On June 6 we celebrated our 177th birthday. To comemorate the day, we chatted with the longest standing employee at Y NSW, Natalie Johnston. Natalie has worked at the Y NSW for 25 years.
What drives your commitment to the Y?
I have grown up with a wonderful Y family in gymnastics, I learnt so much, grew so much and have a family for life who I still keep in touch with 20+ years on. The Y also became my home after my gymnastics career, allowing me to work in the industry I love and am passionate about. The Y has a unique and amazing gymnastics program that to this day I still believe in and can see it providing the many opportunities to so many more kids, teens and young adults just like it did for myself.
I want to be able to ensure that what the Y gave to me, that continues and grows and we can continue to keep on passing on the many amazing opportunities to many more in the future.
How has gymnastics changed over the last 25 years?
Gymnastics has grown a lot and developed so much over the years. The equipment and professionalism of the sport has developed 10 fold. We started out with no sprung floor and tumbling on just 2 mats on top of each other to now having full sprung floors in each of our facilities and spring boards that actually spring! In the good old days we used to set up and pack up every day and night before and after class..it was just part of our fitness training! We certainly have come a long way. Our commitment to child protection and implementing processes and procedures that have the safety of the athletes and staff at the forefront of the industry is also a big change but one I am proud that the Y has led the way in. But the one thing that remains and that hasn’t change, is the commitment of our coaches to keep passing on the knowledge and fun that they too have gotten out of the sport.
Earliest Y memory?
My earliest Y memory is doing a gymnastics holiday clinic at the Y, spending all day doing all the stuff I loved, watching all the other older girls doing all these cool tricks and thinking “I want to do that!”. So I did!
Proudest Y moment?
There are a few, all equally as important as the next, but they represent all the parts of the Y that have kept me connected with the Y and the sport over the years.
My first would have to be representing the Y and NSW at each of the Australian National Championships as a gymnast, it was always a goal of mine and I got to do it three times!
The next is coaching kids at competitions, seeing them achieving their goals and doing things they never thought they would be able to do. There has been so many achievements and proud moments along the way from local regional comps to State and National Comps to name just one!
The third is seeing all of the amazing coaches that I taught gymnastics to as little kids and mentored as coaches, now coaching, judging and working at the Y as coordinators and imparting their knowledge to the next generation of kids and giving back every day.
The fourth is seeing my own kids enjoying Gymnastics at the Y! I can’t wait to see my daughter compete in her first competition this year and my son to go into his first Free G Comp in the future!
The last one is judging for the Y at all levels of gymnastics, from local comps to National events. I still love judging and representing the Y at any opportunity I get.
The Y is turning 177! What would you write in the card?
177 years strong! Here’s to the next 177 amazing years and beyond!Back to news