As a JOGA gymnast for 9 years, I can honestly say that the JOGA program has helped prepare me for the rest of my life. By practicing fewer hours than many gymnasts I was able to enjoy my passion for gymnastics while also exploring my other interests. I was able to join my high school gymnastics team, through which I built confidence, learned teamwork, and developed leadership skills. JOGA was the right amount of intensity so that I was able to work hard and become self-motivated, but also enjoy myself and make lifelong friendships along the way. Because I was able to spend more time on schoolwork and other extracurricular activities throughout high school, I have had as much success in my academic career as I have had in my gymnastics career. JOGA enabled me to participate in the sport I loved and achieve my goals as a gymnast but also build a strong foundation for my future.
Class of 2015
2015 JOGA State Championships Level 1 3rd place all-around, 3rd place floor, 1st place beam
2014 Union County all-around runner-up and beam champion
2015 National High School Gymnastics competition 1st place team, 8th place floor
I began my gymnastics career as a USAG gymnast. In my sophomore year of high school I decided to make the switch to JOGA. I can honestly say that switching over was one of the best decisions I made in my gymnastics career. Not only did the fewer hours help save my body, it allowed me to focus on my academics as well. When I did USAG I was at practice from the moment I got out of school until late at night, limiting the time I had to complete my assignments to the best of my ability. The shorter hours in JOGA allowed me to balance both academics and athletics. The hours also minimized standing around and increased my work ethic. I knew that in order to complete my workouts I had to continuously be working hard. I learned how to manage my time and focus better. I became more motivated to succeed. What I learned in the gym helped me transition to achieve all my accomplishments at the college level. I was able to take the values of hard work, time management, self-discipline and motivation I acquired from gymnastics and apply them to my studies at school. I currently compete D3 for Ursinus Univeristy. As much as I want to succeed in the gym I want to succeed in the classroom.
Class of 2014
Level 1 2013 AA, Bar, Beam State Champion
Level 1 2013 Bar, Floor State Champion
Ursinus University Gymnastics Team Member
As a graduate from the JOGA Program, I have nothing but positive thoughts when I think back to my gymnastics career. With manageable hours, reasonable costs, and a competitive environment, gymnastics became a fun, safe, and enjoyable place for me to spend time after school. I made lifelong friendships with girls I would have otherwise never met. My coaches truly cared about and respected me as a gymnast and a person. One of my favorite things about being a part of the JOGA Program was that it allowed me the time to be a member of my high school gymnastics team as well as my club team. I served as captain of my high school team for two years, as well as captain of my club team for one year, which gave me experience as a leader. Being a member of the JOGA program not only made me a better gymnast, but a better person. I learned time management, dedication, responsibility, and leadership alongside some of my best friends having the time of my life. I use my experiences in my two-year post-gymnastics life all the time. I have landed jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities because of my success in the JOGA Program. Even though I did not continue gymnastics in college, it will always be a part of me and I am forever grateful to this program for making me the person I am today.
Class of 2013
2013 JOGA Vault, Floor, and All-Around State Champion
Being part of the JOGA program was important to me because it perfectly balanced the intensity of the sport of gymnastics and the enjoyment of being part of a sports team. The flexible hours allowed me to both compete for my high school gymnastics team and my club gym. Having fewer hours per week in the gym also helped me to learn how to better manage my time and save my body in such a physical sport. The dedication, commitment and self-discipline that I learned through being a part of a JOGA team helped me to continue my career at a collegiate level and are skills that I will utilize through my professional career as well.
Mary Kate Walch
Temple University ‘16
I competed in JOGA from age 7 until I graduated high school at age 18. After JOGA I went on to compete for Temple University. My experience with JOGA was very rewarding. One thing that sets JOGA apart from other gymnastics leagues is the competitive atmosphere and comradery. The league is compiled of gyms only in NJ which allows competitors to not only get to know the equipment but other gymnasts and coaches as well. This makes competitions friendly yet competitive where everyone supports each other. While JOGA can be less intense than other programs, the gymnastics is still high level and the competitions are still exciting.
Not only did JOGA prepare me for my dream of competing at a Division 1 university but it instilled important life lessons that I have carried forward into my career. Skills such as perseverance, self- discipline and a “can do” attitude (which I attribute to my time as a gymnast) have contributed to my success tremendously. I will never forget my time with JOGA nor everything gymnastics has taught me.
Temple University ‘13
While, like most gymnasts in any program, much of
my life consisted of sleep, eat, school, gymnastics. The 10 hours a week of practice, significantly less compared to non-JOGA leagues, allowed me to be more than just a gymnast. I played two
instruments, participated in after school clubs and activities and played basketball and softball. Since my club practices were in the evenings, I was able to compete for my high school's gymnastics
team, qualifying as an individual to many sectional and state championship meets. The JOGA program also afforded me time to focus on my academics allowing me to ultimately graduate tenth in my class
from Mount Saint Mary Academy, get into the college of my choice, and earn an academic scholarship that covered almost half of my entire college tuition for all four years. My coach helped me get
recruited to Ursinus College where I competed all four years, qualified to D3 national three times, earned All-American Honors on balance beam, and was voted team captain by my teammates for my
leadership skills. Much of this I credit to the strength, determination, and love of the sport I learned while competing in JOGA. While many of my college teammates have described college gymnastics
as a literal escape from the grueling standards and intense pressures of USAG programs, JOGA has always provided an environment, that while competitive, continually encouraged me to be the best I
could be while leaving me with a plethora of cherished memories and lifelong friends.
The past three years I have been involved with the JOGA program from a different perspective- as a coach. While I worked towards my acceptance into Physician Assistant school, I coached JOGA levels 1-4 and 7. I was surprised to see how much the skill level across JOGA as a whole had improved while I was away at college. At JOGA states these past few years I've watched numerous gymnasts compete skills that when I was in high school were only seen by a handful of gymnasts, if any. Given the strides JOGA has made in recent years, it would not surprise me if this pattern continues, in fact it's inevitable.
I am deeply grateful to the JOGA Program for helping me become the young woman I am today.
Class of 2008
3 time D3 national qualifier on Balance Beam and captain of Ursinus College
My gymnastics career spanned the most important years of development in a young girls life. I am so lucky that the gym my mother walked into competed in JOGA. From the very beginning I was able to learn about originality and creativity. While the girls at other gyms went mind numbingly through USAG compulsories I learned to do floor routines with choreographers. This was something I didn't come to appreciate until later in my career when I attended various International gymnastics training camps. I found the girls doing all of the same tricks. The guidelines of JOGA always left room for me to experiment with new skills and combinations- something that athletes in USAG did not do until much later in their careers. JOGA allows you to have the career as a gymnast that you choose to have. With more flexible hours I was able to partake in family celebrations, explore different interests at school, and to simply be a kid. I was able to find my own strength, endurance, and responsibility toward my sport.
I was recruited by Division I schools and joined the University of New Hampshire Wildcats. I was training along side all the girls who competed USAG level 10 or higher. Instead of being intimidated I realized I was a gymnast from New Jersey with all that I needed to succeed. I stood among girls from all over the country. My drive, skill set, and fresh outlook helped me surpass the level of many of the exhausted elites and level 10's who lost the love of the sport years before. I continued to learn and build on my skill set all through college – a very rare thing for a gymnast of my age. When I stuck my floor routine cold during my first EAGL conference championship as a UNH Wildcat pushing my wildcats to place third I couldn't believe how far I'd come. I knew undoubtedly that without all of my competitions as a JOGA gymnast that routine would never have happened.
JOGA competitor for 10 years.
UNH Wildcat Competitor