Gymnastics for Everybody
Date released: March 2013. Updated September 2013; September 2017
Partners: Kerry Tavrou and Gymnastics Victoria
We take a close look at a fantastic inclusive gymnastics program called Gymnastics for Everybody. It comes out of the work of Gymnastics Victoria in southern Australia. Gymnastics Victoria, with the support of VicHealth, have developed a very professional, intelligent and comprehensive approach to inclusion that could really serve as a model program of inclusion for any sport.
Today we are going to take a close look at a fantastic inclusive gymnastics program called Gymnastics for Everybody. It comes out of the work of Gymnastics Victoria in southern Australia. Gymnastics Victoria, with the support of VicHealth, have developed a very professional, intelligent and comprehensive approach to inclusion that could really serve as a model program of inclusion for any sport.
As usual, we’ll take a close look at what Gymnastics Victoria do and try to highlight some of the hallmarks of success. We interview Kerry Tavrou, Inclusion Coordinator from Gymnastics Victoria, and you’ll be able to download some of the excellent resources they’ve developed to support Gymnastics for Everybody. But first, to give you a general overview of the program, take a look at this promotional video. It gives a really good overview of what Gymnastics for Everybody is all about.
Very professional video isn’t it!
Gymnastics Victoria produced a suite of material to promote Gymnastics for Everybody. Again, they took a very professional approach to this and incorporated the ‘look and feel’ into the regular ‘look and feel’ of all their material. This is a hallmark of their success. They were conscious of integrating fully the related material for Gymnastics for Everybody. They did not compromise on the quality and they distributed their material through the regular channels—as they would for any of their programs.
Take a look at the poster images below as an example of the quality they produced. Accompanying these are a set of flyers that tell a little about the story of each of these gymnasts. You can download the flyers in the zip file underneath the posters. Really worth taking a good look at these.
Another hallmark of success for this program has been how they have developed an overall culture of inclusion across their club networks in Victoria. Kerry Tavrou, Inclusion Coordinator, talks about this in the interview we had with Kerry you can see underneath. This hasn’t happened by accident. It also goes across all disadvantaged populations – so the approach is not specific to including people with disability – but goes across culturally and linguistically diverse populations, Indigenous Australians and other population groups. In this way the inclusive approach carries more weight and has a greater overall impact. Listen to the interview with Kerry below.
Kerry talked about some of the other resources Gymnastics Victoria has produced to support Gymnastics for Everybody. This is another hallmark of success. They back up their culture and promotional material with a comprehensive set of resources that are available for all clubs to use and tap into.
There are workshops for coaches that have been designed specifically to increase the ability and confidence of coaches of all abilities. This coaching workshop has a strong focus on gymnasts with disabilities but is applicable for all people.
There is the comprehensive Managing Inclusion in Gymnastics (MIG) Online Resource. This is an online program for club people, including coaches, judges and administrators. Importantly, they have integrated a mandatory requirement for Technical members of gymnastics to complete MIG for renewal of their membership.
There is also the free Gym Ability—GymMix Resource. This is a national resource for schools and clubs to assist with the inclusion of participants with disabilities in fun and safe gymnastics programs. This is quite a comprehensive resource in itself, including 350 activities to develop Fundamental Movement Skills, 100 Group Activities to encourage inclusion, over 50 Cognitive Challenges Activities, in-depth explanation of 50 key movement areas, sample lesson plans and sample participant readiness forms.
Case Studies, Resources and Checklists…
It’s worth visiting the Gymnastics Victoria website and looking around at the various resources they have developed, adopted and adapted for Gymnastics for Everybody. Rather than go through them all here simply take a look at their website and see what they offer.
In a program such as Gymnastics for Everybody there are a lot of contributing factors that, collectively, amount to creating a truly inclusive sport structure. What stands out to us though is the professional and totally uncompromised way in which Gymnastics Victoria have gone about their business. As far as inclusion is concerned they have not settled for second best. One of the great things about Gymnastics is that it is a very diverse sport that lays the foundation of skills for young people to get involved in all kinds of activities in the future. No better place to start for inclusion!!
Thanks to Kerry and all the fine people at Gymnastics Victoria for their help with this episode—I’m sure they would be more than happy to hear from you if you have any questions—and you can make a comment or fire a question in the comments section below.
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About the author: Peter Downs
Founding Director - The Inclusion Club
Peter is Founding Director of The Inclusion Club and Manager of Play by the Rules – a national initiative to promote safe, fair and inclusive sport. Peter has worked for over 25 years in the field of inclusive sport, disability sport and physical activity including 17 years managing the Australian Sports Commission’s Disability Sport Unit. In 2013 Peter was fortunate enough to receive a Churchill Fellowship to study models of best practice in inclusive sport and physical activity.