Slave Lake gymnastics club project reaching a critical point

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Every time you turn around lately, it seems the Slave Lake Gymnastics Association is there, raising funds. It’s the equivalent of the full-court press in basketball. All hands on deck and a goal of $75,000 looming.

That’s what the board of the fledgling organization figures it takes to start a club from scratch. It needs a location, equipment, a certified coach and people to sign up. After about five months of solid fundraising, says SLGA president Tasha Albert, things have reached a critical point. A venue for the club must be found. And ads for coaches went out last week.

“We’re looking for a head coach and part-time coaches,” says Albert.

Ideally, the head coach would be Level II or higher, but if that doesn’t work out, the board is prepared to go with a Level I coach who can train up to the higher level.

That’s one challenge. Another one is finding a suitable location. Ideal would be 3,000 square feet of space with no posts, Albert says.

“We’ve just started our hunt. We have a committee.”

Kimmy Eben-Ebenau heads the fundraising committee. There are four projects in that line going on or coming up. During the month of June Dog Island Brewing is on board, giving a dollar from every glass of Sandy Ass Pale Ale they sell to the cause. Scheme #2 is a raffle for a deck cooler in conjunction with the Landon Persson Memorial Association. Champions Fitness is helping out in July with a fundraising run (stay tuned for an announcement). And finally, the gymnastics group is helping out with this year’s Ice Breaker event, getting a percentage of ticket sales. That’s the big sports celebrity banquet and hockey game that happens in late August (on the 24th this year).

Wrangling equipment for the club is a big job, one Albert says she’s been spending many hours doing lately. She’s been calling gyms all over the country to see what they might have for sale, and for how much – then arranging transport. Proper mats, it turns out, are the big ticket item.

“Two thousand dollars a mat!” she says. “And we need a minimum of six.”

There’s definite progress. The fundraising goal got a lot closer last week with some significant donations. The venue challenge still has to be solved and the coaching situation remains to be seen. The original goal of opening in September was probably a bit on the optimistic side. But lots of progress since the project launched late last year.

“We’re getting there,” says Albert.

To ask questions or offer help of any kind, contact the group by email at slavelakegymnastics@hotmail.com. It also has a social media presence on Facebook.

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