gymnasts-beam-in-inclusive-clubShaking off her belief she couldn’t do the exercise, South Gippsland Specialist School student Maddie Thompson gets ready to flip over the uneven bars at Leongatha Gymnastics Club.

A CLUB looking to finish its ‘inclusion module’ of the Healthy Sporting Environments (HSE) certificate, connections GippSport and Gymnastics Victoria’s Special Olympics combined recently to deliver some classes for the South Gippsland Specialist School’s students.
The students, around 15 at every session, this week completed an eight week course with the Leongatha Gymnastics Club.
Staff from the school support the students as they go through various routines on each piece of equipment.
The trampoline is one of the most popular exercises, while the beam tests balance, the uneven bars upper body strength and tumbling on the mats coordination.
While Leongatha’s coaches Miranda Wilson and Melinda Stephan have been learning on the job and adjusting the program to suit the skills of the participants, the students have also gained motor skill development, core body strength, attention keeping and listening skills – especially in how to perform tasks safely, and have grown in self esteem.
It is hoped some of the students join Leongatha Gymnastics Club for mainstream activities – perhaps even going on to the Special Olympics, of which Gymnastics Victoria is involved.
Leongatha Gymnastics Club’s lead coaches Miranda and Melinda are almost all through their HSE program, an effort that usually takes around two years to complete.
Other modules include: healthy eating, UV protection, tobacco, alcohol and injury prevention.
GippSport has been so impressed with Leongatha Gymnastics Club that along with Gymnastics Victoria is looking at promoting Leongatha as a ‘Champion Club’ for inclusion.
That will see Leongatha Gymnastics Club mentor other clubs across Gippsland on how to be an inclusive club.
The club will also be a key star in the national Social Inclusion Week in November and International Day of People with a Disability celebrations when it hosts a film shoot on site with its star students.
The new video will also be shooting on new matting worth $2000 that the club won as part of its HSE injury prevention module; a need it identified in an audit of the club.