Not happy with where USA Gymnastics was heading and frustrated that gymnastics club owners voices were not being heard by the USA Gymnastics board of directors, a few prominent club owners from around the country came together to discuss how they can begin to resolve these issues.
In July of 2018, these club owners met and started what is now know as the US Gymnastics Club Owners Association.
According to their website, the mission of the USGCOA is;
The mission of this organization is to provide an outlet for gymnastics club owners to have their collective voices heard, in the course of providing education on sportsmanship, health and fitness, and honest competition within the sport of gymnastics, and furnishing labor, services and delivering monetary assistance to individuals and organizations in the amateur gymnastics’ community.
The USGCOA Board of Directors is made up of the following individuals;
- Kelli Hill – President
- Sandy Flores – Vice President
- Kim Thomson – Treasurer
- Denise Dalton – Secretary
- Cassie Rice – Region 1 Rep.
- Brent Phelps – Region 2 Rep.
- Jeff Beal – Region 3 Rep.
- Scott Roberts – Region 4 Rep.
- Don McPherson – Region 5 Rep.
- Tony Retrosi – Region 6 Rep.
- Lindsey Stancil – Region 7 Rep.
- Brad Harris – Region 8 Rep.
- Tom Koll – Program Advisor (non-voting)
- Claudia Kretschmer – USA Gymnastics Liasion (non-voting)
The Regions include the following states;
- Region 1: CA, AZ, UT & NV
- Region 2: WA, AK, HI, MT, ID & OR
- Region 3: TX, AR, CO, KS, NM, OK & WY
- Region 4: MO, NE, IA, WI, ND, MN & SD
- Region 5: IL, IN, KY, MI & OH
- Region 6: NY, VT, NH, ME, MA, CT & RI
- Region 7: DE, NJ, PA, VA, WV & MD
- Region 8: AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC & TN
Tony Retrosi; Head Coach & Owner of Atlantic Gymnastics Training Centers, USGCOA Region 6 Representative, Chairman of the US Elite Coaches Association, and the Education Director for USAIGC/IAIGC, feels that the USA Gymnastics board of directors needs to hear directly from club owners when implementing and/or updating rules and policies.
“Rules put in place by the NGB of gymnastics have an effect on our businesses. There are somethings we cannot have a voice in, rules mandated by the FIG, but other rules we should have a voice in.” states Tony.
Gym Blog Central was able to speak with Kelli Hill; Owner & Head Coach of Hill’s Gymnastics Training Center, USGCOA President, and Olympic Coach, to learn more about the organization…
GBC: Whose idea was it to start the USGCOA and why?
KH: A group of club owners were chatting online about needing a voice to help the 99% of the gymnastics population that has nothing to do with the elite population.
GBC: What was the turning point when the founding members felt it was necessary to start the USGCOA?
KH: A meeting was organized at a hotel in Indianapolis to discuss how to proceed. USGCOA was formed from those discussions.
GBC: To date, how many USA Gymnastics member clubs have joined your organization?
KH: There are currently 120 charter members, 3 standard members, and 4 industry members.
GBC: Charter membership is currently $1,000 compared to a Club membership of $225 with USA Gymnastics. Why is membership with USGCOA so much higher?
KH: We originally posted on social media asking for 60 clubs to donate a $1000,00 to help us with legal start up fees for the 501c3 corporation and for the branding. The response was overwhelming. We extended the opportunity to be a charter member until 12-31-2018. To date we have 120 charter members. The standard membership fee will be $350. As of 1-1-2019
GBC: What does the USGCOA provide to its members, club owners, now and in the future?
KH: Our primary goal is to provide a voice for the club owners.
Other ways that we are supporting club owners includes fund raising for clubs that are in crisis, education for proactive coaching, and negotiating industry discounts.
GBC: How is the USGCOA’s voice heard with the USA Gymnastics board?
KH: The USGCOA is currently communicating by letters to the USAG Board of Directors, as well as conference calls with members of the USAG board and with members of the Advisory Council. We are also communicating with the USAG Safe Sport Department. We also have a USAG liaison that sits on our board as well as the advisory council.
GBC: Has the USGCOA thought about taking over as the NGB for gymnastics? Why or why not?
KH: It has never been our intention to become the NGB for gymnastics. Our MISSION is to support club owners. We are not afraid to lead but we would serve the community better as a conduit between club owners and USAG or the next NGB if necessary. Our combined hope is for the survival and healthy restructure of USA Gymnastics.
GBC: Has the USGCOA reached out to USA Gymnastics and offered any support during this time of turmoil?
KH: The USGCOA has offered USA Gymnastics support thru the national board and regional offices. We are willing to help in any way that we can.
GBC: How can the USGCOA support USA Gymnastics during its current state of disorganization and in the future?
KH: The USGCOA can help and support USA Gymnastics by staying bonded as a community.
GBC: Don McPherson is a current board member and has stated what could be construed as negative comments about Nassar survivors on social media. Has that affected your organization in any way & what has been done to rectify these perceptions?
KH: I am aware of Don’s posts and I believe that they have been misunderstood.
Don is a huge supporter of athlete safety. I have asked that Don refrain from posting on social media because of the misinterpretations.
GBC: Tell me more about the 2019 Owners Summit? (What is it, when is it, where is it and what can members expect from it.)
KH: The Owners Summit will be a gathering of club owners to share ideas focused on business needs and the needs of our community. The Summit will be held October 5th & 6th 2019 in Las Vegas.
GBC: What other benefits can club owners receive as a USGCOA member?
KH: Benefits of the USGCOA include: an opportunity to have a voice in the gymnastics community, opportunity to have in put, a way to share ideas and experiences, financial support to clubs in crisis, and industry discounts.
GBC: What does the USGCOA have planned for the future (to support gymnastics, club owners, etc.)?
KH: The USGCOA hopes to expand and grow all of the above ideas in order to represent the club owners at the highest level and with the utmost integrity.
To become a member of the USGCOA or for more information click here.
Brad Harris; Owner of Tampa Bay Turners, Region 8 Junior Olympic Committee Chairman, & Region 8 USGCOA Representative, explains why he become a Charter and Board Member, “As a (USA Gymnastics) member club owner in the US, I felt like we needed a representative association to provide a voice. I feel as if the USGCOA will be that voice. When asked to be a Board Member of the newly formed USGCOA, I was honored. My main goal is to assist the current or reorganized federation in keeping our current JO and Xcel systems in place.”
Following is a list of current Charter Members (Clubs) who all donated a $1,000.00 to offset the costs of start up for the USGCOA;
10.0 Gymnastics – Texas
360 Gymnastics – Florida
Advantage – Washington
Aerial – Illinois
Aeriel East – Virginia
Aftershock – California
AGA – California
AIM – Washington
All Star Gymnastics – Louisiana
Arctic Gymnastics – Alaska
Arizona Sunrays – Arizona
Atlantic – New Hampshire
Auburn Gymnastics – Washington
Beaches Gymnastics – Florida
Black Hills – Washington
Blue Ribbon Sports – Kentucky
Bothell – Washington
Branch Gymnastics – Michigan
Brown’s Gymnastics – Nevada
Butler Gymnastics – Pennsylvania
Byers – California
Carter’s Gymnastics – Arizona
Cascade Elite – Washington
CCGI – California
Centre Elite Gymnastics – Pennsylvania
Chantilly Academy – DC
Charter Oaks – California
Cincinnati Gymnastics – Ohio
Clarksville Elite – Tennessee
Classic – Minnesota
Coach Patty Gymnastics – California
Desert Gymcats – Nevada
Docksiders – Maryland
Dream Xtreme – California
Dynamics – Washington
Elite Gymnastics Academy – Minnesota
Elite Gymnastics Academy – Florida
Emerald City Gymnastics – Washington
Energym – Illinois
Excalibur Gymnastics – Virginia
Flex Gymnastics – Wisconsin
Flight School – California
Flip For Me Gymnastics – Nevada
Flips USA – Nevada
GAGE – Missouri
Garlands – Washington
Ground Zero – Washington
GSSC – Washington
Gym 406 – Montana
Gym America – Michigan
Gym East – Washington
Gym Nevada – Nevada
Gym Olympica – California
Gym Plus – Washington
Gym-Fit Sports Center – North Carolina
Gym-Nest – Iowa
Gymcats – Nevada
Gymfinity – Wisconsin
Gymnastics Academy of Charleston – South Carolina
Gymnastix Training Center – Georgia
GymQuarters Gymnastics – Missouri
Gymsport Athletic Center – Pennsylvania
Gymtowne Gymnastics – California
Hart’s Gymnastics – Washington
High Sierra – Nevada
Hill’s Gymnastics – Maryland
Huntsville GC – Alabama
Kentucky Gymnastics – Kentucky
LaFleur’s Gymnastics – Wisconsin
Lone Mountain – Montana
Lone Star – Texas
Mid America – Missouri
Mid Columbia – Washington
Missouri Elite Gymnastics – Missouri
Motion Matrix – Oregon
Oasis – Arizona
Ocean Tumblers – Virginia
Olympia Gymnastics – Missouri
Olympia Hills – Texas
Pacific West Gymnastics – California
Park Avenue – Florida
Parkettes – Pennsylvania
Port City – North Carolina
Precision Gymnastics – California
Premier Gymnastics – Nebraska
Prestige Gymnastics – Pennsylvania
Rainbow Gymnastics – Hawaii
Rising Stars – Minnesota
Rising Stars – Washington
River City – Alaska
San Mateo – California
Sapphire Gymnastics – Iowa
SCATS – California
SCEGA – California
Spokane Gymnastics – Washington
Sun Country Sports – Florida
SWAG – Washington
Tampa Bay Turners – Florida
Texas East Gymnastics – Texas
The Turn Around – Iowa
Top Notch TC – Georgia
Twin City Twisters – Minnesota
Twistars – Michigan
Twisters – California
Ultimate Performance – Wisconsin
USA Youth Fitness Center – Arizona
Vision – Alabama
Vitaly Scherbo – Nevada
Win-Win Gymnastics – Maryland
X-Cel Gymnastics – Pennsylvania
Xtreme – Missouri