BANFF – The Banff Gymnastics Club is on the verge of closing unless parents and volunteers step up to save the 43-year-old organization.
The non-profit club, which is currently without a coach, is seeking new board members given most current volunteers no longer have children in the club and want to step down from their positions.
“We need the next generation of parents with young children who are interested in those activities to come and help and volunteer by becoming active board members,” said Andre Quenneville, the club’s president.
“The current board has ensured the financial success of the club. We know we have money to pay the rent, but there needs to be some more volunteers involved so this unique community club can continue.”
The gymnastics club will host its annual general meeting at the Middle Springs Cabin in Banff on Wednesday (June 12), beginning with food from 5:30-6:30 p.m. and followed by the meeting at 6:45 p.m.
Four to six board positions need to be filled. The new board would need to manage the existing space at St. Georges-in-the-Pines Anglican Church or find a new space, communicate with the church, and help support coaching staff and hiring new coaches.
The Banff Gymnastics Club was formed in 1976 when Davie Gulley, then principal of Banff Elementary School, asked coach and well-known local Bonnie Wiegele to consider starting a gymnastics club, which soon had 55 young Banff residents enrolled.
Local athletes Cary Mullen and Thomas Grandi, who both would become future Olympians in alpine skiing, were members of the club, as was professional big mountain skier Tatum Monod and former competitive gymnast Fabienne Moser.
Moser, who is also a physical therapist for Canadian Alpine Ski Team, has stepped up to try to help keep the club going, imploring parents to step forward for board positions.
“If nobody steps up, we have no other option other than to close down the club after 43 years,” she said.
The Banff Gymnastics Club currently focuses on a recreational program only, given that the Canmore Illusions Gymnastics Club has a very successful men’s and women’s competitive program.
Moser said the club needs to hire a new coach, noting she stepped in to help last year, but is not in a position to continue.
“It’s been a struggle to find a new coach in town because it has to be a qualified gymnastics coach,” said Moser. “I don’t think a lot of people even realize we are in this situation, but the hope is we don’t have to shut the club down.”