Twisters Stands with Survivors
Dear Twister Members:
Twister Gymnastics stands with the army of sister survivors who rightfully demand immediate change in the secretive, abusive, and unethical culture of USA Gymnastics that enabled the sexual abuse of 150+ athletes at the hands of Dr. Larry Nassar.
For far too long USA Gymnastics, the governing body of our sport, their board of directors and the national staff have turned a blind eye to abuse and instilled a culture of fear in our country’s most talented athletes. The culture of USA Gymnastics must change, and this change requires a complete overhaul of the board. We too agree, that every single board member must resign in order for there to be any meaningful and sustainable change in the national team culture. We can only begin to move forward once the cancer that created this culture has been completely eliminated.
Elite gymnastics may require strict discipline and training, but it should never, ever, create a culture that promotes obedience without question, silence during pain, psychological manipulation, and winning medals over the ethical treatment of athletes.
Randy Sikora, owner of Twisters and USA Competitions, has been invited to join other top gymnastics business owners in a special workshop in Indianapolis next week to advise the new CEO of USA Gymnastics on a complete overhaul of the organization. We are excited to help lead this change.
We would like to express our sincerest appreciation for the trust you have placed in Twisters, not only for the training we provide, but also for the safety and well-being of every child in our care.
At Twisters, your child's safety is our top priority. These are some of the steps we take to make Twisters a safe place for children of all ages:
- All of our staff, coaches, and volunteers are subject to a number of background checks including screening and investigations through the National Center for Safety Initiatives (NCSI), which screens for criminal behavior that may be inappropriate for contact with children. This screening is also required by USA Gymnastics and it covers criminal background, sex offender registry, and identity verification. In addition, Twisters also runs background and fingerprint checks through the Florida Department of Children and Families “Clearinghouse” which is a state and national fingerprint-based criminal history check. These reports are reviewed prior to any employment being offered at Twisters.
- No coach, staff member, or volunteer is allowed to be alone (one on one) with a child, ever.
- All Twisters staff members are required to take the course “Recognizing and Responding to Child Abuse.” This is a child abuse prevention training that is offered through Darkness to Light, a child advocacy organization. This course teaches about the various forms of child abuse, indicators of abuse, and about how to effectively report abuse.
- All Twister staff members are required to be USOC Safe Sport Certified.
- We have security cameras installed in the common areas of our facility which record 24 hours per day, to help keep athletes safe and provide constant oversight of our coaches, visitors, and athletes.
- Twister’s Optional Level Team Gymnasts regularly meet with our on-staff Sports Psychologist. In their group classes, they learn and practice tools that empower them to find their voice and speak up if they feel something isn’t right, to practice mindfulness, and to set goals. Additionally, they meet with a nutritionist to help guide them toward healthy meal choices that provide sustainable energy for their workouts.
- We have daily on-site management presence with managers at the gym during morning, afternoon and evening practices that closely monitor the staff and activities in the gym. Management keeps an open communication policy with parents, coaches and athletes. We invite you to contact our management team at any time with questions or to express any concerns you may have with management, as we want to be aware of all issues so that we may have the opportunity to effectively address them in a timely manner.
- All programs are always open to parent viewing. The front desk is staffed at all times and there are always numerous coaches and administrative staff present in the facility to ensure proper supervision of the children.
- In the staff handbook, all staff are educated on and required to sign a diagram that clearly identifies the “no spotting zones” on a gymnast.
- Staff are prohibited from using electronic communications (including social media) with students or staff members in a way that could be seen as insulting, disruptive, offensive, sexually-explicit, racist, sexist, homophobic, trans-phobic or in any other way that can be construed to be harassment or disparagement of others.
- Our facility is equipped with AED's and most staff are CPR and AED certified.
We understand the recent news about the Dr. Lary Nassar case can spark uncomfortable, but important, conversations between you and your child. For more information on how to have age-appropriate, open conversations about our bodies, sex, and boundaries please watch this 2-minute video:
Thank you for being a member of the Twister’s family and for your part in helping keep our kids safe!
Randy Sikora, CEO
Clayton Kent, President