Twisters coaches honoured with career achievement award

November 3, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

After decades of coaching young gymnasts, Ken and Kim Rae were honoured at the Gymnastics Ontario Awards Banquet with the Stan Stenoff Career Achievement Coaching Award.

The Raes are both coaches at the Twisters Gymnastics and Trampoline Club in Orangeville.

The Club is wildly popular with around 1000 gymnasts attending each week to learn and practice their skills. Many go on to compete in meets around the Province and outside the country.

Ken and Kim received the career award for their dedication and commitment to the sport and promoting all the positive aspects of gymnastics both to competitors and to the gymnastics community

This was the first time the award has been given to a couple. It was a fitting honour as Ken and Kim have always coached together.

Ken started his coaching career after attending Seneca College and completing the coaching program.

The director of the program was in contact with Ross Martin – head of physical education at Orangeville District High School at the time – and they wanted to start a program there.

“We started that one night a week, then added Saturdays. I was commuting here from the city,” Ken explained. “When I graduated from Seneca I moved up here because by that time we had enough participation to run it five days a week. We moved from the high school to the industrial area. We were there for about 13 years then we moved here in 2003.”

During the high school years they had to set up and tear down the equipment before and after every class.

“The award was a nice surprise,” Ken said. “The fact that they awarded it to both of us was nice because we’ve been working as a team for the last 30 years.”

Kim also graduated from the coaching program at Seneca though not at the same time as Ken.

“When we first moved here and worked out of the high school we set up and took down two gyms every day,” Kim explained.

A former gymnast, Kim was inspired as a youth after watching the 1976 Olympics.

Living in Dryden, Ontario, a town near Thunder Bay, they didn’t have a gym club until a group of parent volunteers got together and started a club.

“That’s what got me started, then I found out you could actually go to school for that. We have around a 1000 kids come through here each week. We also have a special needs program – we make sure it’s safe and healthy for them,” Kim said.

In addition to coaching, Kim is also the club’s choreographer.

Ken and Kim have coached gymnasts at all skill levels.

Kim enjoys working with teenagers through the secondary school physical education programs that make visits to Twisters. She oversees the coaching of level 2-5 artistic gymnastics and also has her own group of level 6-9 provincial gymnasts.

Ken coaches a large recreation boys class as well as level 6-9 provincial gymnasts.

The Twisters Club at the Alder Street arena is a full beehive of activity when training is taking place.

The Raes earned this prestigious award through commitment and dedication to the sport they love.

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