Special Introduction from Jen, Affinity Gymnastics Founder
The Affinity Invitational is DEFINITELY the highlight of my year as club founder. It started with a desire to bring the Affinity ethos to competitive gymnastics.
Competition has historically been the way gymnasts get to display their skills away from their club and training sessions. As you may well do to, I personally have a background competing in gymnastics as a child and young person and I know I gained a lot from the experience. I loved having something to work towards, loved performing on the day and supporting my team mates. To do something that lets be honest, was a bit nerve-wracking or challenging at times but felt great afterwards and gave me great confidence in myself and my abilities. It really helped shape a lot of the qualities in me that have been key in my success as an adult.
However, traditionally gymnastics competition has been SERIOUSLY formal. No talking. No helping during performances. MEGA tenseness and competitiveness between competing gymnasts and clubs. WAY too much pressure on gymnasts to remember routines and do them perfectly and win medals. Oh and of course the need to be training lots and lots of hours to have this outlet.
Affinity as a club, turns all this on its head. As you may know (and if you haven’t met us yet, we look forward to sharing this with you), we’re all about fun, kindness, friendliness, support and rewarding everyone’s skills and best efforts – no matter what that is. So the Affinity Invitational Competition is our opportunity to bring this ethos to competition. It’s aimed at your gymnastics-loving recreational gymnasts - particularly for those that may not have competed before. I am super proud and excited to be leading a NEW way of gymnastics competition AND for that to include gymnasts who train as little as one hour a week.
This year, following our exit from British Gymnastics, I am super excited to be able to also broaden out the event to welcome gymnasts and clubs to join us from our new UKG family. Or in fact any gymnasts who hold relevant insurance cover to attend – hello dance schools, BG clubs, parkour clubs, school clubs, anyone and everyone is welcome! Gymnastics really IS for all and I’m really proud to be able to facilitate this.
Kind regards and cartwheels
Jennifer Page, Affinity Founder and Chief Invitational Enthusiast
There are three levels of competition (Bronze, Silver and Gold) depending on the amount of training gymnasts do per week. Gold level gymnasts will be on the Saturday afternoon, bronze on the Sunday with Silver level gymnasts split across both days depending on age (we intend younger gymnasts on Sunday and older on Saturday). Gymnasts can enter floor or trampette or both - they are judged separately.
Co-ed competing groups!
We see no reason why boys and girls at this level should be judged separately. We started this last year and shall continue into 2020. Everyone is combined into relevant age categories with both boys and girls together - after all, we're all doing the same skills and train together, why should we compete separately? Plus it helps with....
Equal competing groups!
Up until now, gymnasts all across the world have competed in age groups split by one or more birth years. This can result in some very large competing categories in some years and some very small ones in others based on who enters - it's uneven by nature. We're not going to stay limited by this and instead, we'll take everyones DOB, list all the gymnasts out then split into as equal as possible competing categories from there. We're aiming for 10-15 gymnasts per category allowing each gymnast the same medal chances as anyone else.
Event t-shirts are back!!!
...... but you’ll have to wait to find out the colour.
Event marshals and other support team – we need you!
We’re aiming to host 500 gymnasts across 5 rounds of competition. Each round will have 6 apparatus set ups running at the same time. To make all run smoothly we need LOADS of help – and it’s great fun to get involved. We’ll need helpers to be apparatus marshals (this is helping organise everyone into the right places at the right time), door staff (who check in the spectator tickets), scorers (someone good at excel inputting) and general helpers (for the all important tea run and to make sure our busy team actually eat). We provide all the training and guidance (I must say we have a great set of ‘how to’ guides for each role) and apparatus marshals will also be provided with rather fetching affinity t-shirts. You’ll be able to make your gymnast jealous with that....
DE photo are back - and they are mega excited. Steve (their leader) says our competition is his most favourite one he's been to (and he attends gymnastics events every month). He loves the fun and friendly atmosphere and us fabulous people there (well of course!)
Walk the red carpets to the presentation zone to collect your medals to massive rounds of applause.
" What a wonderful time my daughter had. Thought it was well organised, fun and not as scary as she thought it would be! Feel really proud that she is part of Affinity, you are all amazing teachers, you have such great patience and really give her such encouragement to try challenging things. Thank you to you all! Look forward to next years competition."
" My son had a great time. I think this competition is an excellent idea to give the beginners a chance to compete and show how great they are."
" Over the moon!! Two very happy boys… very proud!!"
" The group warm up was great to watch and seemed to ensure that all the gymnasts really enjoyed it. Watching the actual event and seeing how well my daughter had developed
" Thank you so much a fabulous day on Sunday. Of course now my daughter really has the bug and wants to do more gymnastics!...it was so lovely to see all the children having such a great time and she glowed all afternoon. It's really given her a much needed confidence boost."
" I thought how lovely it was that every gymnast received a certificate and were made to feel special. It had a very warm and welcoming family feel to the whole day."
"Just seeing my child compete with her team mates and thoroughly enjoying the whole day. Despite not winning a medal she came away with the biggest smile.
It was so well organised. My daughter became really nervous when we arrived up until she took part. The staff were amazing with her and she left saying she couldn’t wait for next year
You could see the gymnasts clearly (good view from stands). Liked the special awards at the end as this was very inclusive.
Entry includes a special event t-shirt and costs:
£20 for 2 pieces (Floor AND Trampette)
£15 for 1 piece (Floor OR Trampette)
Please note that entries are accepted on a first-come-first-served basis as places are limited and unfortunately we will be unable to accept late entries.
Scoring - this involves entering scores into an excel spreadsheet, straightforward but attention to detail needed.
Door staff – you’ll need to arrive 30min before the start of the round and check in spectator tickets on an app you can download to your phone.
Apparatus Marshals/door staff - This involves organising gymnasts in the right place at the right time, alongside the coaches. Plus before the round you'll be helping check in ticket holders. (We'll need your t-shirt size for this role)
We'll give all training needed for these, all we need are people ready to help! Please let us know what you can do.
No, the weekend will be divided into 5 rounds of competition. You’ll only need to be there for your gymnasts slot, each of which will be around 2-3 hours long. We anticipate running a similar timetable to last year. eg please see timings from last year.
PLEASE NOTE THIS IS LAST YEARS SCHEDULE - AND IS JUST FOR INFORMATION ONLY - depending on the ages and levels of gymnasts that enter this year - the schedule could look very different.
Wodson Park, Wadesmill Road, Ware, SG12 0UQ.
It will be held over 2 days 14-15 March 2020.