Collegiate Gymnastics Growth Initiative (CGGI)
The Women’s Collegiate Gymnastics Association has gathered champion coaches and supporters to create the Collegiate Gymnastics Growth Initiative (CGGI). This initiative aims to educate administrators, donors and alumni of various universities about the importance of sponsoring a new gymnastics program at all three divisions of collegiate sports. The group also works to energize the general public and gymnastics community about new gymnastics opportunities, trends and ways to be involved with the sport and its collegiate programs.
Most publicly, the executive board, and much of the gymnastics community, has put pressure on The University of Houston to sponsor a gymnastics program. The state of Texas is rich in talented gymnastics but does not have a Division I university sponsoring the sport. The group has also worked diligently to save The University of Illinois-Chicago men’s and women’s gymnastics programs, as both were notified earlier this year they would cease to exist after the 2019 season.
Elevate the Stage is proud to support the Collegiate Gymnastics Growth Initiative through a financial donation of $1 per competitive participant. At this year’s Elevate the Stage, we are proud to welcome Canadian Olympian, 9-time NCAA All-American and 2-time NCAA National Champion for UCLA - Peng Peng Lee! Peng will join us in Toledo, OH for a weekend filled with youth and college gymnastics sessions to energize and educate attendees and competitors about collegiate gymnastics opportunities and the goals of the CGGI.
Elevate the Stage Meet Director Kayla Williams took some time to talk with the committee members and founding coaches of the CGGI about the initiative, its goals and the importance of college gymnastics.
Michigan State Head Coach Mike Rowe – Elevate the Stage 2019 Participant
Minnesota Head Coach Jenny Hansen – Elevate the Stage 2019 Participant
UCLA associate Head Coach Randy Lane – Elevate the Stage, Reno 2018 Champion
Randy: The environment of collegiate gymnastics, although competitive, is a culture of inclusion, growth and learning valuable life lessons along the way.
The dream many years ago for many young athletes was purely the Olympics, but that dream has now shifted to competing for a university. Why? The opportunity to get a quality education as well as being a part of a team that is working towards the same goals, is a satisfying endeavor for many young gymnasts.
Jenny: College gymnastics was my greatest experience as a gymnast. Being able to train, live and compete with 15 other young women, all determined to reach the same goal was truly one of the greatest experiences of my life.
Randy: We have two divisions of our committee; financial and growth. The financial side of the committee is to grow funds through invitational support, donations and sponsorships. Our intent is to start an endowment account that will collect interest so that we can be more prepared to help a university from a financial standpoint with start-up costs associated with adding a program. The growth side of our committee works on the all-encompassing details of making presentations to universities interested in possibly adding the sport of women's gymnastics.
Mike: We are always fundraising. We have recently added an online link to our website where anyone - group, club or individual - can contribute to our cause! Click here to visit.
ELEVATE THE STAGE AND THE CGGI
Randy: Elevate the Stage has been a valuable partner in promoting collegiate gymnastics. The NCAA athletes are role models for many of the young gymnasts around the country. When a young gymnast can watch their idol compete live for the first time, it is magical. The team aspect of our sport is one of the more surprising things for first-time spectators of gymnastics. To see adults and children who have never seen a collegiate meet experience the excitement and team cohesiveness, they feel included and in some ways a part of the team as well. To hear a parent thank our athletes for being great role models and for taking the time to say hello and acknowledge their little gymnast is priceless. At Elevate the Stage, because the competition is on a podium, it truly is a stage where our athletes can be entertainment for so many new fans to experience [what might be] their first collegiate competition.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
- Introduce new people to college gymnastics. Whether it be through television, social media, or in person at a competition like Elevate the Stage, people who get to see the atmosphere, camaraderie and competitiveness of college gymnastics are sure to fall in love with it.
- Follow the Women’s Collegiate Gymnastics Association and the CGGI online at www.wcgagym.com
- Click here to make single, monthly or annual donations to help the CGGI continue to educate universities on the value of collegiate gymnastics by donating online.