Great year for Chimo Gymnastics

More fun still to come as club has summer programs on tap



Chimo Gymnastics has had an incredible year under the leadership of head coaches Ford White and Toni Vance.  The competitive athletes have thrived in this team-oriented environment, a Chimo spokesperson said.

Athletes of all ages and levels trained together as a team, gaining confidence from overcoming fears and frustrations with the help of teammates’ encouragement and supporting each other through the challenging times.  Without exception, all of the gymnasts have noticeably improved in their skills, techniques and accomplishments and have overcome personal challenges to contribute to a very successful competitive season for Chimo Gymnastics team.

Ford and Toni’s philosophy toward coaching gymnastics is a child development centred approach, stemming from Ford’s 15 years as a teacher.  Their focus is not on developing national level athletes, though they have done just that very successfully.  They feel gymnastics should be used to develop the child as a whole, teaching them life skills such as; learning to overcome obstacles, changing thought processes when approaching challenges, and overcoming fears.

Building interpersonal skills is an integral part of the coaches’ approach. When dealing with teammates – supporting and encouraging each other in achieving their goals even when one might be struggling with his/her own challenge at the time is a life and leadership skill that will be invaluable to these young people.  Many of the girls speak of the team camaraderie as being one of the best things that they have enjoyed at the gym this year.

Gymnastics is not only for the serious, competitive athlete.  Ford and Toni have had great success in developing gymnastics at the recreational level here at Chimo.  New programs for boys have been developed for the fall session.  There is a program for high school students that want to compete in gymnastics for their school.  Pre-school programs provide practice in coordination and teach children how to land and roll safely – a skill that is invaluable in every sport.

Once children work their way through various skills in the recreational program they may choose to continue into a pre-competitive program where they are challenged even more and where they prepare to join in the competitive program if they choose.  Once in the competitive program the focus on technique and skill development as well as development of the child as a whole continues.  If they want to push themselves to a higher level there is support there for them but that is the child’s choice.

While coaching in Nanaimo, before moving to the Comox Valley, Ford and Toni had an excellent relationship with the child development centre.  Many of the children that attended the centre also benefitted from gymnastics.  Autism, in particular, has been show to respond very well to the type of movement and activity that gymnastics offers.  One of the future goals of these coaches is to further develop access to and support for gymnastics for children who have autism, visual impairment or ADHD, as they have seen the tremendous benefits that this activity can have for these children.

Coaches Leaving

Chimo sadly says goodbye to three of their coaches, Katie Symonds, Amber Mearns, and Caitlin Tatham.  All three of these outstanding young women have competed and coached at Chimo for many years and have mentored countless children through the recreational level, into the pre-comp level and on through the competitive program.

They all agree that through their time with Chimo Gymnastics they have gained body awareness, increased athleticism and strength, leadership skills, motivational skills and confidence.  All three will go on to university in the fall and some will continue coaching as part-time jobs while in school or during the summer.  Gymnastics has offered them leadership skills that have led to job opportunities, bursaries and scholarships.

Party Time

Chimo offers gymnastics birthday parties in our beautiful facility at the Comox Recreation Centre.  Registration is currently being taken for summer programs.  Stop by the Comox Recreation Centre and pick up a calendar or go to to see what gymnastics programs are available for your children this summer.

Certified instructors who have had RCMP record checks lead all programs. There will be even more options for all levels of gymnastics available in the fall calendar as well. If you have any questions, you can contact Chimo Gymnastics at  or phone 250-941-0067.

Chimo is a non-profit organization; if you wish to help out these hard working young athletes you can donate your bottles to Chimo Gymnastics at the Courtenay and Comox bottle depots.


– Chimo Gymnastics



Just Posted

ROAM Media’s Ian Adams designed the label for the new honey ale. Image supplied
Church St., Ace combine on a true Comox Valley brew

The taphouse has Home Buoy on tap, and it’s also in cans

The finish line! Huband held a ‘Colour Run’ Friday to celebrate what’s been a different school year. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Comox Valley school lets its colours run

Huband Elementary wanted a way to bring kids together

Cumberland has agreed to a sponsorship agreement with the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cumberland agrees to sponsorship with Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce

Some on council did express concerns from the past such as amalgamation push

Habitat VIN executive director Pat McKenna, and community engagement manager (Comox Valley) Alli Epp are all geared up for the 2021 Habitat For Humanity Vancouver Island North #BidtoBuild online auction. Photo supplied
Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North online auction opens soon

Get ready to ‘bid to build.’ The 2021 Habitat For Humanity Vancouver… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Cruise ship passengers arrive at Juneau, Alaska in 2018. Cruise lines have begun booking passengers for trips from Seattle to Alaska as early as this July, bypassing B.C. ports that are not allowed to have visitors until March 2022 under a Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
B.C. doesn’t depend on U.S. law to attract cruise ships, Horgan says

Provinces to get update next week on Canada’s border closure

This undated photo provided by Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails shows a scout donating cookies to firefighters in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, as part of the Hometown Heroes program. As the coronavirus pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many Girl Scout troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. That resulted in millions of boxes of unsold cookies. (Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails via AP)
Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

Since majority of cookies are sold in-person, pandemic made the shortfall expected

In this artist’s sketch, Nathaniel Veltman makes a video court appearance in London, Ont., on June 10, 2021 as Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen (top left) and lawyer Alayna Jay look on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Terror charges laid against London attack suspect

Crown says Nathaniel Veltman’s four counts of first-degree murder constitute an act of terrorism

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province's fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Most Read