We're always looking for different activities and outlets for our program participants to enjoy throughout the Okanagan. One business that has provided its support in a unique way is local gymnastics and trampoline training centre, Airhouse Kelowna. Airhouse Kelowna is a place where youth of all ages and all experience levels can come learn new skills in a safe, welcoming environment. We had the chance to speak with Coach, Craig Calder, about getting this business started and why giving back to the community is part of their philosophy.
How did Airhouse Kelowna come to be?
At the time, the freestyle ski industry was evolving and so were the tricks. We wanted to create an environment for young athletes to safely learn and get body awareness before heading out in the snow and just going for it. After a tragic incident in the freestyle skiing world in 2012, the dangers of [the sport] were blown wide open and we knew we needed to provide a safe environment where you're coached to learn, given positive reinforcement, performance training, and inevitably a huge boost of self-confidence.
How are you hoping this space helps the community?
As you get comfortable you can get weightlessness which is good for the lymphatic and cardiovascular system, plus there are many other physical and mental health benefits. So not only does it give youth an outlet to come and do something, it also involves exercising. Youth from about 11-20 years old are coming to learn and even discover natural talent. We work on mindset, positive thinking, and the progression through a new skill. Then we get to see the elation when they achieve a goal and get rewarded with celebration… that kind of positive reinforcement might not be something they get at home or in their other environments.
What is your involvement with The Bridge?
We got connected with Kelly Paley from The Bridge and have been working together on and off since we opened to provide a space for their program's participants to come enjoy as an alternative activity/outlet. We've always been about being inclusive here no matter what. We're happy to help anywhere we can within the community.
Can you shed a bit of light on the impact The Bridge participants receive by being able to come to Airhouse?
The outlet from their regular routine and community we're able to provide, again that positive reinforcement that may be something they don't get anywhere else. Plus the exercise benefits, rebounding on a trampoline for ten minutes can be equivalent to a 10K run. So they're having fun, not realizing the level of exercise they're getting, and it's also a great benefit to their mental health.
Would you encourage others to get involved with The Bridge and their community?
Yes, I'm a firm believer that everything you put out comes back. Giving back to community isn't about making a profit, it's doing something out of kindness to support families and people with different needs as a way to help everyone out.
How can people from the community continue to support Airhouse Kelowna and/or get in touch with you?
Follow us on Instagram (@airhousekel and @theairhouse) and Facebook (@theairhousekel and @theairhouse), check out our website for a range of lessons, programs, and camps. We just ran a trampoline and meditation program to encourage self worth, positive thinking, and getting out of the cycle of negative self talk. We have a phenomenal skateboard coach come in on Thursdays to teach a group of young girls and help them gain confidence in a safe environment. There's something for everyone.
Thank you to Airhouse Kelowna for all of their support and continuing to provide a creative, inclusive, and encouraging environment for children, youth and families.