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How to say goodbye?

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bpatient

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Livinatthegym started an interesting thread with a discussion of her daughter's last meet: http://www.chalkbucket.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10017

That made me think about what our daughters must go through when they inevitably become former gymnasts--and that made me think about what we parents can do to help these kids make a graceful transition. Obviously we will each have to help our own daughters, but I wonder what we can do to help other parent's daughters, too.

What do you do at your gym to celebrate the achievements and honor the spirit of those girls who reach the end of their time in the sport?
 

Cascade

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Feb 22, 2007
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At our gym, the graduating seniors get to pick the theme for the year-end banquet and a special time is reserved for each one to be "roasted" by the coaches. There is always a nice article in the newsletter outlining their achievements, which usually includes academic achievements as well. I am amazed every year how many of the graduates are in the top ten in their respective classes despite the long hours spent in the gym. I think it's a pretty nice send-off.
 

Aussie_coach

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Do all your gymnasts leave when they graduate from high school? Why don't they carry on with club gymnastics after high school? Here in Australia most gymnasts who last in the gym until they graduate stay involved with the sport and their club and continue to compete, many get into coaching and/or judging.
 
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bpatient

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At our gym, the graduating seniors get to pick the theme for the year-end banquet and a special time is reserved for each one to be "roasted" by the coaches. There is always a nice article in the newsletter outlining their achievements, which usually includes academic achievements as well. I am amazed every year how many of the graduates are in the top ten in their respective classes despite the long hours spent in the gym. I think it's a pretty nice send-off.
In our region of the US, too, the graduating seniors receive some well-deserved attention, including some recognition at the Level 10 state championship meet. However, I was wondering what some of you may do in your gyms to recognize the efforts of the kids who don't stay with the sport that long.

Almost all of the girls would be in that category. The USA-Gymnastics website now includes information on the age of gymnasts in the US: While the data aren't broken down by discipline, overall it seems that fewer than one in twenty of the joyful little girls in the beginning competitive levels will receive that recognition as graduating seniors: about 2/3 of the girls who progress far enough to join a team in the US quit gymnastics before they become teenagers, and 85% of them leave the sport before their 15th birthday. (Since the statistics include disciplines that may include older participants who have moved from the popular women's program to programs like acro or trampoline and tumbling, the numbers may be even worse for artistic gymnastics.)

I've been trying to think of ways to help the nascent parent's club at my daughter's gym celebrate the efforts of those children. This season I started putting together videos of the meets I happen to attend, but I've only seen the upper level girls; I suppose with (much) more effort by more parents to include footage of more children, it might be possible to present some sort of career highlights for each departing child. The father of one of my daughter's teammates has cheerfully dedicated many weekends to photographing kids at all the levels. While it may not be appropriate to "roast" 11 or 12 year-olds, those materials might make it easier to "toast" them.

I don't want to reinvent the wheel here--I was wondering what sort of celebrations are held in other gyms. It seems to me that we could do something a bit more than offer an end of the year pizza party to kids who have showed a great deal of initiative and discipline, regardless of when they have to leave the sport.
 
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Livinatthegym

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Our gym does nothing. If the girls are old enough and far enough along when they leave, they can get a job coaching rec (my dd1 hopes to). Otherwise, on the last practice, the departing gymnast often brings treats.
 

Cascade

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Feb 22, 2007
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Some of our graduates come back to coach, but the majority are off to college away from the gym. I don't believe anyone continues on with the club in any other capacity after graduation.

I find it sad that some gyms let the girls walk away with nothing other than a goodbye. When you think about the hours spent there over 15+ years, it can't be easy for the girls to just walk away.

BTW, in my earlier post I mentioned the "roasting" but not the "toasting". They get a little bit of both!:)
 

mariposa

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That seems so sad. I guess as a family you could have some kind of a farewell/graduation party and invite who you wanted to. I can't imagine spending all those hours and years in the gym and then just having it end. I think you need some kind of "closure".
 
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