New Gymnastics Training Center at the Oscar Lasko YMCA

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WEST CHESTER, PA — The YMCA of Greater Brandywine (YGBW) is expanding its gymnastics training center located in the Oscar Lasko YMCA branch in downtown West Chester. The expansion will support the rapidly growing program at the YMCA and will include a custom, full-sized spring floor, a 10-foot tumbling track with raised safety area, two full vault lanes, a permanent preschool set up, additional equipment such as balance beams, and a viewing area for parents, spectators and fans.

Young gymnasts of all ages and abilities have been training at the Oscar Lasko YMCA for close to 40 years. The new training center will be named after Donna Watters, who has been coaching gymnasts at the Oscar Lasko YMCA for more than 35 years. She helps each build their confidence and advance their gymnastics abilities, while leading many to victory.

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For example, at this year’s State Gymnastics Championships, the YGBW competitive team, the GYMCATS, swept the competition. With 11 teams competing, the GYMCATS’ Level 7 team took first place and the GYMCATS Level 3, 4, 6, 8 and platinum teams took second place.

One of the team’s youngest competitors, Emmie Hedgecock, swept states, winning gold in all four events—vault, beam, floor, and bars—as well as taking gold in the All-Around competition. Two Level 7 gymnasts, Jordyn Hanaway and Kristen Cuskey, each placed first in several events. The team’s seniors, Caroline Schweilder and Syndey Taraschi also ended their GYMCATS careers with very strong showings at states.

GYMCATS Head Coach Megan Hartman says, “In spite of the many challenges faced due to COVID-19 this year, our gymnasts showed up as one team with true heart and determination. I’m so proud of their accomplishments and couldn’t be more excited to expand our training facility.”

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“We’ve been training gymnasts at the Oscar Lasko YMCA since 1982,” says Denise Day, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Brandywine. “The lessons that our gymnasts learn from being part of a team to becoming a leader to supporting our community are invaluable. And we couldn’t be more excited to expand the training facility.”

For more information on the capital campaign for the GYMCATS, contact YGBW’s mission advancement office or 610.643.9622, x2153 or missionadvancement@ymcagbw.org. In addition to much-needed general support, there are also sponsorship and naming opportunities.

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