On Sunday, February 12, 2017, over 20 gymnasts from the North Stars Gymnastics Athletic Program (G.A.P), participated in their first meet, along with four other G.A.P clubs in the area. The meet was held at Gymnastics Incorporated, located in Kenvil, New Jersey, and participating gymnasts were 5-11 years old.
G.A.P was originally established by a former North Stars gymnast, Danielle Oerlich, who is now the owner of Westy’s Gymnastics. The program was created to aid in the development of gymnasts and bridge the gap between highly competitive team programs and recreational programs. Gymnastics clubs that participate in the G.A.P program host non-sanctioned events for the athletes throughout the year. The program provides the opportunity for gymnasts to gain a feel of what a gymnastics meet is like without having to participate in a competitive environment or make a commitment to a competitive program. There is no obligation and the meets are completely voluntary for the gymnasts. If a gymnast of the G.A.P program wants to compete in a specific meet, the child or parent simply applies for that meet.
This is the first year that North Stars developed its own G.A.P program, and so far, it has become increasingly popular. Owner of North Stars, Paula Gehman, anticipates that more young athletes will join the program and continue to participate in the meets. “The gymnasts really seem to enjoy the program and competing. We had 29 gymnasts compete in the meet at Gymnastics Incorporated and I feel that many of those gymnasts will want to be in the next upcoming meet too,” said Gehman. The next G.A.P meet that North Stars will compete in will be at Westy’s Gymnastics in Franklin, NJ.
The final meet for the program’s season will be held at North Stars in June. This meet will be in conjunction with the annual Olympiad and will be open to selected recreational class gymnasts. For this meet, the G.A.P program gymnasts will be scored on their performances and will receive achievement ribbons based on their all-around score.