Gymnastics Academy in need of coaches

By Allan Bradbury
Staff Writer

Rainy Lake Gymnastics Academy (RLGA) is putting out a call for those interested in coaching with the club. Current coaches recently completed certification training.

According to RLGA president Jessica Ogden the only thing holding the club back from accepting new students is the fact that they don’t have enough coaches.

“Now that we have a building of our own, thanks to the Beyak Automotive Group’s partnership with us, the only limiting factor in the number of classes we can run is the number of coaches available,” said Ogden. “We tried our best to accept everyone who wanted to participate in gymnastics this season, however not everyone on the waiting list could be accommodated. Every week we get messages from parents wanting to sign up their children, and with more coaches we can offer enough classes for everyone who wants to join.”

Coach Rachel Willcott got involved with coaching because she wanted to help diversify the activity options available for kids in the area.

“I got involved with the club because I wanted to help bring something different to the community that I felt so many children wanted and would be excited to participate in,” Willcott said. “I’m hoping that the Rainy Lake Gymnastics Academy will be here for a long time and that I can be part of it for years to come, therefore I am willing to do as much as I can to make sure that happens.”

According to a press release from RLGA there is no prior experience required, you just have to be 15 years old. The release says they would like to have people who have previous experience working with children or in gymnastics but those would be considered an asset.

There is a certain amount of training required but RLGA is willing to help with training. They will cover first aid and CPR training as well as the required Gymnastics Ontario training which starts with about six hours of online training. Prospective coaches are also required to pass a vulnerable sector check and RLGA wants a commitment of two or more hours per week during the gymnastics season, which runs from September to May.

Coaches are also compensated based on the level of training they have finished. Pay starts at minimum wage and increases as coaches do more training. A group of coaches recently went through a coaching course in Fort Frances.

“Usually, we would have to travel to Thunder Bay or farther for this training,” explained Ogden. “We’re so thankful to Laura Arpin for driving from Red Lake to offer this training for us; it made it much easier for our coaches to advance their qualifications with Gymnastics Ontario by attending a course locally. If there’s enough interest, we hope to host another training session in the summer to prepare coaches for next season.”

Anyone interested in becoming a coach with RLGA can attend an information session 6:30-7:30 p.m. on March 24, 2022 at the academy, 248 Scott St. in Fort Frances. For more information people can contact Jessica Ogden at 807-276-4428 or by email at