The following are letters written in support of the fitness grants.
To whom it may concern:
As a parent of the Bonnyville Ashlin Gymnastics Club I am in support for the application for a Community Operating Grant through the Community Initiative Program.
Due to the lack of resources and coaches I feel this program is very important. Gymnastics is a place where children can express themselves in a positive and safe environment and is an educational tool for learning disabilities. I believe that it is “an educational goldmine” which helps children succeed in school because of the body and brain development. My daughter suffers from anxiety disorder, speech delay and sensory disorder which includes vestibular and proprietary sensory. In the past two years it was suggested by her psychiatrists, psychologist, speech therapist, psychologist and occupational therapist to enroll her in gymnastics, as a result, I have seen remarkable improvements in her abilities to function. To further explain, my daughter has sensory seeking behavior therefore competitive gymnastics fulfills her needs for movement in a safe setting. Gymnastics is a place for therapy and sport whether it’s recreational or competitive.
By receiving this grant I believe it would benefit the community and create a better future for all children. It takes a team to raise my daughter with special needs and gymnastics is a very important. It gives me great joy to see her shine through the competitive sport of gymnastics.
To Whom it May Concern:
As a parent and President of Bonnyville Ashlin Gymnastics club I am in support for the application for a Community Operating Grant through the Community Initiatives Program. Initially I was worried about the dangers associated with gymnastics however my daughter’s desires to participate in competitive program eliminated that concern. The skill and the pride that my daughters exhibit as a result of this sport continue to benefit them both mentally and physically.
I read a book by Dr. John J Ratey. In it he described how important exercise is to the human brain and children.
Kids Fitness Activities
This means activities like:
• Brisk walking
In addition, it is recommended that at least twice a week children participate in activities that enhance strength, flexibility and bone health. These include activities like:
• Skipping (Jump Roping)
It is clear that improving kids fitness will help them to be healthier and maintain a safe weight, but there is also a growing body of evidence that physical activity actually helps children perform better academically.
The CDC panel supports this, as do researchers like Dr. Antronette Yancey at the UCLA Center to Eliminate Health Disparities. She believes:
• Kids pay better attention to their subjects when they've been active.
• Kids are less likely to be disruptive in terms of their classroom behavior when they're active.
• Kids feel better about themselves, have higher self-esteem, less depression, less anxiety
This is supported by the research of Dr. John Ratey, a professor of psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School and the author of "Spark," a book that examines how our brains change when we exercise3.
Dr. John Ratey describes exercise as food for the brain and says that animal studies have shown that exercise stimulates development of new brain cells in an area of the brain called the hippocampus, which is associated with memory and learning.
Ratey says that "Exercise optimizes the brain and the person for learning. It creates the right environment for all of our 100 billion nerve cells up there…It produces these growth factors, one of which is call BDNF…which helps the brain cells stay alive, live longer and it helps the learning process." (Ratey, Dr. John J.: Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain)
I discovered that with proper coaching the sport is both safe and challenging giving all kids strength and confidence.
As the President I learned very quickly that I must support the Gymnastics club as a whole. Since our head coach has been unable to continue her position it has affected the coaching abilities of our junior coaches for our recreational and competitive program. Without the mentoring of a head coach our junior coaches are struggling to provide good training.
With this grant, we will be hiring a head coach and initiating a mentoring program. Hiring a head coach mentor our junior coaches, will allow us to offer more programs both at recreational and competitive levels.
August 28, 2014
It is my pleasure to be writing this letter in support of the Operating Grant Application being submitted to the Community Initiatives Program by the Ashlin Gymnastics Club of Bonnyville, AB.
Ashlin Gymnastics provides recreation and competitive programs for all children in our community, but also plays a key role in a number of children lives that have disabilities. The club enrolment includes children with disabilities, such as down syndrome, participating in recreational gymnastics and thriving in this setting. Currently, the club has children with severe mental health competing at competitive levels and excelling, however, due to the lack of resources the competitive component is limited at this time.
By receiving this grant it would allow the club to continue programming to all children as well as create opportunities to expand programming for children with disabilities. I strongly support Ashlin Gymnastics’ grant application and believe this financial support will directly benefit our community.
August 8, 2014
To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing this letter in support of a grant proposal being place by Bonnyville Ashlin Gymnastics Club which is needed in order for this small community organization not only to maintain but to improve the current level of services to rural aged children. Bonnyville Ashlin Gymnastics Club has developed through fundraising and countless volunteer hours, both a recreational and competitive program atmosphere, which continues to meet the needs of its ever growing clientele. However, due to increasing costs associated with certified coaches, ungraded equipment and general every day costs associated with running a quality service, there will continue to be limitations.
There are many children who have passed through their doors since opening who have developed increased self-confidence and increased physical abilities which has allowed this small town club to produce athletes who are able to compete at the provincial level. For many parents, the next available facility is at minimum, a two hour driving distance, which would not allow for these children to be enrolled in a gymnastics program. Financial support is definitely required in order for this club to maintain a level of youth gymnastic programs which can be only be found in the larger urban centers.
With all the increased concern and focus over building confidence in our youth, both in body awareness and in their emotional well-being, there would be much sadness expressed by the kids who have spent countless hours dedicating practice and coming out of their comfort zone to participate in a sport which promotes all of those ideas particularly if this club could no longer offer comparable programming as is found in larger urban centers.
I ask you to consider making Bonnyville Ashlin Gymnastics Club a grant recipient so that all kids, regardless of where they live in this province, continue to receive fair and equal access to opportunities.
Parent of Children in Bonnyville Ashlin Competitive Group
Educator, St. Paul Education