The North Canton YMCA gymnastics program was started by Paul Beinlich in the 1970’s where it grew as a “closet” program throughout the 1980’s. A closet program is where the equipment is stored in a closet and set up and torn down daily to run classes and have team practice. In 1983, Colleen Eckel took over the program and it continued to see steady growth. As the program grew it became Colleen’s goal to see the program have its own facility without the need to tear down and set up equipment each day. In 1993, that became a reality when the North Canton YMCA Gymnastics Center opened in Uniontown, Ohio just 7 miles up the road from the YMCA.
That 6500 square foot center allowed for even more growth in the classes and team. The program was soon drawing athletes from an even larger circle of communities. After 7 years in that location, another move brought us to our current location in a larger 18000 square foot facility.
North Canton is where the gymnastics center resides today. The amazing facility was established in 2000, has a dance studio, balcony viewing, 2 spring floors, and a loose foam pit. It was designed so the center could run classes and team practices at the same time serving over 1000 athletes per week. Our incredibly successful team program has over 110 athletes in competitive levels 3-10 and Xcel Gold, Platinum, and Diamond including several National Champions.
In 1977 the booster organization was incorporated to help support the North Canton YMCA Gymnastics Team and the efforts of its athletes, coaches, and the YMCA. Since its inception, continued development and excellence has been the mantra of the North Canton YMCA gymnastics program. To help support this development, the boosters donate over $20,000 worth of equipment and additional financial support for coaches’ training each year. All these efforts help provide the incredible opportunity for these athletes to have the best training and facilities available. After more than 40 years this mantra has become part of the program’s LEGACY. It is more than just teaching cartwheels, the program develops young athletes into strong, confident, and caring adults. The support doesn’t end there, they additionally support the athletes’ development by offering an annual scholarship for eligible graduating seniors.