• 59°

CCY Gymnastics campers enjoy learning routines

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Jump. Swing. Vault.

These were some of the favorite moments for young gymnasts at the YMCA of Chilton County’s CCY Gymnastics camp this week.

Instructor Melissa Young said about half of the students had previous experience in gymnastics.

The camp focused on the basics for children ages 5-10, including cartwheels, handstands, rolls and developing strength and skill on the gymnastics equipment.

More than 40 students registered this year.

Addison Barlow, age 8, said this was her first gymnastics camp, but she has been taking classes at the Y.

“I love gymnastics,” Addison said.

She said she has enjoyed “learning new ways to do gymnastics” at the camp.

A highlight for her was learning to do a back hip circle on the gymnast bar. The move requires the gymnast to pull up so her hips are above the bar before pushing back and completing a full rotation around the horizontal bar.

She said this was the most challenging skill so far, but the bars are still her favorite routine.

Tenley Arnett, age 4, said she wanted to participate in the camp because she “loves gymnastics.”

“I love the trampoline, vault and the rope,” Tenley said.

She said she enjoyed playing on the trampoline. The hardest thing for her was “we walk on the big beam, and I’m scared,” Tenley said.

Tenley was not the only one who was nervous on the beam. Young said the beams can be lowered to meet a child’s comfort level.

“I always want to make sure that they are comfortable,” Young said. “If they’re scared, that puts at risk for them to fall. Number one is that they have fun.”

Italy Lopez, age 8, said she wanted to attend the camp “because I knew it was going to be fun.”

“I like doing the bars and vault,” Lopez said.

She said the bars were the most challenging part for her.

Young said the camp is to give children something to do in the summer and encourage interest in gymnastics.

“To get them out, get them active, to meet new friends, just get out here and have fun,” Young said.

Young said the camp helps the children gain confidence.

“When they learn a new skill, their face lights up … I love it,” Young said.

She said her favorite part is getting to work with children and seeing their excitement.

“When they get it, that’s my favorite part — when they finally nail a skill,” Young said.

When a camper successfully completes a new move, they can ring a bell in the practice room to celebrate the occasion.

Instructors also gave out small rewards throughout the week.