COACHES REPORT  2022                         

This was always going to be a tough year for the club. The continued strain of merging the Gymnastics and Trampoline entities has been a monumental task for everyone on the front line. We have approached the challenge with incredible enthusiasm and patience but with very limited experience in what was required. It seemed, at times, that we would never get a rope on the beast but pleased to say now that there is very positive light at the end of the long tunnel.

The resignation of the then Gymnastics Head Coach in September 2021 was a huge shock. Much work was done to encourage her to stay and re focus on the positives within our new framework but unfortunately, we were not able to come to an amicable agreement. Vicki and I were left wondering who or how we would replace her. A general advertisement through Gymnastics New Zealand saw an application for the position from an ideal candidate in Nisha. She has been exactly what we needed with considerable experience in program management and positivity to match our culture. Since her starting in December 2021 she has been instrumental in redesigning classes, social media promotion and holiday program development among many other things. Our confidence in her management of the gymnastic programs could not be higher.

Lockdowns and the Covid 19 pandemic have created many issues for us as a club. From financial, to emotional, to well-being, our members and staff have been hit very hard. The closure of the club for three weeks resulted in a huge loss of revenue and greater administration costs. The vaccine mandate also resulted in a loss of membership and coaches, all putting a strain on the day to day running of the club. We saw a major reduction in the number of school visits and casual participation as the general public seemed reluctant to engage in sport, a factor now recognised by Sport NZ and Sport Canterbury in the Tu Manawa fund. The past two years has seen ICE Gymsports benefit greatly from this funding source, specifically the Jump Smart program.

The Jump Smart program, guided by Kate Wallace, has been a success story for ICE Gymsports that we are very proud of. Increasing numbers of participants, with vision to now include group sessions has lifted our profile in the community and delivered much needed support for those families and children with special needs. Plans to develop sensory groups in our upstairs office space, along with a successful trial of “Jump Smart Outreach” that takes the program directly into schools, are exciting additions. 

Having the full use of the upstairs office has made the life of our administrators considerably better. We now have designated staff areas, a shared meeting space and a permanent uniform display.   

As the North Canterbury Sport and Recreation Trust exited the building there became a greater need to become more self-sufficient to survive. Recognising that the greatest inhibiting factor for schools to participate in our programs was the cost of transport an ambitious project was launched to own our own passenger bus. An application through Rata Foundation saw us granted $20K, enough to purchase a bus and have it sign written into a moving billboard. With the bus now a reality, promotion throughout the North Canterbury schools has been very well received. We are expecting a huge increase in school visits for Term 3 and 4 this year among other new initiatives.

One of the most important developments over the past year has been our work with the Waimakariri District Council to purchase our building and offer it back to us on a “Lease to Buy” agreement. We are very close to having this signed off by the council, with a lease of 15 years including a right of purchase on completion for a very nominal figure. This could not be better for us as a club, setting us up for the future.

 One of the most disappointing things about the past 12 months has been the lack of international competitions. Our senior trampoline squad has missed the opportunities to travel and has resulted in declining motivation. The exciting result last week was Bronwyn winning a silver medal in a World Cup DMT event in Portugal. Mid July she competes for NZ at the World Games. I look forward to seeing our international squad having increasing opportunities from now on.

We have now been able to grow enough to employ another full-time staff member, taking us up to four. Kristina Sammut comes to us with a history in competitive trampoline and gymnastics, along with sport facility management. Already she is making quite a difference with recreational gymnastics and the MAG program.

 ICE Gymsports is very lucky to have an awesome base of recreational coaches both on the Trampoline and Gymnastics sides. Our current gymnastics coaches are Amber, Ella, Lily and Caroline.  Trampoline coaches are Millie, Lucy, Jessica, Alexandra and Braida. These dedicate coaches are our backbone and deserve special praise for their amazing enthusiasm and willingness to help us out with filling in when sickness has been so common. Thanks to John Howe for stepping up to the Canterbury Team’s Head Trampoline coaches’ position at this year’s Nationals. Congratulations also to Basil Buwalda who has been an inspiration this year with his coaching, and who has been rewarded with the opportunity to represent ICE as a coach at this year’s National Championships.

Our number of volunteer judges has greatly increased this year. Newly qualified junior judges for us are Lucy, Grant & Ilonka, elementary qualifications passed by Lexi, Melanie, Millie and Liesel. The ICE National judges are Ken, Tracey, Justine and Bronwyn and huge admiration for Vicki who retained her International Brevet status this year.

Our new branding, including the repainting of the front of the building and internal signage have made the facility our own. Coupled with our bus promotion and increased social media presence our profile in North Canterbury is rapidly growing. Thanks to signbiz for the above and beyond effort on our signage.

Vicki has seen her patience and knowledge stretched in her role as administration manager. Getting to grips with two accounting systems, before merging them, has been a real challenge and she deserves high praise for her constant dedication to getting it right. Managing the accounts for nearly 400 families with the incredibly detailed accuracy required would have been a challenge for the most experienced data analysist. The next year should be considerable better as her confidence in the role grows.     

The work of Ken and the Board is always appreciated, to have such a positive and supportive perspective on the work we do is very encouraging. In these times of increasing pressure on everybody’s time, your valuable volunteer commitment to the club is hugely beneficial to our members and the continued opportunities to offer and promote Gymnastic sports in North Canterbury.   

 Nigel Humphreys.