Genesis Gymnastics was bursting with life and energy on Sunday, Aug. 28, as they hosted their annual customer appreciation event. Attendees who came to 401 Dissette St. were treated to a BBQ meal, and kids were free to play in the gym under the supervision of parents and coaches.
Business owner Donna Katz was buzzing around the venue, interacting with parents and students, while her own family members helped behind the scenes.
“I’m just showing my gratitude,” Katz says. “I’m so grateful for all the families who put their trust in Genesis Gymnastics throughout the year.”
With 14 staff members, Katz definitely has the support to keep the business going.
Genesis Gymnastics has been serving Bradford and the surrounding communities for almost 10 years. They offer birthday parties, private classes for dancers looking to build on specific skills, summer camps, March break camps, and even holiday camps. Programs at the gym run quarterly; spring, summer, fall, and winter, with 400-500 students enrolling each season. Fall tends to be the busiest time for the business; however, this past summer has been outstanding, according to Katz.
“We host classes for children as early as one year, or just starting to walk, all the way up to adults," she adds.
Another impressive observation is her community involvement. If there is an event in Bradford, you’ll likely see the Genesis Gymnastics signage with Katz happily standing in front of it. Katz jokes, “I can’t go anywhere in town without someone recognizing me as Miss Donna.” Her appreciation for youth goes beyond her students because many of her own staff are teenagers at the high school level in their first jobs. “It’s a great opportunity for them to train in the CIT (Councillor in Training) program and eventually move into a permanent position where they can teach others," Katz explains.
While people enroll in gymnastics for the obvious physical benefits, Katz explains there is much more to it than that.
“It’s definitely the best core sport that helps in all other aspects. For instance, if someone plays hockey and they have gymnastics as a foundation, it helps with their flexibility, their coordination, and their strength. It also builds self-confidence and self-esteem. So, for whatever else you do, taking gymnastics will benefit.”
But it goes even deeper than that; according to Katz, the mental component is even more crucial for everyday balance. She continues, “This is a friendly, safe, and positive place. It’s important, especially for kids, to have healthy and positive minds, and we enforce that with our students because it’s essential for their growth.”
Katz, herself, is a former gymnast. She competed under OFSAA (The Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations) for five years while in high school. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree because Katz’s daughter is also a competitive gymnast who won in the Ontario Provincial Championships a few times and was also the Ontario Beam Champion five years in a row. Katz was very involved with her daughter’s training and even worked at the club she trained at, which started her path of being a gymnastics gym owner. She learned the day-to-day operations and took that knowledge to open her own gym when she moved to Bradford. She reflects, “I didn’t want it to be competitive; I wanted it to be open for everyone. At Genesis, there’s no hierarchy. Everyone’s the same here.”
November will be their tenth anniversary. Katz raved about the Bradford community and how supportive everyone has been since the beginning; even after the two-year pandemic lockdown, which affected her greatly, her customers returned in full force once Genesis reopened. She gratefully states, “I want to help others, and I want to know how I can serve the community better in return.”