Gymnastics WA has used a new freestyle gymnastics program called FreeG as a base from which to engage at risk youth from disadvantaged backgrounds.
FreeG gets your body moving in ways never thought possible by fusing traditional gymnastics and freestyle movement tricks, with acrobatic kicks and leaps. Teaching participants to move between A and B to overcome obstacles in stylish, effective and creative ways is what it’s all about.
Gymnastics WA received a Youth Engagement Scheme (YES) grant for $20,000 and partnered with the Western Australian Police and Community Youth Centres to run the program.
Sessions were run on Saturday evenings at Fremantle PCYC. The nights included FreeG, a healthy dinner, life-skills workshops and bus pickup and drop-offs for the participants.
The FreeG progam enabled youth aged eight – 14 from the local area to engage in fun and highly active gymnastics sessions.
They were able to challenge themselves and learn fancy flips on the trampoline, different types of vaults over obstacles and bar skills from experienced coaches.
After only a few sessions it became clear that learning how to do a backflip was the most popular move as 14-year-old participant Marcus said: “my favourite thing in FreeG was when I first learnt the backflip”.
Engaging life-skills workshops were delivered by local service providers such as headspace Fremantle, Fremantle Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service and OM Power Yoga.
These covered topics such as kindness, respect, healthy minds and mindfulness exercises.
Over half of the participants in the program were Aboriginal and it provided a safe environment for young people to improve their wellbeing and self-esteem.
YES is an initiative of the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.