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The Y partners with North Atlantic Gymnastics Academy


Gymnastics Begins Anew at the CLC YMCA on Monday Afternoons Beginning February 1, 2016

The CLC YMCA is thrilled to announce their partnership with North Atlantic Gymnastics Academy (NAGA). NAGA will run a Develomental Gymnastics program for children ages 1 through 10 years. Owner Jonas Contakos states, "We believe that gymnastics can be enjoyed by children of all ages and is a wonderful tool for teaching both physical and cognitive life skills".

Jonas Contakos has been coaching gymnastics for over 18 years and is a professional member of USA Gymnastics. He has coached all ages and all skill levels from 6 month old to college aged, elite level competitors. He was the assistant coach for the Ithaca College women’s program for four years and has managed two separate competitive gymnastics programs and coached for a variety of camps and schools throughout the country. Jonas has a B.A. in Physics, a M.S. in bioengineering and in 2013 he received his Ph.D. in motor learning and development with a specific focus on gymnastics education. He has lectured internationally and has published papers on the biomechanics of gymnastics. He is a trained stunt player for stage and screen and is certified with both the United Stuntmen’s Association and the Society of American Fight Directors.

Jonas' wife Stacey Contakos started her competitive gymnastics career at the age of 5. She competed as an optional gymnast in the Junior Olympic program during high school and continued her tenure competing for Ithaca College where she was a four time All-American and a NCGA national champion team member. After her NCAA eligibility was completed, Stacey continued to compete for the University of Illinois club program while she attended veterinary school winning 2nd in the country at the club nationals in 2006. Stacey is a Professional Member of USA Gymnastics and for the last 20 years has coached gymnasts of all levels from recreational to optional level competitive Junior Olympic gymnasts. She currently owns and practices veterinary medicine at The Camden Hospital for Animals.

In researching all options for moving forward with a quality, sustainable gymnastics program which follows the CLC YMCA mission and its vision for the future, Jonas and NAGA met the criteria. "All change presents opportunity and that is exactly how we are looking at the current gymnastics transition at the Y. This was a chance to revisit and take a fresh look at everything from the existing gymnastics space, to unmet need in the community, to the times we offer practices and how could we best utilize a space that is dedicated to the program but also allows for multi-use," states Joe Clark, CLC YMCA Senior Program Director. Partnering with NAGA allows the Y to rebuild for the future by focusing on the base of any successful gymnastics program - a developmental program. If the opportunity presents itself with sufficient numbers, the Y may take the next step in developing a team.

Beginning Monday, Feb. 1, 5:30-6:15pm, Naga will offer a Sandpipers class for boys and girls ages 3-5 years (age 1-3 with parent participation). Each class has a motor and stimulation theme that is supplemented with music, props, and a combination of gross and fine motor skills. The class provides an opportunity for both guided motor learning and free exploration where our pre-school gymnasts will have the opportunity to learn rolls, cartwheels, jumps and swings. Parents of our younger participants (ages 1-3) will discover new ways to interact with their young movers while they explore the world of gymnastics. One of the goals of the class for our older gymnasts is to find success independently as parent participation is not required for ages 3-5.

Also on Mondays from 3:30-4:30pm NAGA will offer a class for girls ages 5 to 7. Although many of the same themes are present from the Sandpipers classes, the focus shifts from general motor learning to a more specific gymnastics motor learning. Children in this class will learn the fundamentals of the floor exercise, the balance beam, the uneven bars and the vault exercise outlined by USA Gymnastics.

The third class offered is for girls ages 8-10 years from 4:30-5:30pm on Mondays. This class is designed in such a way that both girls with previous experience and those new to the sport will find success. Girls in this class will expand their knowledge of strength and flexibility as it applies to gymnastics and will learn both fundamental and more advanced skills on the floor, balance beam, uneven bars and vault.

Because the NEW gymnastics program is beginning at the half way mark of the CLC YMCA program session, NAGA and the Y is offering the program FREE through to the end of February to those who registered for the full session and have been patiently waiting as the Y and NAGA created their partnership. The next full session gymnastics will begin the first week of March. For more information, please go towww.clcymca.org or contact Joe Clark, Senior Program Director at jclark@clcymca.org.


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