Affinity Sizzling Summer Camps Why Is it so Special

Yikes it's the end of another academic year already, this means our summer holiday classes are nearly here! I caught up with lead coach, Lucy, to pick her brains about why the Affinity Summer Holiday classes are so special:

Q: Hi Lucy, I understand you have been at the majority of our holiday classes over the past couple of years. What makes them different to usual classes?


A: In the holidays we get to try such a wide variety of types of gymnastics. We also get to tailor the sessions to the gymnast’s desires as they can bring us their ‘wish list’ of skills and activities and I love hearing what is on these lists then accommodating it! This is the best opportunity to take away as much knowledge away from the coaches as possible.


Q: Whats your favourite things about the holiday classes, compared to term time ones?


A: We get to see lots of new faces and love seeing their faces light up learning a new skill for the first time. Also seeing current members coming and showing their love for gymnastics and achieving skills started in term time classes - they all want to practice and learn more. and we love supporting that. I love the freedom of being able to do what you want, as the classes are longer, - both for coach and gymnast. We’ve more time to set up bigger preps that we wouldn’t normally have time or space to do so within a term time lesson. This is when we often come up with our best stuff and most creative ideas!

We also get to know the gymnasts better as people as they are here for longer sessions.


Q: Sounds like the Affinity fairies spread their magic during these classes!


A: Yes it’s certainly when we as coaches are most creative. Plus we have the most new skills learnt or progressed, theres definitely some magic in the air!


Q: What have you seen gymnasts achieve or progress in?


A: I’ve seen beginners achieve their first skills in gymnastics and getting a real buzz from it, to more experienced gymnasts transferring skills from floor onto apparatus. For example, we’ve been working on front somersaults from trampette in term time class, over holiday classes we’re now doing these from the beam.


Q: This year, we've a lot more classes than previous years. What are you most looking forward to?


I think I’m looking forward most to the family fit. More people are booked on than we usually have and I look forward to the challenge to get the parents involved. Plus lots of you are doing all the weeks so I’m looking forward to finding a way of each class progressing and building on the next - its like a special course. Families being active together is really important to us.


Q: Who usually comes to the holiday classes?


A: A large range - and that is what makes it so interesting. From complete newbies to club members keeping up training over the summer - we make everyone welcome. We also often see dancers who want to work on acro skills in tumbling or 121 classes as well as cheerleaders, martial artists and those from almost any other sport.


Q: What would you say to someone who is on the fence about signing up?


A: Come and try one and see if you like it! We bet you’ll leave signing up for more but if you don’t try, you’ll never know.


Q: What do you do if a child is unsure of coming to a new class?


It’s important for them to know that its usual for kids to come by themselves and not know anyone - they are often all in the same boat. We play lots of games to help them get to know each other and we pride ourselves on being as welcoming as we can. Also lots of children do return - so if you come back in oct half term you may see your new friends.


Thanks Lucy, sounds like it’s going to be a great summer! You can book our classes here.

How we organise moving up a class

Class movements: When will my child move up?

As a parent, you love to hear your child is doing well and want them to progress.  We absolutely want that too.

So how do we determine when your child moves up a group, and what if they don't move this term?


I'll be honest, it's not an exact science. 

There's many reasons for this but the best way I can explain it is that we work with people and we're each not an exact science either. As much as we can set curriculums, definitions and skill requirements for each class level sometimes good old people skills and common sense are needed to place a child in the correct group.

Everyone is different and we love that. It's something we're passionate about recognising and developing at Affinity. Plus administratively, we're a fast growing and developing organisation which creates some extra factors to consider when moving gymnasts to different classes.


So, here's an insight into what we do:


  1. We ALWAYS want to progress and provide every gymnast with what they need. This is number one, numero uno. This is in our minds first and foremost as it likely is in yours. So you can trust us to either get this right, or if we feel we don't or could be doing something else, we'll 100% be listening and wanting to hear from you so we can work together to achieve this. We feel we know our industry and classes well, but we see your child only once or twice a week - you live with them and know them the best!  We've got to work together here.  Do get in touch with us if you don't feel we've got something right or if your child needs something else from us.
  2. We have criteria for each class level in terms of age, skills, ability and maturity. This ensures each group are in the right place to all work together and progress. So we'll only move gymnasts up when they match the profile for that next class up.
  3. As a growing organisation, we are becoming limited in some areas by availability of class places. So we may have to prioritise those who really need to move up (usually by age) and keep some gymnasts more on the 'borderline' of the next class up in their current class and move them when a place becomes available - sometimes this is after re-enrolment is over, sometimes this is mid term.
  4. To counteract no.3, we are great at tailoring our coaching. This isn't always visible when viewing a class through the window where you can't hear the coaches. For example, for an older child in the beginners class we will be giving them more detailed or technical feedback than a younger child. As they are able to take on more information about their gymnastics we can provide it. The detail is in how we're coaching and developing that gymnast to be aware of their movements so they can progress. We also give extra challenges by changing activities where suitable. So don't be worried if your child isn't moving up right now, item 1 is always in our minds and we will be doing everything we can to provide for your child's needs.


I hope this helps provide an insight into how we manage class progression at Affinity.

As always, we're very welcoming for feedback so please do get in touch with your thoughts and ideas.

The Affinity Team Update

We're so lucky to have such an amazing Affinity Team.  But we're always looking for great new people to join our team, so we can continue to offer you as many choices of classes as we can. 

So what's been happening with TeamAffinity this month?




Thank you to all the applicants for our recent positions, particularly the overwhelming response to our part-time administrator role.  We were completely blown away by the amazing people that applied to work with us.

We hope we'll be able to announce soon, who'll be joining our team!

We're still recruiting for the following positions....

The Affinity story part two 2007-8
#AffinityTurns10 10 events for 10 years: 
The Affinity Story part 2 - Year 2 2007-2008.

This week it’s our official 10 year anniversary of classes starting (our first classes were held on 18th September 2006) so our 2nd #AffinityTurns10 ‘event’ is a week long birthday party at our classes so everyone can celebrate with us. We’ll be playing party games in class, decorating the gym and we have some special ‘party favours’ for our gymnasts. Plus we’d love it if you’d bring us a birthday card!
This brings us to part two of the Affinity Story - our second year in 2007-2008.
So it’s fair to say that gymnastics at Sheredes Primary was a success in the first year. In fact in some ways a victim of it’s own success, in that the administration and organisation of the club had become too much for the school to manage. The decision was made for the club to become it’s own organisation and manage the membership, take payments etc itself. This meant becoming a British Gymnastics registered club under the name of ‘Sheredes Gymnastics.’ We took the name of our venue as many sports club do. (Plus have you ever tried to name an organisation? It’s incredibly difficult! We’ll tell you the challenging story of our name change in 2012 in due course).

With this came opportunity for more areas of gymnastics than just primary age classes. Gymnasts could now attend our classes from other schools. We added weekend pre-school classes and started our first competition squad who trained twice a week. We took on a second coach - Vicki, who helped one night a week. We had around 50 members during this year.

Our first competition squad team picture - on the day they got their club leotards!

We entered our first competition early in 2008 - the Hertfordshire Grades. Again we performed at the Sheredes Primary open evening and also the school fete. Always wanting to do things well from the outset, both and out of the gym, we were one of the first 400 clubs to gain the ‘gymmark’ gold standard accreditation from British Gymnastics. We were honoured  to have the regional coordinator visit us for a display and to award a plaque - and we were featured in the local paper!

Our first competition in 2008. We all passed our grades!                          Our GymMark plaque being awarded in July 2008

So all in all, a year of great change and excitement. Now onto year three in 2008-9……