants, and also reflects the approximate amounts if theclub had to be completely self-sustaining, without any monetary help from the club sports office, fundraising, or donations. So essentially, these figures are likely the max value you could expect to pay. Also, for those of you who have been a part of the sport before, you know how inherently expensivegymnastics is. And trust us, Philipp and I are completely on your side, definitely concerned about cost and trying to keep things financially manageable for everyone. With that said, here we go: membership/gym fees = $170/semester; coaching fees = $179/semester; transportation fees = $258/semester; competition fees = voluntary out-of-pocket involvement in first year. Your mouth may have dropped open when you saw the transportation fees. A little more on that – the sports club office requires that we provide every club member transportation to and from practice. They do not have school vans available for transport, and basically suggested using ZipCar, which supposedly other clubs who workout off-site frequently do. So ZipCar, while potentially one of the few options, is just an example of one option to give you an idea of that cost. Regarding competitions – there are opportunities for us to compete against other club programs such as Cornell, Penn, and Boston area colleges. Club competition is generally fun and laid-back, with all kinds of ability levels represented. If, for instance, there is a group of people who want to compete, then that group could split the costs amongst themselves. But more than likely, for this first year, especially with novice members who need some time to train and learn skills, competition fees will not be required for all members.
Obviously, we are looking to do some major fundraising if our initiative gets the green light next Monday. This would help lower the overall cost for everyone. So again, these figures are likely the maximum you might expect (barring at least 15 club participants). And perhaps since we’re already part way in to the semester, we spend much of our time over the next couple of months doing fundraising, and then “officially” beginning next semester. Who knows? Everything rides on us getting the go ahead from CSAB, and we likely won’t know about that until the beginning of October.
One final note: we are also looking for people who are interested in club leadership. I will be acting as the club coach (though I have to petition to CSAB as well), Philipp as the club president. We are looking for a women’s captain, men’s captain, treasurer, and administrative/publicity member to round out the leadership team. Keep this in mind and let us know if you might be interested.
Please forgive the lengthy email, but hopefully you have a more solid idea now of what our vision is and where we stand. DON’T HESITATE to email us any questions or clarifications you may have that come to mind or were not answered in this email.
After the CSAB meeting on Monday, we’ll blast out another update!