WATERTOWN, NY – On Saturday and Sunday, March 26th & 27th, 2022, the Watertown Family YMCA will be hosting the Salute to the Troops Gymnastic Invitational.
This event which has not been held since 2019, is yet another sign of a return to normal for the Watertown Family YMCA.
The invitational will feature girl’s and boy’s individual and all-round competitions in floor, mushroom, rings, vault, parallel bars, uneven bars, high bar, and balance beam.
This competition, originally titled the Lollipop meet, evolved into Support the Troops Invitational in 2018 at the request of the athletes, to honor and recognize our community’s military connection.
The first year of the newly titled event, the athletes chose to collect goods to send overseas. YMCA children wrote thank you letters & colored pictures. The athletes raised over $180 dollars and nearly 200 lbs. of goods for Adopt-A-Platoon. The Project Strong Director came to a gymnastic session, welcomed, and thanked the families, and gave a presentation on Project Strong and the impact their donations would have. The athletes also received a video, from then overseas, General Piatt thanking them and wishing everyone well. At the meet, family members in uniform presented the awards. There were approximately 90 athletes for this first invitational.
In 2019, the athletes chose to add support of local first responders to the theme and fundraising. In the winter of 2019, the local community had suffered a devastating loss, a house fire in which 1 adult and 4 children died. Our athletes were directly affected by the loss and once again they led the charge. Goods were collected for the YMCA adopted platoon and cash donations went to the Watertown Firefighters Benevolent Fund. In addition to physical donations, $500 was raised. The money was used to help supply smoke detectors to local families. There were approximately 160 participating athletes at this meet.
The 2022 meet will host 270 athletes and donations and gate fees will go to support Guitars for Vets and the Watertown Firefighters Benevolent Fund.
Each year all active, retired military & first responders are invited to march in with their athletes.
The invitational is set to open 1PM on Saturday and competition resumes on Sunday at 9 AM.