Top student gymnasts from across the nation traveled to Long Beach, California this past week for the 2016 YMCA National Championships.
YMCA of USA selected the YMCA of Greater Long Beach and the Long Beach community to host this national tournament which has been showcasing the talent and hard work of young athletes since it premiered in 1938. The YMCA is a cause-driven organization that is for youth development, for healthy living and for social responsibility.
“A strong community can only be achieved when we invest in our kids, our health and our health of our neighbors,” said Shirley Sprague, Senior Program Director at the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA.
As part of the nationals, the YMCA of USA awards two $1,000 scholarships every year to a senior gymnast and this year, Sidney YMCA’s own Level 9, Mackenzie Wells of Anna, was an awardee, Sprague reported.
“I have been a gymnast at the YMCA in Sidney for 12 years,” Wells said. “I can’t imagine what life would be like if my parents had not put me in the sport as a young girl. Gymnastics taught me creativity, skill, and hard work. The values at the YMCA taught many lessons. I have learned social responsibility and have made relationships that will last a lifetime. Gymnastics has made me the person I am today and I am so thankful for that.”
Wells will use the scholarship toward her college education at The Ohio State University where she plans to study marketing.
Nineteen states were represented at the nationals, along with 90 teams, over 1,500 gymnasts and 5,000 spectators from the U.S. The Sidney-Shelby YMCA had 14 gymnasts competing from level 3 to level 9 and they captured 16 medals.