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Local Gymnastics Training Reaches New Heights Through Investment from Port of Prince Rupert


PRINCE RUPERT, BRITISH COLUMBIA — One of Prince Rupert’s newest sporting societies has grown by leaps and bounds thanks to a financial contribution from the Port of Prince Rupert.

The Prince Rupert Gymnastics Association is the latest beneficiary of the Port’s Community Investment Fund, having received $60,000 in matching funding to enable the purchase of new equipment and enhanced youth programming. A 40-foot square sprung floor, landing mats and uneven bars are a few of the new features at the Club’s home in the Ceremonial Room of the Museum of Northern BC.

“Having safe, reliable and competition-level equipment has enabled our club to grow its membership and offer new indoor recreation opportunities to the community,” said Jackie Touchet, President of the Prince Rupert Gymnastics Association. “The Community Investment Fund was the perfect fit to help us move forward and achieve our dream of becoming a hub for children to develop not just physical skills, but social skills and self-confidence.”

The PRGA was founded by a handful of local parents dedicated to bringing the sport of gymnastics to children in Prince Rupert. The club began with donated equipment that had not been in use for 20 years, which enabled the club to offer its first ten-week class in September 2014.  Midway through the first season a donation from the Lion’s Club enabled the purchase of rings and bars for smaller children, and allowed local kids to see what gymnastics could offer them.

“We knew our kids weren’t the only ones wanting gymnastics in Prince Rupert, as we had children signed up before we had a space, a coach, or any equipment,” said Kate Toye, Vice President of PRGA.  “All we really had was the desire to see this happen and the support from others who wanted to see this happen as well.”

However, old equipment and the lack of a dedicated space proved challenging, and the board acknowledged the need for a permanent location with unrestricted access for member classes.  In 2016 Susan Marsden from the Museum of Northern BC contacted the club to see if the Ceremonial Room at the museum could cater to the needs of the growing club. The space was a match for the club, and the club is now able to offer classes six days a week, with programs for parents and toddlers, kids of various skill levels, and—most recently—an adult drop-in class.

 “Once again, the hard work of a dedicated group of volunteers combined with the generosity of local societies and businesses has resulted in a new initiative that is improving the quality of life in our community,” said Don Krusel, President & CEO of the Port of Prince Rupert. “It’s our great pleasure to partner with the Prince Rupert Gymnastics Association and help bring this exciting sport to an even greater number of people in Prince Rupert.”

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PRGA’s head coach Bill Tyrwhitt was hired in June 2016 bringing with him over 30 years of experience and certifications in Early Learning, Level 3 Technical Woman’s Artistic, Level 2 Men’s, and Level 2 Trampoline. With Bill’s experience and passion for gymnastics the club has grown to over 220 members with 7 local individuals pursuing their certification in coaching and a waitlist growing for the next opportunity to take the level 1 certification training.  The club is looking to grow a competitive stream in the near future and Coach Bill is very impressed with the talent he sees in his gymnasts.


The Community Investment Fund is a share of the Port’s annual income that is earmarked for local projects that contribute to the region's quality of life and create long lasting benefits. In combination with funding from other businesses, community groups and government agencies, the Community Investment Fund has enabled millions of dollars in local improvement projects since its inception in 2009. Each of these projects has filled an important role in supporting sports, recreation, performing arts, healthcare, education, the environment and other needs in the community.

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Port of Prince Rupert
Corporate Communications Department
24-hour media hotline: 250 627-3751