River City Inclusive Gymnastics offers classes for all athletes

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) – Thursday was golden in gymnastics when Sunisa Lee won the women’s all-round competition for the United States, a few days after superstar Simone Biles withdrew from the competition to focus on her mental health.

The Olympics always inspire young athletes to try sports.

A gym trains gymnasts right here in RVA; Although not known on a national stage, the results of River City Inclusive Gymnastics are just as life-changing.

The gym serves children and adults of all levels. Many children here have been hanging around the gym for a while, like 14-year-old Rocksen Wylie.

“I do gymnastics,” said Rocksen Wylie, a gymnast. “Even when I sit on the couch, I stand in my hand.”

Wylie loves River City Inclusive Gymnastics, a highlight of his week, and it’s a place where he’s really grown as an athlete.

“I like to climb the ropes and make the styrofoam grave,” Wylie said.

It was a dream program for former special needs teachers.

“We want everyone to know that we are structuring our program for these people,” said Mike McGrath, who leads the program. “Someone who has Down Syndrome or someone who has autism, we invite everyone. We want everyone to participate.”

The gym offers an inclusive program that parents say can not just be found anywhere.

“They know what they’re doing,” said parent Neil Patel. “They know the kind of kids, the kind, the needs of children like this, the kind of spectrum. And they’ve adapted their routines and what they demand of them that way, and then the staff just seems to be really worried. And be really pay attention to the students. I do not feel that my son is another number. “

“As a parent of a child with special needs, there are not that many options,” explained mother Joanna Wylie. “Swimming teams and basketball, they have too many directions. Too much noise, too much activity. This he can do at his own pace.”

The focus here is still athletic performance and fun, but also the opportunity for children to participate in sports and work hard towards goals. That part is gold.

Patel noted the ways in which the program has helped his son, “boost his confidence, boost his self-esteem, boost his upper body, strengthen his flexibility (and) motor skills.”

Whatever the participants need to succeed, this gym meets them.

“We provide one-on-one coaching to everyone as long as they need it,” McGrath said. “So the idea is that we want everyone to be as independent as possible, but as long as they need one-on-one help, they get one-on-one help.”

To prove that Mike and this gym are “tumbled” into something very special.

Another special part of this gym is that it does not reject anyone. If your child wants to participate, they are working to find a way, and it is affordable, with scholarships available.

Learn more here by visiting the River City Inclusive Gymnastics website.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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