Like activity providers across the nation, Liberty Gymnastics in Camberley has been keenly awaiting the next step in the Covid roadmap, seeing the restrictions on indoor activities relax so they can get back to doing what they love – teaching gymnastics to children aged 4-17.
Find Your Activity spoke with Liberty’s Head Coach, Sarah Wagner about what the return to face-to-face lessons means to her and the club, and what restarting currently looks like.
Despite the frustrations of three disruptive lockdowns over the last year – including numerous events in the gymnastics calendar being cancelled, and one of Liberty’s competition venues being closed for good – Sarah is feeling positive about the future:
In-person gymnastics classes restarting
“It will be great to get back to face to face lessons – we’ve missed everyone so much and can’t wait to see them again. We’re looking forward to meeting new faces too!
"As of Monday 19th April, we’ll be offering four sessions per week, across eight different age groups at Kings College, Camberley. We’ve even put on a new Saturday session
“Of course, we’ve made changes to comply with Covid guidelines – our group sizes are smaller and they have staggered start times to reduce the number of children and parents arriving and departing at one time, plus there’s a one-way system in place – and lots of sanitising!”
Although Monday will be their first in-person lesson, Liberty have worked hard during lockdown to help their gymnasts maintain fitness and flexibility, providing hour-long online sessions on their usual lesson days.
“We’ve loved seeing our gymnasts on Zoom throughout the year. It has helped us stay in touch and, although we weren’t able to teach physical gymnastics, the balance, jumping and flexibility exercises they’ve done will make coming back much easier for them.”
Unfortunately there are still some parts of Liberty’s calendar that can’t restart just yet. Sarah explains:
Gymnastics competitions and displays
“We usually take part in several gymnastics competitions throughout the year across Surrey and the South East, including hosting our own in November/December. But, due to the numbers of people involved, such competitions will probably have to wait until 2022 to start up again.
“It’s shame, as we always do really well in the competitions – I’m proud to say that we’ve been county and area champions over the years. Our gymnasts choose whether to take part, but it’s such a rewarding process if they do, whether they go home with a medal or not. Competitions give them something to work towards, a time-limited focus, which is great for discipline. It also teaches them to win gracefully, or that winning isn’t everything – both important life lessons. No matter how well they do, there’s always a positive to come out of it and I am always able to tell them something that they have done better on the day than ever before.”
Liberty Gymnastics would also normally take part in several shows and displays, from school fetes, charity events to village festivals.
"We’ve been part of the Frimley Green Carnival for over 10 years – it’s one of the highlights of the year for coaches, gymnasts and parents alike because it’s so much fun and every child can take part in the procession and display in one way or another if they want to. We’ve also won best float several times over the years and it’s all down to the contribution of the parents and coaches who are up to their eyes in paint and cardboard for the weeks leading up to it!
“One other lovely thing we’ve been involved in was the ‘Together for Freddie’ campaign – a fundraiser for a toddler in Yateley who needed to go to America for brain tumour treatment in 2017. We were asked to do a performance at Camberley Civic Hall with a few other local artists. It was such a special moment being part of it all, despite being out of our comfort zone, learning to do the gymnastics moves up on a stage!"
“I’m a bit sad that we can’t restart all our activities, but that will all happen eventually so for now I’m just really excited to get back to teaching in person again. Find Your Activity have been great at helping me get the sessions online and spreading the word about the club.”
So, if you have a budding gymnast in your family (basically any child that likes to jump, run and bounce!), why not give Liberty Gymnastics a go? Limited spaces are still available, and they offer a no commitment free trial for your first session – contact the club for more information.