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Thursday, Oct 30, 2014
Carrollwood News

Carrollwood YMCA co-hosts national gymnastics championships


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CARROLLWOOD — Not only is the Bob Sierra Family YMCA closing in on its long-awaited dream of a new gymnastics facility, more than 6,000 people will descend on Tampa for the YMCA national gymnastics championships next July.

The Bob Sierra Y is co-hosting with the Sarasota YMCA at the Tampa Convention Center on July 3 to 5. There will be an Olympic-style opening ceremony at Raymond James Stadium on July 2.

Gymnastics Director Gabrielle Garcia said thousands are expected to attend the ceremonies, adding that the Tampa Bay area will profit with an economic impact of more than $4.5 million.

The Bob Sierra YMCA is working on a new gymnastics-only facility and is closing in on its goal of raising about $450,000, so hosting a premier gymnastics event will be a big boost, Garcia said.

The theme of the meet will be “Treasure Discovered.”

Garcia and Operations Executive Kirsten Barton said that at least 1,500 volunteers will be needed for the four-day event.

“That is the important thing right now,” Barton said. “We have five months to go, but we’re planning on a great event with the help of our volunteers.”

The national YMCA hosts a national event every year, but this is the first time in the Tampa Bay area. More than 25 states will be represented from at least 140 different YMCAs.

As far as sponsorships are concerned, the YMCA will be looking for those as well. There are even naming rights to certain events. More than 20 hotels will be housing families and participants, and although no word is official, the Bob Sierra said there is a possibility of a huge musical act to highlight the opening ceremonies.

It’s a big deal, Barton said, not only to the Bob Sierra YMCA, but also to the community.

“It is a wonderful opportunity for the Tampa Bay area to get to learn even more about the sport,” Garcia said. “It will help make a gymnastics facility possible. We are almost at our goal now. We have spent four years trying to get a larger gym and now it’s happening, so it is an exciting time.”

For information on sponsoring, volunteering or donating to the new gymnasium project, email kirsten.barton@tampabayymca.org.

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