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Region 8 Mini-Congress: USAG National’s Mini-Me.

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Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Not to be confused with Salem, Massachusetts where they held the witch trials of the late 1600’s, Winston-Salem is 792 miles southward down the coast and 61 years younger. Settled in 1753, that still makes Winston-Salem pretty old by American standards. The city was originally settled by the Moravian Church (German Protestants) and is now said to be the most religious city in the state of North Carolina!

Mike and Kappy went for the Region 8 Mini-Congress June 8 – 10! 

Mike and Kappy really enjoy taking GMR Gymnastics Sales on the road to the USA Gymnastics Congresses at both the national and the regional levels.

The main reason they love a good Congress is that they get to meet: You! Going to a convention is their chance to get out of the office and connect with customers and friends old and new! Mike and Kappy love to keep their ear to the ground and stay on top of what’s happening out in the community and in gymnastics clubs around the country, if not the world. Social media allows for some of that, as do email and phone orders, but none of it is this same as meeting up face to face and shooting the, uh, stuff.

What mats do you need? What programs are most popular at your club these days? How is your pit holding up? What equipment do you feel you are missing? Do you have any questions? Is there anything I can help you with? These are Mike and Kappy’s opportunities to get out and ask and answer. These are your opportunities to come out and ask and get answers!

National Congresses are cool and all because we get to meet folks from all over, but not everyone can afford to pay to drag their gym staff across the country or free them up from the gym to go to a national gymnastics congress.

That’s why regional mini-congresses are so special!

At a mini-congress, they’re held within the states that comprise that region. For men’s gymnastics in the southeast region 8 is: Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi. It’s the same for women with the addition of Louisiana. The regional congress, like the national congress, tries to move the mini-congress around in an effort to make it more accessible to people. So, depending on where it is, logically, you get a higher participation rate of folks who are closer to where the convention is held.

This year we saw more folks who were closer to the top of the region. So, less Floridians, but more North Carolinians. According to Mike and Kappy, the highest participation rates are when it’s held more centrally in Atlanta where it’s an short drive or an easy flight to a major airport hub.

Mike and Kappy said Winston-Salem is a lovely town and, as always, the second shiniest part of attending a congress, besides talking shop, is novel dining opportunities found in an exotic location. This year’s chow down included Miss Ora’s fried chicken and Athena Taverna for greek food. Hard to go wrong with either one of those, really.

Kappy reports, “The Benton Convention center was wall to wall windows, really lovely with lots of natural light. Beautifully done.” That’s high praise coming from Kappy. “Mike put out our new Dawn Mat in the middle of the floor and people really seemed to take an interest in it.”

Mike added, “I was really impressed with how many young, new coaches were there. They were really jazzed and enthusiastic about about going to the sessions and intent on learning what they could.”

According to Mike, there were a few new rules changes to learn, in addition to innovations in techniques and drills, in that they offered a judges course for the new USAG women’s gymnastics age group rules. Mike and Kappy are both excited to see a lot of new energy and vigor toward coaching in our beloved sport of gymnastics!


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