We can all name at least one person who people recognise as an inspirational figure to many of those around them. It could be a teacher, serviceman, or a neighbour. In the world of gymnastics at every level, there are countless individuals who have brought the very best out of their charges, earning great respect and plaudits along the way. These unsung heroes are seldom forgotten. In fact, they can teach us more about ourselves, and how we can use their example to help others.
Founder Chairman of the British Gymnastics Charitable Foundation, Ray Phillips and female Chair in the Commonwealth Games Federation’s European group, Helen Phillips, are two leading examples. So much so, Ray has been awarded a Medal of the Order of the British Empire, with Helen awarded an MBE in recognition of their services to the sport. And though both will modestly accept their accolades, in terms of gymnastics, this wonderful recognition is completely respected and deserved.
Everyone enjoys a little sporting drama as athletes battle it out at the highest level. It doesn’t matter whether it’s football, snooker or gymnastics, we can all be gripped, hanging on to each move as if we were making it ourselves. We’ve all thought at one time or another, ‘I’d like to have a go at that,’ but would feel self-conscious around others’. In fact, there are thousands of people enjoying sport simply for the fun of things away from any form of competition. Well, enter GymFusion, a concept taking gymnasts of all abilities and ages to work in unison.
The Focus is On Fun With A Theme
GymFusion is largely a show-style festival carrying the universal ethos of ‘gymnastics for all’, also bringing together friends and families. It involves carefully orchestrated themed performances showcasing individual skills and talents, in a non-competitive environment. This fascinating combination is probably the main reason why the event has been wowing crowds for more than six years now.
Founded by Alisa Saunders and her husband ten years ago, Witham Hill Gymnastics Club in Lincoln has more than 800 members and some 600 on its waiting list.
Gymnastics is already a popular sport, but Alisa attributes its increased attraction to the Olympic and Commonwealth Games of recent years. What the games (and specifically artistic gymnast and silver medallist Louis Smith and triple world champion Beth Tweddle) did was provide a greater awareness and appreciation of the sport, especially for those outside the gymnastic sphere.
Alisa’s club has gone from strength to strength since its humble beginnings in 2007. At first, Witham Hill Gymnastics Club was involved with other clubs and started with only 70 children. It then moved to a leisure centre, needing to move yet again to its present venue some years later due to increased membership – the club now employs 20 paid coaches and 15 volunteers.
In April 2017, the European Union passed the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It will take effect in 2018. This law doesn’t only cover businesses, but gymnastics clubs as well, since gymnastics clubs, too, handle sensitive personal data their members trust them with. Here is a guide to GDPR compliance and how it will impact the way your gymnastics club needs to handle data:
How Your Gymnastics Club’s Members Will Benefit from the GDPR
The GDPR will harmonise the data regulations from all its member nations, better protecting EU businesses and organisations from data breaches, all too common in today’s digital environment.
What Does the GDPR Require of Gymnastics Club Administrations?
Starting from the 25th May 2018, your club must have a secure way to archive your members’ sensitive personal data. You also must track your audits of these data. If a breach occurs, you must notify your nation’s data authorities within 72 hours. For UK residents, the proper authority is the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). If your club fails to follow these regulations, you may be subjected to GDPR fines greater than €20 million or four percent of your club’s previous year’s revenue – a hefty sum.
If your club handles a lot of sensitive data, you must appoint a data protection officer. It will be important for your club to provide that officer with effective tools for proper data governance.
So, here it is, our latest product update! This month we’ve been working on new and updated features to reduce and simplify your admin within our admin management software. Here they are!
New Feature: Advanced Search Tool
We have now added an advanced search tool so you can easily query your membership database. This new feature is in BETA testing and can be found under Members > Master Membership List BETA and Members > Membership Categories.
The search criteria depend on the type of fields searched upon. As follows (pictures in order):
- Text fields: Contains, Does not Contain, Is known, Is unknown
- Numerical fields: Is equal to, Is not equal to, Is greater than, Is less than, Is known, Is not known
- Date fields: Is equal to, Is before, Is after, Is between, Is known, Is unknown
- Age field: Is equal to, Is not equal to, Is greater than, Is less than, Is known, Is unknown, As of date
- Multiple choice: Is equal to, Is not equal to, Is known, Is not known – after selecting the criteria, you’ll be presented with the list of answers (as defined when you created the field)
Why it’s Better…
- Searching within the system eliminates the need to export information into an Excel spreadsheet to run queries which improves your data security. It’s also more convenient and reduces time spent on admin.
There’s nothing more exciting in sport than the emergence of a future Olympic Champion, and this is where gymnastics really can capture the imagination. In the case of Raekwon Baptiste, this brilliant exponent of his art has captured the attention of coaches and talent spotters alike. Recently named the overall winner of The 2017 OCS Young Sportsperson of the Year, the Birmingham and Nottingham based athlete has already been tipped for future medal glory.
A Momentous 18 Months
The award was the icing on the cake for Raekwon, who last year became the under 14 British Champion, before lifting the English Championship just two weeks later. An important part of his gymnastics education was his involvement in Budapest in his first international, finishing an impressive second. He’s made two more international appearances to rubber stamp his potential as a genuine star on the circuit, but being modest as ever he commented; “I’ve done three internationals and at all of them I’ve come in the top three which I’m quite proud of. I think I’ve come first, second and third so I think that contributed a bit.”
A host of elite gymnasts from the best-ranked nations in the world will be heading to Birmingham next March as part of the 2018 Gymnastics World Cup event. Not only is this putting England’s second city firmly on the gymnastics map, it’s also set to renew electric rivalries from Rio 2016. The Olympic stars will be shining brightly, as fans settle down for a feast of enthralling springtime drama and entertainment.
A Showcase for Brilliance
The Arena Birmingham will become the perfect ostensory to display the incredible talents of some truly gifted athletes from this exciting sport. All teams from Russia, Japan, Germany, USA, Brazil, The Netherlands and China will be lining up against Great Britain in the women’s event, with Ukraine joining up against the men. On both March 21st and 22nd new landmarks will be set as reputations are further enhanced. The gymnasts chosen from each country will be announced early in the new year – keep your eyes peeled!
As captain of the British Olympic Team in Rio, Kristian Thomas knows a thing or two about gymnastics at the highest level. Now, having won multiple honours in the sport at World Championships, European Championships and both the Olympic and Commonwealth Games, the Wolverhampton born athlete has announced his retirement.
King of Clubs
A graduate of the Earls Gymnastics Club, Kristian is clear proof club owners and organisers can also bask in the glory of success for years to come if they manage young talent correctly. In fact, Kristian led the men’s artistic British team for more than a decade, playing a role in many defining moments in the history of men’s artistic gymnastics in this country.
Loughborough is very much the place to be if you love sport. A leisurely drive through this picturesque place will reveal some of the world’s best sporting facilities, as well as the infamous sport-inclined University. In fact, it’s very difficult not to become inspired by everything this Leicestershire hub has to offer. This point was proven during the recent European Union of Gymnastics’ 2nd ‘Gymnastics for Fun Seminar’. Visitors from across the globe enjoyed three days of lively discussion, socialising and fun. In every sense, this was the perfect venue for great gymnastic minds to come together in such a positive atmosphere.
Beth Tweddle MBE was the sort of dedicated gymnast any club owner would have been proud to be associated with. In this sense, it came as no surprise when The British Gymnastics Foundation recently announced the three-time world champion would become an ambassador of their Hardship Grants programme.
It was deemed an excellent choice primarily because of her genuine belief that sport is for all. Unfortunately, however, this mantra is easier said than done for a great many people of all ages. Why? The answer to the question lies within two fundamental areas – namely, a personal crisis, or more often than not, financial hardship. You see, even at a basic level, participating in any sport can carry some unavoidable expense for which no-one is directly accountable.