JOYS Gymnastics began nearly fifty years ago as a program with the Michiana YMCA. Mrs. Kathy Brothers (aka Mrs. B) was our program’s first (and to date, only) Head Coach. When selecting a name for the program, she chose JOYS because the team listened to “Ode to Joy” while practicing in the gym. Over the next four decades, the gymnastics program grew to include a thriving class program serving the community’s youth, as well as an award-winning competitive team.
Then, in 2012, the Michiana YMCA made the difficult decision to end its gymnastics program. We, the parents, both for classes and team, knew how vital an affordable gymnastics program was, not only to our children but to the entire community. We begged, we pleaded, we asked the community for their support through media outlets . . . and the YMCA graciously agreed to allow us to continue to utilize their facilities through the Spring; giving us time to find a new home.
But with no corporate affiliation, we were now on our own. We would have to handle our own registration, payroll, scheduling, insurance billing; we would have to generate the revenue to buy a new home. And we were just a group of parents with full-time jobs and little experience in running our own company. But the one thing we all agreed on . . . we would not let JOYS Gymnastics fail.
Thankfully, many offered to assist us. The South Bend Parks and Recreation Department added our program to their activities listing and assisted us in the registration for our classes. thus broadening our exposure in the community. The Law Department at Notre Dame offered us the assistance of their graduate students to help us with legal issues. And, most amazing of all, Gymnastics Michiana (our friendly rival) allowed our team to practice at their gym, at no charge, until we found a new facility!
Even with all this support, summer came, we could no longer use the facilities at the YMCA, and we still had not found a new building. We needed something centrally located, big enough for all of our equipment – and most of all – affordable! Should we rent, lease or buy? So many decisions! And would the “kids” wait for us to find a new home – or would they move on?
Finally, after a great deal of searching we found an ideal location.
But first, we had to get the property re-zoned! DONE, and welcome to downtown South Bend!
Two days before closing the bank told us we needed an additional $10,000! DONE, we raised $11,000!
We had no credit history! The Bank asked us to have our parents share their passion for Joys Gymnastics. . DONE, we filled their e-mail box full; and their fax machine ran out of paper! Our new home-1724 So. Main Street, South Bend, Indiana. An old iron works building that had sat vacant for nearly eight years!
Now the work really began!
Our parents who were carpenters, electricians or contractors went to work. The rest painted, cleaned floors and sanded down walls. We installed siding, new lighting and audio equipment. Kirt and Kimberly Schneider donated the monies to purchase insulation and siding throughout the gym. Mitschelen Relocators donated the use of their lifts, equipment and supplies. And our parents worked endless hours to transform a dirty old warehouse into the fully functioning gymnastics facility you see today.
And, yes, the “kids” waited for us! Our team is back and better than ever! Our classes are full!
JOYS Gymnastics is back – and this time, we’re staying!
WATCH OUR STORY COME TO LIFE
Interested in our Classes or Joining the Team?
Follow the links below to learn more!