Waukesha YMCA discontinues longstanding gymnastics program, citing labor shortage, low attendance, and more

NOW: Waukesha YMCA discontinues longstanding gymnastics program, citing labor shortage, low attendance, and more

WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Parents in Waukesha are upset and wanting answers after their local YMCA discontinued its longstanding competitive gymnastics program.

CBS 58 spoke with the Waukesha YMCA, who cites the reasons for cutting the program is due to labor shortage and low attendance within the program.

Despite these claims, some parents and gymnasts say they were blindsided by what they say was an abrupt decision.

Kelly Sereno says her kids have been going to the Waukesha YMCA for the better part of a decade.

"We started going back in 2005 with our oldest daughter. It's just been really part of our lives for quite a while, made a big impact on our lives." said Sereno.

The competitive gymnastics program has been around for more than 30 years. That's according to YMCA Waukesha CEO Chris Becker.

Becker tells CBS 58 parents were notified in June that the program was coming to an end, after the resignation of the program's then coach.

The program has been through three coaches in the past two years, according to Becker.

However, parents say the announcement came as a shock.

"Within a couple of days of our current director leaving they called a parent meeting and kind of dropped the news that they were disbanding the entire program." said Sereno

The Waukesha YMCA did provide alternative clubs and YMCA is in the area for families to attend, that offer competitive gymnastic programs, but some parents say, logistically, that can be a problem.

"Very costly some of them require quite a time commitment in comparison to, and it's just not the same family feel." said Sereno.

To some this is much more than a sport, it became lifesaving. That’s according to17-year-old Megan Wolfe.

"I struggled with my mental health a lot, and I really didn’t realize it at the time, but looking back at it now, I don’t think I would be alive if I didn’t have them as my little family."

Wolfe said the sport was her therapy.

"Nobody else noticed that I was struggling, they did, and when nobody else cared that I was struggling they did."

Wolfe says the Y was like her second home.

"We are all super close with our coach, and there is nothing we wouldn't do for each other."

It's that second home parents like Sereno say they are fighting for, drafting a proposal detailing ways to keep the Y going with the competitive program, however she says the plan failed.

"We had a solid plan, it just seems like they don’t want to move forward." Sereno said.

Sereno says she is fearful of the direction this sport is heading down the road

"If we don’t have competitors coming through the YMCA, then that may cause another female sport to drop at the high school level as well.

The competitive program has been a part of the Waukesha community for more than thirty years.

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