Gymnastics leader awarded 

Gymnastics B.C. award goes to Whistler coach for second year

Whistler’s Sheila Mozes, the program director for Whistler Gymnastics for seven years before stepping down this summer, was presented with the Recreational Leader of the Year award by Gymnastics B.C. last weekend for her work in developing a preschool coaching program that’s on its way to becoming a national standard.

"We’ve been working for a lot of years on a lot of things, so it’s nice to get the recognition," say Mozes, who was also shortlisted this summer for a 3M Coaching Canada Award.

"We have had a preschool program in Whistler for many years now. Gymnastics B.C. started turning it into a standard program with Ontario a few years ago, and it includes a certification program for coaches who teach preschool gymnastics.

"It looks like it’s going to be picked up by the NCCP (National Coaching Certification Program) which is Canada-wide. We basically tested it in Whistler."

Whistler gymnastics coach Tami Ross, who took over the program director position from Mozes, received the award the previous year for her work in organizing provincial Gymnaestrada events.

"It was fun to follow Tami after we worked together for so many years," says Mozes.

Since she assumed the position of program director seven years ago, Whistler Gymnastics has increased in size to accommodate approximately 250 gymnasts. Another 80 kids participate in the Parks and Recreation Department programs.

Based on those numbers, Whistler boasts one of the highest per capita enrolments in the province. With just 214 kids in the program last year, Whistler was ranked fifth.

A few years ago, Mozes said the club’s biggest concern was finding enough coaches to handle the growing number of participants. "Now we have some excellent new coaches who look like they’re here to say. I’d say now (our biggest concern) is space."

The club is currently based in the Myrtle Philip gymnasium, and coaches have to take down the equipment nightly. With the sport gaining popularity, and with both the recreational and competitive programs turning kids away every year because the classes are already past capacity, Whistler Gymnastics is looking into the possibility of establishing a permanent facility in the future.

While the costs are currently too high, the club is discussing the possibility of a joint facility with other local sports organizations, namely skiing and snowboarding.

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