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"It’s such a good atmosphere here. It’s easy for the whole family to be together and we love the coaches."

A Family of Y Gymnasts
A Family of Y Gymnasts Chanelle has four children enrolled in the Y's gymnastics program at Bankstown.

Carter was just two years old when Chanelle spotted signs that he’d inherited the ‘gymnastic gene’ that saw her training as a rhythmic gymnast for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

The 38-year-old mother of six said the sport had always run in the family bloodline. So it’s no surprise to now have four children interested in developing their gymnastics skills which led them to the Y’s Gymnastic Program at Bankstown.

“Carter started showing a natural talent when he was just two and it was a similar story for the other three: Summer, Coco and Mayson,” Chanelle said. “They were climbing and doing cartwheels and handstands early on – they were always upside down! I started them off at Kindergym which they enjoyed and the boys loved watching Ninja Warrior on TV.”

“I came across the Y when we moved to the area. I didn’t know what was around so I searched online, initially for rock-climbing for Carter. That’s when I came across the Y’s programs and realised they had one for gymnastics,” she said.

Fast forward and Chanelle now has four children enrolled in the Y’s program at different classes, including Level 1, KinderNinja and holiday programs. She says the community spirit and environment is a practical and safe way she can help her children be active and grow.

“As a mum of six with a baby in the pram, it’s hard to go to a playground. There’s no fence, it’s outdoors and it’s hard to keep an eye on them. Coming to the Centre, I feel safe and can relax and I can see how much the older ones really love it,” Chanelle said.

“There are so many benefits for them. For starters, it gets them out of the house. On the social side, they’ve made friends and they get to strengthen their bodies. It’s important to me that they’re active rather than sitting in front of devices.”

When they were little, Chanelle said she’d join in which helped get her body moving. Today, Chanelle’s favourite part is watching her children acquire new skills and accomplish new challenges.

“I remember the first time Carter climbed all the way to the top of the rope. He would have been four at the time – super tiny – but always so strong. He didn’t stop and didn’t hesitate,” she said. “Summer just experienced her first competition. My husband and I took the whole family because we all wanted to watch. Summer got ribbons at the end and was so excited. Every time one of my children conquers new obstacles is memorable, and it brings back memories for me too.”

“All I want for my children though is to be healthy, happy and confident individuals. Whatever that looks like and what they choose to do, I really believe in early intervention and inputting while they’re young. We build the foundations of their confidence, resilience persistence – they can develop these with gymnastics,” said Chanelle.

Asked for her advice for those without her gymnastics pedigree, Chanelle says everyone can benefit from enrolling their children in the Y’s Gymnastics program.

“You don’t have to come from gymnastics background to start. It’s all about games and fun things and colours and counting. The kids are doing gymnastics, but right from start it’s about being active and getting the body moving. It’s great for all levels and helps give kids confidence,” she said. 

“It’s such a good atmosphere here. It’s easy for the whole family to be together and we love the coaches. I can drop my kids off knowing they will be safe and have fun.”

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