by Whitni Kral and Aric Riedemann
The Green Bay, Wis., Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center is celebrating the growth and success of its gymnastics program. Started with just a few offerings and basic equipment, the program expanded class options, including advanced gymnastics, in 2017 but found many gymnasts wanted to have another level for advancement.
Last summer the program was completely overhauled, and a competitive team was started, adding to what was a full slate of recreational gymnastics offerings. After holding tryouts, 14 young women came together as the inaugural Green Bay Kroc Gymnastics Team.
Up against three other gyms in the first-ever Kroc Gymnastics Team Meet in December, all the gymnasts did well in their first competitive outing. In February, the girls traveled to the Wisconsin Dells to complete in their second meet which was much larger and drew teams not only from Wisconsin but neighboring states. Competing against highly experienced teams from many well-established gyms, the Kroc Center’s level two team placed fourth overall, and its level three team placed second overall. Many of the center’s gymnasts also placed in their individual events and in the individual all-around. To see the young team do so well against such intense competition was an inspiring testament to their hard work.
Watching the program grow from humble beginnings with a few mats on the floor in the fitness studio to a competitive and successful team has been an awesome experience for Green Bay Kroc Center employees and members alike.
The team is a fantastic example of how mission integration can thrive in a competitive sport. Before each meet, the team huddles with coaches for a moment of prayer. The teammates have consistently demonstrated excellent sportsmanship, encouraging one another and growing together. Seeing the mission of The Salvation Army play out in the context of a competitive sport is an inspiring example of how Joan Kroc’s vision can become a reality.