Tumbling Toward a Dream

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Life has a way of throwing twists and turns into the mix – and that’s just the way Kathy likes it. As the grandmother and now adoptive mom of two highly talented young girls participating in competitive gymnastics, the day-to-day for the family revolves around training, practice, and homeschooling.

For the past two years, both girls have been recipients of Alaska Housing Finance Corporation’s Youth Summer Camp & Activity Scholarship, which provides up to $500 per year to two participants per household.

Gymnastics is an intense and expensive sport – the girls train four days per week for four hours per day, plus work on routines and skills at home,” says Kathy, who is retired. 

“The average gymnastic camp alone costs upwards of $600 per participant and without the support of AHFC’s camp scholarship program, the girls would miss an important opportunity to really fine-tune their gymnastic skills and learn from the best coaches.”

– Kathy, AHFC Housing Choice Voucher Participant  

An Important Opportunity

The scholarships are only available to participants in AHFC’s public housing system, and as a participant Kathy received information in the mail about the program and immediately applied. Receiving the financial assistance allowed both girls in 2022 to attend the Dan Alch Camp of Champions, which brings coaches from all over the country to offer intensive training in local gyms. Camps such as these provide the opportunity for gymnasts to receive personal and specialized instructions that emphasizes the development of higher level skills.

“The specialized camps are truly a gift for competitive athletes training at an elite level,” Kathy says. “They learn not only the skills and mindset needed to be a high-performance athlete, but also life-long skills such as dedication, commitment, and drive.”

Kathy takes those lessons home and helps the girls continue to fine-tune their skills; she learned how to make a balance beam so they can dedicate extra time to correcting wobbles and tightening routines. 

Dreaming Big

Kathy is grateful to have access to AHFC’s Youth Summer Camp & Activity Scholarship. The financial aid provides the opportunity for the girls to train stress free. She plans to apply for scholarships next year with the hope that the girls can continue to attend camps, gain exposure, and benefit from competitive experiences moving forward.

The girls, now ages 8 and 9, started training at ages 5 and 6. Both hold state championship titles in their age groups and have Olympic dreams in the future. In the gymnastics world, they are inspired by Olympians such as Simone Biles and Gabby Douglas. In life they are inspired by people such as Ben Carson, who went from poverty to being a brain surgeon.  

We must do everything we can to show minority kids positive role models,” says Kathy. “I am raising my girls to want more, to dream, and to know they have someone in their corner supporting their aspirations.”  

Know someone who could benefit from a Youth Summer Camp and Activity Scholarship? Applications for eligible participants are usually available in the spring. Check our website at ahfc.us for updated information.