The Paul Sam multi-purpose complex just off Highway 93/95 north of Invermere's crossroads is the location of the new Glacier Peaks Gymnastic Centre that will see classes for all ages and skill levels begin on September 24. The Shuswap Band will also have access to the complex for cultural events.

Springing from gymnastics to multi-sportsplex

One woman’s dream to open a gymnastics club has morphed into a community’s vision for a multi-purpose sportsplex.

One woman’s dream to open a gymnastics club has morphed into a community’s vision for a multi-purpose sportsplex that could very well end up servicing the entire Columbia Valley.

Offering new gymnastics programs as of September 24, the Glacier Peaks Gymnastic Centre is the brainchild of TC Rogers and her husband Eric, who have just moved to the valley now that their dream to open their own gymnastics club has finally been realized.

“Our initiative immediately is just to get the gym club in there first and get action happening and then to develop a model,” TC said. “There’s a group of people that are pulling together to help put the initiative forward and get the multi-sport complex moving.”

A level three certified women’s gymnastics coach, a level two trampoline and tumbling coach, and a level two men’s gymnastic coach, TC has been coaching gymnastics for 23 years. She competed up to regional championships as an artistic gymnast in the United States before turning to coaching. She moved to Canada in 1993 and continued her coaching in Calgary, as well as developing creative training programs for kids.

What drew her to the Columbia Valley was the advertisement put out by the Columbia Valley gymnastics club in Radium Hot Springs for a new coach. When TC inquired, she discovered the volunteer-run club was proving to be too much of a commitment for the parents involved, and offered to buy the club’s equipment and start a new gym in a bigger space.

The location she managed to secure is the Paul Sam multi-purpose complex just off Highway 93/95 north of Invermere’s Crossroads — about 20,000 square feet — and soon thereafter she was introduced to a group of parents who were beginning talks about forming a non-profit board in order to move the idea of a multi-purpose sportplex forward. Already committed to opening a gym in the new facility, TC and her husband decided it would be ideal to open the building up to other sports and offered to co-ordinate the multi-sport project with the reasoning they had already taken over the facility and would be there all the time regardless.

“The only things we really want to worry about is get the building covered for rent and let’s get the utilities covered, and above and beyond that my husband and I are not looking to make money off of running the multi sport complex idea; that’s not our goal,” TC told The Valley Echo enthusiastically. “Our goal is to be able to provide a facility for the Columbia Valley to be able to have a comprehensive recreation facility so that it’s all in one shot, kind of a one-stop shop instead of having everyone spread out all over the place, and that way there’s kind of a central hub.”

The Glacier Peaks Gymnastic Centre will require about 7,800 square feet, she said, adding that Invermere’s Killer Rollbots roller derby team, which began using the facility to practice earlier this year, has indicated they would remain and were supportive of the initiative. Current coaches and parents running other sport organizations are encouraged to contact TC to figure out how to get involved.

The gymnastic centre is registration-ready and has launched a new website with program details, coaches’ bios, registration and contact information, and the Fall 2012 brochure. Programs for all levels will be offered to all ages from walking to senior, and will run seven days a week.

“There will be all kinds of mats, vaults, bars, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercises and then we also have a brand new state of the art competitive trampoline that’s going to be coming,” said TC. “It’s huge, it’s massive, complete with end decks (for spotting).”

Glacier Peaks will feature all the equipment from the Radium club that’s shutting down now that another program is in place, in addition to a 40 by 40 foot dance floor. While perhaps not in time for when classes start up, the centre will also be getting a 40 by 40 foot Olympic-sized gymnastics floor as well.

“The thing is, if we’re going to do it, we have to do it well,” TC said. “We have to come out with a big bang, and we have to make it so that everybody wants to be a part of this.”

Coming up, TC plans to hold a grand opening when members of the public can drop by for a few hours to check out the gym. She said her long-term vision includes the whole gamut, from outdoor soccer pitches to football fields around the building.

“The whole goal is to make it a community based program, so there’s hub for all these kids,” she said, citing recent statistics whereby children are becoming increasingly more obese and not as active. “If we can work it so we’re

puttying some good back into the community, I think that’s going to be our next step.”

To contact TC, email info@glacierpeaksgymnastics.com or call 250-270-0273. Visit Glacier Peak Gymnastics Centre online at www.glacierpeaks

gymnastics.com.