August - September - October 2008 Vol. 63 No. 1
National Committee Chairs:
NHPEC-Michelle Lesperance, Cultural-Barb Riley,
National Officers: (Left to Right)
2nd V.P. John Tozier, Pres. Bill Severns, 1st V.P. Tom Bozonelos,
ETF Electee Ed Colton
AMERICAN TURNER TOPICS
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October 24, 2008
OFFICERS OF THE
Tom Bozonelos................ First Vice President
John Tozier.................. Second Vice President
Shirley Luckhardt............ Secretary-Treasurer
Michelle Lesperance ..... Health and Physical
....................Education Committee Chairman
Barbara Riley.. Cultural Committee Chairman
Terry Bodine...........Bowling Committee Chairman
Daisy Leidy..................Past National President
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Greetings Fellow Turners,
Here’s hoping all your summers are progressing well
and everyone is enjoying their Turner societies.
We have just completed our, very successful, 72nd
American Turner National Convention and our thanks go
out to Ft. Wayne Turners for an excellent job in hosting
this event. The entire weekend was well planned and
executed by their committee and members and some
techniques plus procedures were noted for use in future
conventions. Minutes of the convention and reports, etc.
have been forwarded to your districts and societies as well as delegates. Highlights of the
proceedings and comraderie will be touched on else in this issue and on the website. I
would like to humbly thank the American Turners for the vote of confidence and re-electing
me as your National President for the next two years. I will continue to do my level best
to try to do what is best for the Turners.
Our next major planning event will be the National Council meeting to be held
in October at Concordia Turners in St. Louis. This meeting consists of the Executive
Committee, the Chairpersons of all National Committees and the Council Representatives
from each of your district as well as guests/leaders from many other areas of the American
Turners. We have a full agenda this year with many important issues to be handled
And decided on so if anyone has items for discussion please get them to your District
Representatives so they can bring them to our attention.
An item of Turner history was on display at the convention for all delegates and
guests to observe. It was a beautifully maintained field drum and sticks that were used,
by American Turners, in the inaugural ceremony for President Abraham Lincoln. For
those who may not know American Turners made up President Lincoln’s honor guard.
At the opening ceremony of this convention we were treated to a tumbling exhibition
by Ft. Wayne Turner’s girl’s gym team. What an inspiring show, these young people are
what we are all about and they as well as the young people in all of our societies are our
future. But their Turner futures are in our hands now. Let’s not let them down. Thanks
kids good job we are proud of you.
Please don’t forget to visit our website; there are a number of Turners working hard to
keep it looking good and updated. If you have any updates, information or suggestions
let us know by using the “contact us” link. Plus we are working on methods of improving
We in the American Turners would like to recognize and thank the Trustees of these
special funds who have graciously contributed to some of our major endeavors such as
scholarships, equipment grants, computer grants, building loans, Turner Topics printing
and mailing, etc. These groups namely, the New York 1850 Foundation, the American
Turners Endowment Trust Fund, and the American Turners Jahn Fund are responsible for
our having been able to offer these types of assistance and we appreciate their on going
As we now bring this summer to a close and welcome in autumn I wish you all health
and prosperity and success to your Turner societies.
With Turner Greetings
Bill Severns, National President
Darth Vader landed at Illinois Turner Camp on Saturday, August 9 for the Closing show. He was accompanied by about 75
youth and 15 staff to show how thing are done in the universe. The evening was filled with light saber fights, moon walks and
an appearance of the Men in Black.
The Closing show at Illinois Turner Camp marks the end of the Camp program for the summer, which has been done since
the early 30’s. The campers ranged in age from 5-6 year olds to teenagers. They danced, tumbled, jumped, leaped, acted or
had a good time. Even some of the teenagers that were not in the program did a dance number for the crowd.
Volleyball Court Reconstruction
Illinois District Turner Camp is a special place for special people. Once again our volunteers have stepped up to improve
one of our most useful assets. Many people came together to improve our outside volleyball area in the “Sugar bowl”. The
volleyball area is used by our young and old, alike.
Last fall these volunteers both young and old, dug, graded, dug some more and graded to improve the area, volleyball
courts and water fountain. We now have 3 well groomed courts with new standards, new playing surface, and a new drinking
fountain. Thanks to all of the monetary donations from our five (5) societies and individual members. And of course to the
volunteers that made this possible.
New England District Turnfest
New England District
Providence Turners hosted the 2008 New England District Turnfest on June 28th and 29th. The participating Societies were
Providence, Springfield, Adams and Clinton. The event was well attended with 107 gymnasts consisting of 88 girls and 19
boys. Every year these 4 societies host either a qualifying meet or sponsor the turnfest. To participate in the turnfest you
must first qualify by attending at least two other meets.
The venue is jammed packed with events. Each competitor competes all around in the gym and does a minimum of three
track and field events, which including softball throw, 75-yard dash, and standing long jump. The special events include;
running long jump, shot put, rope climb and relay races for each age group. With the exception of rope climb, all these events
are done on Saturday. On Sunday we competed in the Mass Drill, Model Drill, and open the floor to what we term as Rock &
Roll. Here up to three gymnasts make up a two-minute Model Drill type routine to the delight of everyone.
This year the ages ranged from 6 to 32 years old with the three coaches making up the 18 and older group and competing in
a Prep Op format. The rest of the gymnasts are broken down in levels very similar to the USAG program in Levels 2-9. The
requirements are identical to the USAG program for bars and vault, but we only require the listed skills on beam and floor be
performed and let the kids choreograph their own routines. The boys follow the USAG rules in all events.
In track and field the relay races are always very competitive. With one age group for the boys and four age groups for the
girls, the girl’s 12-13 relay races were the most exciting. With two stop watches and three spotters to determine the winner,
it was unanimously decided that this race was a dead tie between Adams and Clinton. The Model Drill is by far the featured
event of the turnfest. Each society spends six months perfecting their drills for this one appearance. This year Springfield’s
theme was ‘Thriller’, Clinton’s was ‘Lion King’, Providence’s was ‘Jungle Themes’ and Adam’s was ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’.
They were all great performances. We hope to upload a video of these performances on the New England District web site in
the near future.
Individual awards are given in every event and society awards are given for the Boys Gymnastics, Girls Gymnastic, Mass Drill,
Model Drill and Overall point winner, an addition of all the points which results in taking home the “Traveling Trophy” until the
next turnfest. The Traveling Trophy is a true work of art that was first given out in 1933.
This year the results were:
Boys – Clinton 13.997, Springfield 13.434, Providence 12.228, Adams 3.679
Girls – Clinton 32.916, Providence 30.914, Adams 28.493, Springfield 25.174
Mass Drill – Clinton, Springfield, Providence, Adams
Model Drill – Clinton, Providence, Springfield, Adams
Overall – Clinton, Providence, Springfield, Adams
For full results of the turnfest and hopefully some Model Drill videos, visit the New England District web site at http://www.
As always the turnfest concludes with all 107 competitors jointly doing the Mass Drill, celebrating the strong Turner spirit. We
thank Providence Turners for being a most congenial host and look forward to turnfest 2009 in Springfield, Ma.
On July 13, 2008 Aurora Turners held our Annual Blood
drive for Heartland Blood Center. For every unit donated
3 lives are saved. Aurora collected 20 units and all of our
donors received ½ off our August Family breakfast and
entry into a raffle for four (4) $25 prizes. The drive was also
advertised on IBEW, Local 461 outdoor sign.
At our August monthly membership meeting we
honored our 40 year plus members. They included Ed
Colton, Tom Vickery, Ed Kline, Ray “Newt” Seppelfrick,
Jacob Schindelbeck, Charles Rhoades and Mike Klemencic.
Ed and Tom were in attendance and received their Gold
Membership Card and a Plaque.
Akron Turners have been busy these last few months of summer holding a variety of events for our member’s enjoyment. We are
fortunate to have a great entertainment committee that is chaired by Becky Nay. She and her committee have held dinners, euchre
tournaments, fund raisers Dances, fishing tournaments for adults and kids, male review, karaoke and culminating with our annual
family picnic in August.
This years picnic saw more than one hundred members come out to enjoy food and drink with their family and friends. The
day’s activities included a Chinese auction, 50/50 drawing, and golf raffle and chipping contest, a DJ, children’s games reverse raffle,
horseshoe tournament, and canoe races. The canoe race was a first for us and provided lots of laughs as young and old tried their
hand at keeping their canoe afloat.
Unfortunately, several boaters ended up in the water and they had to stagger back to shore pulling their canoes behind them. A
final race between George Spidle and our President Rick Vatalaro was held for bragging rights. The race was close as both of them
frantically paddled to the south end of the lake and back with everyone cheering them on. The race ended in a tie as they both reached
shore, out of breath, at the same time. The weather was sunny and warm and all of the participants who ended in the lake dried off
quickly. It was a great time and our thanks go out to all of the volunteers who helped make it a “fun in the sun Turner day”.
American Turners of Baltimore held a surprise party for Robert “Bob” Seeger to receive his 40 yr member card. Bob comes
from a Turner family. Both his mother and father were members. His father was also a past president of American Turners
Baltimore, serving two different terms.
Baltimore’s President, Dick Mitchell, presented Bob with his forty year membership card. Friends and family from near and
far attended the celebration, as well as his wife and daughter was in attendance.
The party was held on June 21st; the food consisted of steamed crabs, hot dogs, barbecue, pasta salad, corn on the cob,
watermelon and was enjoyed by all. For desert, a specially made cake for the occasion was served. Everyone had a great time
and Bob was most surprised by the party and thanked everyone for coming.
President of American Turners of Baltimore
Buffalo TurnVerein, now officially known as Buffalo Turners is alive and well. Our society operates a bit differently than
others. We do not have a building to call our own. We no longer have the sub-committees or other activities that can be found
in other societies. While no history of western New York would be complete without mention of Buffalo Turners, gymnastics is
now our only endeavor.
We have rented space, including the gym from a local school district since 1980. Located in our current location since 1986
we have a fully equipped main gym and a separate mini-gym designed with our younger students in mind.
Over 400 students from 18 months to 18 years will participate in classes throughout the year. Our program includes Mom or
Dad & Me, Pre-School and Kinder levels and beginner to advanced instructional gymnastics.
Our competition team, affiliated with USA Gymnastics has just completed another very successful season. The girls came
home with six State titles and many top finishes at all levels.
Our boys team is in the rebuilding stage. We hope to be back in competition within a couple years.
We have not been able to participate in American Turners National Gymnastics Championship. Our students are still in
school at this time with exams still to be taken.
Each year our club hosts our Turkey-Tine Invitational Gymnastics Meet in November. As we are affiliated with USA Gymnastics,
all gymnasts must also be registered with USAG. The meet runs over two days and approximately 200 girls will compete in
Levels 4 – 9. It would be wonderful to have some gymnasts from other Turners clubs. If you are interested, please contact
Barbara Johnson at BfloTurners@aol.com.
Head Coach Jennifer Mead, assisted by Heather Stubaus, Jennifer Henkelman, and Taylor Trause ended the season with 82
active girl gymnasts. The New Jersey District of American Turners awarded Miss Jennifer Henkelman a $500 Joseph Prochnicki
Scholarship to be applied toward registration at Montclair State University, where she will begin her freshman year.
This summer the C.A.T.S. Gymnastics is offering Training Camps. These half-day Camps are designed for the Gymnast or
Cheerleader (tumbling), wanting to improve her skills while maintaining strength and flexibility through the summer months. A
general increase in interest in Tumbling for Cheerleading within our Gymnastic programs is definitely responsible for enrollment
increase. The Summer Olympic Games may also generate renewed interest in gymnastics.
Classes for Pre-school, Beginners, Intermediate, Advanced Gymnastics and Tumbling/Cheerleading are scheduled for the
start of 2008 fall program. As a side note, Carlstadt Turnverein came to the rescue of the Carlstadt Recreation Cheerleading
Competition Team. Because of a delay in the construction of the new school, they shared our gym facilities. All turned out well,
as they took 1st Place.
Chicago - Northwest
Through the diligent efforts of Coach Yefim Kharpak, the
Northwest Turners Gymnastic Team has come extremely far this
year. He started out the summer last year with 15 dedicated
hardworking gymnasts. By fall of 2007, the Northwest Turners
Competitive Gymnastic Team had 23 gymnasts, of which 18 did
compete. The Team had 14 qualify for State Competition, 3
qualified for Regional, and 1 competed at Level 9 Nationals.
The Team boasts of a Level 5 First Place State Bars Champion,
Level 5 Second place Floor Medalist, Level 6 Second place Bar
Medalist, Level 6 Second place Beam Medalist and Level 6 “All
Around State Championship” and too many top ten places to
mention. It was quite an honor and privilege to have gymnasts
who qualified for regional and Nationals.
We believe the Team will grow again this year. We are
projecting that we will be training approximately 30 gymnasts
for this year’s competitive team. These girls have spent a large
part of their summer developing the skills that they will use for
the upcoming competitive season.
Keep up the good work Northwest Turner Gymnasts!!!!
Photo by: Susan Braddock
Level 6 Team wins 1st Place at St. Valentines Inv. Classic
The Northwest Turners Girls Gymnastic Team had an excellent competitive year. The results were as follows:
Our Level 5 Team had 6 out of 8 gymnasts qualify for State,
which yielded the following medals:
Jada - 3rd Place Bars, 2nd Place Floor
Dana - 9th Place Beam
Janel - 7th Place Bars
Molly - 9th Place Vault, 1st Place Bars Champion,
7th Place Beam, 6th Place Floor, All Around - 3rd Place
Our Level 6 Team had 4 out of 6 gymnasts qualify for State,
which yielded the following medals including a 1st Place AA
Jessica - 6th Place Vault, 8th Place Beam, 4th Place Floor,
All Around 9th Place
Nicole - 9th Place Vault, 2nd Place Bars, 2nd Place Beam,
4th Place Floor, All Around 1st Place Champion
Amanda - 10th Place Beam, 10th Place Floor
Photo by: Susan Braddock
Level 5 & 6 Team 2007 - 2008 Season
Our Level 7 Team had 1 out of 1 gymnast qualify for State but
yielded no top 10 medals.
Our Level 8 Team had 1 out of 10 gymnast qualify for State, which yielded 9th Place on Floor and 9th Place All Around. Ashley
also qualified for Regionals and yielded a 12th All Around Regional Place.
Our Level 9 Team had 2 out of 2 gymnasts qualify for State, which yielded the following medals:
Paula - 5th Place Bars, 9th Place Beam, 11th Place Floor, 8th Place All Around Champion
She also went on to qualify for both Regionals and Nationals.
Concordia has been busy despite the perception that
we just relax around our pool all summer. As our regular
classes wound down in May, we held a Blood Drive in
conjunction with the American Red Cross. We also
celebrated Concordia’s 133rd Anniversary with our annual
Honorary Members banquet and Stiftungsfest exhibition.
These individuals received recognition for their years of
membership as Concordia Turners; Helen Witt-Crawford
– 50 years, Helen Tendler – 50 years, Ken Brune – 60
years and Bob Marx – 60 years. The gymnastics and
dance classes performed a “High School Musical” themed
program and members of our Turnfest team repeated their
performance of the tactics and free exercise from the 2007
Our summer athletic activities have included: Senior
ladies paddleball, Actives and Senior men’s volleyball,
swim lessons, and Shirley Theodore’s water aerobics.
Gymnastics practice continued for those of our gymnast’s who were preparing for the 2008 Summer Junior Olympics. At the
Junior Olympics in Novi, Michigan Concordia was represented by 9 athletes who qualified thru invitationals and then thru the
Ozark District Championship Meet. Concordia has 7 National Titles and received 29 medals. Stefan Dumas is currently on the
AAU National Team and Stars of Tomorrow Team. Alyssa Been is currently on the Stars of Tomorrow Team. In order to keep
our Concordia kids active through the summer, two week-long summer camps were held. Activities included: gymnastics,
swimming, games and crafts.
In conjunction with the St. Louis Police Athletic League, several of our officer members held Sunday afternoon weight
training sessions for high school youths from the surrounding community.
Concordia opened its doors to the neighborhood for free family movie nights. These were held three times throughout the
summer. We also initiated a quarterly member social. Our first event was sponsored by Mattinger Wines with a wine-tasting.
The summer also marked our 3rd Scrapbooking event. These events have been growing in attendance and popularity as we work
to preserve our Turner memories.
Our Construction and Maintenance committee has also been busy this summer putting in over 120 hours of volunteer labor.
Concordia has undergone kitchen renovations, pool improvements, new gym lighting and gym floor refinishing. The kitchen
renovation included installing a new 16’ exhaust hood!
We are looking forward to hosting the National Council meeting in October.
Eiche Turners win at Nationals
Eiche Turners Tumbling and Trampoline team competed at the
United States Tumbling and Trampoline (U.S.T.A.) National Meet,
June 17-21, at the Duke Energy Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. The USTA
National Meet is a competition for those athletes who have placed
in the top 10% per event and level in each state. The U.S.T.A. has
grown to almost 6000 members, and is an allied member of the A.A.U.
(Amateur Athletic Union).
Eiche Turner won several 1st place awards, top 10 awards and a
National Team Award in Trampoline. Athletes from Frankfort, Tinley
Park, Orland Park, Palos, Mokena, Lockport, New Lenox, and Lemont
make up the team. The following team results for top 10 finishes
are: Kristle Lowell, 1st place Synchronized Advanced Trampoline,
4th place elite double-mini, 6th place double-mini advanced, 7th
Trampoline Elite, 8th advanced tumbling, and 1st place advanced
trampoline. Megan Klee 1st place sub-advanced trampoline, 4th place
synchronized trampoline, 5th place tumbling. Mimi Mack, 3rd place sub-advanced trampoline, 8th sub-advanced double-mini, and 4th
Skylar Witkin 10th place advanced beginner, Brittany Sauerman, 8th Elite tumbling, Brenna Molinare 9th novice trampoline and
10th novice double-mini. Lauren Young and Sydney Bessette 9th place synchronized trampoline. Mimi Mack, Megan Klee, Lauren
Young and Sydney Bessette together won 3rd place national sub-advanced trampoline team award.
Eiche Turners’ team competes throughout the year in many events, participates in charity fundraising, hosts a summer camp, haunted
house, trivia nights, performs at exhibitions and annually in the Mokena 4th of July Parade. For more information about the Eiche Team
or tumbling, cheer tumbling or trampoline classes, visit www.eicheturners.org or call Coach Matt Terlep at 815-464-3581.
Los Angeles Turners
Fencing is one of the founding sports of the American Turner
societies and the Los Angeles Turners are looking to restore the old
swordplay as a competitive Turner sport in the 21st century. Fencing
is a sport for all ages because the skills it requires do not fade away
after the age of 35. It does not require much space, nor does it require
a large monetary outlay. It is an Olympic sport and the world, US
and European championships generate a lot of excitement. It is fun,
although fencers don’t actually swing from chandeliers or leap from
balconies like in movies, it is an intriguing and engaging mental and
Fencing is one of the few sports that have seen Olympic and
world champions in their 40’s (like 4-time Olympian Aladar Gerevics).
College coaches are often in their 60’s and can beat their starting players on a good day. There are special over-40 tournaments
offered across the US and Europe. Fencing is for both men and women. Although the tournaments are separate, for practice and
fun, the men and women often fence each other at clubs.
The fencing “strip” is six-feet-by-40-feet, meaning that most Turner gyms can feature 4-8 strips. The strips do not need to be
“dedicated”, meaning that the gym does not need to be painted or remodeled in any way. A few masking tape markers can designate
the strips for training and bouts and can be removed in minutes after fencing training.
The essential equipment consists of the mask, the glove, the jacket and the weapon itself. All of this can be usually purchased
for under a total of $200 per fencer and it is durable and can be transferred to future fencers. Other than the blade, which can break,
8-10 year old masks and jackets are still in use. Replacement blades are $14-$20. For competitions, electric components are
recommended, which include a metallic lamé over the jacket, a cord and clip for the weapon, and clip for the mask will add some
dollars, but these too are reusable and durable.
Coaches are best recruited from universities. A varsity fencer in his/her sophomore or junior year will give the Turnverein 2-3 good
years of training and usually not take the fencers away to start his/her own school.
Foil, épée and saber are the three weapons used in modern fencing. Fencers usually develop their skills in one weapon. Foil and épée
are point-thrusting weapons. Saber is a point-thrusting as well as a cutting weapon. The target areas differ for the three weapons. All
three can be scored electrically. . For tournaments, teams generally consist of 4 starters, with 1-2 reserves. This is per weapon. The
Los Angeles Turners are mostly saber fencers
The objective of a fencing bout is to score 5 –10 – or 15 points, depending on the round and the nature of the tournament, although
most clubs play for 5 touches in in-house competition and for practice.. Each time a fencer scores a touch, he or she receives a
The foil has a flexible rectangular blade, approximately 35 inches in length. It weighs less than one pound. Points are scored with the
tip of the blade on the torso of the body.
The épée is today’s equivalent of the dueling sword, and is similar in length to the foil, but is heavier, weighing approximately 27
ounces, with a larger guard to protect the hand from a valid hit. The blade is much stiffer. Touches are scored only with the point of
the blade. The entire body is valid target area.
The saber is the modern version of the cavalry sword, and is similar in length and weight to the foil. The major difference is that the
saber is a thrusting weapon as well as a cutting weapon, meaning that the fencer cuts with the blade. The target area is from the bend
of the hips to the top of the head, as with the exposed area of the cavalry rider on a horse.
Fencing was discussed at the national convention in Fort Wayne. If your society is interested, contact the LA Turners at turners@
ahamg.com It would be another great reason to convene!
River City Turners
River City Turners Gymnastics participated in the 2008 USAG KY State Championship
on March 29 and 30. The Championship was held in Bardstown, KY with over 15
clubs and 576 gymnasts competing.
These are our River City Turners KY State Champions
Level 4, 8th place team, Alexis Gibbons placed 1st on floor (9.625),
1st on vault (9.55) and 1st AA (37.4).
Mackenzie Smith placed 3rd on floor (9.375)
Level 5, 8th place team, Kaila Dyer placed 1st on vault (9.225), 3rd on beam (8.8),
3rd on bars (8.65) and 3rd AA (35.025)
Level 7, 4th place team, Kaylyn Turner placed 1st on bars (9.55),
Kaylyn Marshall placed 3rd on vault (9.25) and
3rd AA (35.75), Breanna Acciardo placed 2nd on vault (9.3), and
Brittany Acciardo placed 1st on vault (9.25).
By Craig Sniezek
I am writing this with the hope that some of the Societies of the American Turners will read this and help me to get the
Topics out in a timely manner. For more times than I would like to think about I come to the point were I start to put articles
and such together for the next issue of the Topics and I have little or no articles to put in the Topics. I know some of our Societies
are not very active but I know a lot of them are very active year round.
I would like to every society have a publicity person to help promote activities in your society via the Topics. Articles telling
about a fund raiser for your society, a note of the accomplishments of a Turner member, a fund raiser for a local community
group, your gym programs, sports activities, membership parties, or a Turner member doing things in the community, are all
ways to promote your society to others in the organization.
Maybe if your society did something that another society thinks might work for them, your society might help another society
to accomplish their goal. We all need to promote Turners first among our societies and also to the general public, and maybe
along the way some of our societies might pick-up some new members.
Please use the following guidelines for Turner Topics articles and pictures. For the articles please submit them by either USPS
mail or by e-mail. If you have a computer and e-mail send me the article as an attachment to the below e-mail addresses.
Please use MS WORD format for the article as I can merge article for the printer. If you do not have a computer send it to me
and I will type it for the issue. Please do not expect me to write or compose your article for the Topics, as I have no way of
knowing what is accurate.
If you have pictures please send them to me at the below address with a self-addressed return envelope (if you want them
back). If you have digital pictures e-mail them to me. DO NOT SEND DIGITAL PICTURES BY MAIL TO USE, as they will not
scan real sharp. Any questions please call me or e-mail me at:
1440 Crestwood Dr.
Aurora, Ill. 60506
American Turners Gymnastic Survey
Gymnastics is ever changing and the American Turners are also trying to progress with the sport. In an effort to keep up with the times, and determine what the
status is of Turner Societies, I would like to get opinions from as many Turner Members as possible, even if you do not currently have a gymnastic program. You
can fill out the Survey and mail it to me at the address below, or send me an e-mail with your answers. This Survey can also be found on the American Turners
website. (americanturners.org) Answer all the questions or only answer some of them. Any and all responses are appreciated. I ask that you answer the few
personal questions at the end to assist me with demographic and geographical concerns. Feel free to include any additional comments regarding gymnastics.
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Your participation will enable the NHPEC committee to understand our organization as a whole and
assist us in the future for hopefully greater participation.
I look forward to your responses.
1. Does your Turner Society have a gymnastic program that is basically recreational classes? q yes q no
2. Does your Turner Society have a gymnastic program that includes a competitive team? q yes q no
3. If yes to #2, does your team follow the USAG program? q yes q no
4. In the last 10 years, has your overall enrollment in gymnastics increased or decreased? q increased q decreased q no change
5. Are your gymnastic classes/team practices held in your own Turner Hall, or do you rent a gym facility? q Turner Hall q rent
6. Is your gymnastic program only for children? q yes q no
7. Do you have gymnastic classes for adults? q yes q no
8. Does your Turner Society participate in local Turner gymnastic meets during the year? q yes qno
9. If yes to #8, how many? ____
10. Does your Turner Society participate in other non-Turner meets during the year? q yes q no
11. If yes to #10, how many? ____
12. Is it more feasible for your Society to compete at, or host, a National Jr. Gymnastic Championship if it was held in April? q yes q no
13. Is it more feasible for your Society to compete at, or host, a National Jr. Gymnastic Championship if it was held in May? q yes q no
14. Is it more feasible for your Society to compete at, or host, a National Jr. Gymnastic Championship if it was held in June? q yes q no
15. Would your Society be interested in participating in a National Gymnastic Meet for the less-competitive gymnast, using the requirements in the National
Festival Rulebook/Supplemental Handbook (not USAG routines), and held the same weekend as the National Jr. Gymnastic Championship? q yes q no
16. Is your Society usually involved in other end-of-season Gymnastic Championships in May? (i.e. USAG State Meet) q yes q no
17. If you answered yes to #16, would you choose to miss the Turner National Jr. Gymnastic Championship in order to participate in the other meet? q yes q no
18. Does a gymnastic meet in May concern you regarding the possibility of your child missing a day of school because of having to travel? q yes q no
19. Does your child miss school at all because of traveling to other gymnastic meets during the season? q yes q no
20. Do you feel all participants at the National Jr. Gymnastic Championship should be a child of a Turner member? q yes q no
21. Do you think more gymnasts might compete at the National Jr. Gymnastic Championship if they did not have to be members? q yes q no
22. If your Society has participated in previous Turner National Jr. Gymnastic Championships,
how many gymnasts competed? _______
23. Would you prefer a set date from year to year for the National Jr. Gymnastic Championship? (example: always the 2nd weekend of June) q yes q no
24. How far are you willing to travel to the Turner National Jr. Gymnastic Championship? q
Endowment Trust Fund Report
It seems like no matter where we are these days, we are deluged with a constant stream of political campaign rhetoric with the
general theme being for “change”. Compare this to our American Turners and our upcoming National Convention where there are
literally no campaigning and very low-key rumblings for “change” unless it is within our Festival rules.
As for “change” I can’t help but think how little our Endowment Trust Fund has changed since it was chartered in 1946. The
original concept still remains with minimal change over the following 52 years. That does not mean we have not been progressive
and taken on additional functions nor have not created more benefits to assist Societies and/or individual members who qualify.
In fact, we currently offer more benefits and do more financially than ever before in our 52 year history within the American Turner
Gone, but not forgotten, are all the original founders of the Endowment Trust Fund. Many additional Trustees have served the
best interests of this Fund over the years with little fanfare and virtually no politics involved. This has strictly become a labor of
love for those who have taken their time and provided guidance thru numerous administrations.
So, I ask all of you two favors! First, please make every effort to attend our National Convention in Ft. Wayne, IN this August and
if you can’t make that event then secondly, consider a future donation to the Endowment Trust Fund to aid us in serving the best
interests of our American Turners!
With Turner greetings to all,
President Endowment Trust Fund
Donations Since Last Issue
In memory of John Haderlein
John & Marilyn Neugebauer
Frank & Janice Braun
James & Gloria Pechous
Woody & Pat Vockeroth
In memory of Gerald E. Kennelly
James & Gloria Pechous
Jerry & Joan Jacquin
Patrick & Debbie Kennelly
Michael & Shawn Stevenson
Monongahela Turners in memory of Robert & Nellie Volker, Clyde Behling
and Robert Anthony
American Turners New York in memory of Anna Weisz
Mr. & Mrs. Robert Seeger in memory of 50th Anniversary & Robert’s 40 years of membership
NYTV 1850 Foundation
New England District
Central States District
New York District
Ft. Wayne Turners
Jean Wiethop- In memory of Ted Wiethop
Fritzie Warnken- In memory of Harry Warenken
Dennis & Sandra Zeller- In memory of Harry Warenken
Betty Frantz- In memory of George Boysen
72nd National Convention
The 72nd National Convention was held in Ft.
Wayne, Indiana at the ft. Wayne Turners. It opened
Friday, August 1, with a gymnastics performance by
the Ft. Wayne Turner gymnastics class. The girl from
7-8yerar old to young teens performed a wide variety
of tumbling, gymnastic moves, and a variety of other
The official start of the National Convention,
followed immediately after the gymnastics presentation.
The Friday evening session had a review of reports from
the National President down to the Turner Historian.
The Saturday session of the convention started with
committee meetings in the morning followed by a
wonderful lunch. The afternoon session on Saturday
reconvened the convention, and had the reading of the
morning committee meetings. Also the election for
national officer where held with the following results:
National President- Bill Severns- Akron Turners
1st Vice President-Tom Bozonelos-Aurora Turners
2nd Vice President- John Tozier-River City Turners
Health & physical Education-
Michelle Lesperance-Sheboygan Turners
Cultural Education-Barb Riley Ft. Wayne Turners
Bowling- Terry Bodine- Ft. Wayne Turners
The Convention voted to have Aurora Turners be
host of the next, 73rd National Convention in 2010.
Other items of importance were that for the National
Gymnastics meet children of non-Turner members can
now compete with a small surcharge and that they are
members of that class for the previous ninety (90) days.
Also no society may bid a National Tournament unless
they have a full team to play in the tournament.
The Saturday night meal was chicken, pork, and all
the fixing’s. The evening also had a group of about ten
Turners signing a few German songs. Al Udovich was
also presented his 50 year pin and Gold card, along with
his wife Carol (article will be in next issue). The night
finished with a DJ in the Rath’s with several national
officers showing off their talents as singer, including
National Health & Physical Education Committee Report
By the time you receive this issue of Turner Topics summer will be just about done. I do not have much to report. The National Jr.
Gymnastics Championship was cancelled because no Societies registered. The National Softball Championship ended up being
just an Invitational Softball Tournament because not enough Turner teams registered. As in the past few years, again there was not
a National Volleyball Championship. No Society even submitted a bid to host it. This certainly paints a dismal picture of the future
if this continues. The only positive news I have is that the Golf and Bowling National Championships were well attended. I have
not received final results, but I’m sure they will be posted on the American Turners web page.
If any Society or District is interested in hosting a National Championship please submit a completed Bidding Guide Worksheet,
which can be found in the American Turners Informational Brochure. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact
myself or Shirley at the National Office.
In the last issue of Turner Topics there was a Gymnastic Survey. I have included the Survey in this issue for anyone who may have
missed it. Thank you to those who took a couple minutes out of their busy schedule to complete the Survey and send it to me.
But I need to hear from many more members in order to compile worthwhile statistics. Please take a few minutes to complete the
Survey. Everyone’s responses and opinions are important.
In July I attended a meeting of the USAG Advisory Council. This is a newly formed group consisting of organizations that have
gymnastics as part of their program. I was joined at the meeting with representatives from organizations such as the YMCA, AAU,
Special Olympics, U.S. Men’s & Women’s Coaches Associations, Sokol, National Federation of State High School Associations,
etc. The Advisory Council was formed to enable these organizations to work together to help USAG improve gymnastics across
the United States. We are focused on targeting and developing the “grass roots” programs and improving public awareness of the
benefits gymnastics has to offer people of all ages and ability.
While attending the meetings, I was able to relax in the evening and watch the Olympic Trials for Gymnastics. The United States is
sending a very talented group of gymnasts to Beijing this August for the Olympics.
Until next time, support your local Turner Society and get involved.
Theodore J. Wiethop. Jr. (Ted) passed away on June 16, 2008 at the age of 81. He was a 61 year member of Concordia Turners and
the American Turners.
He was active in the Turners from the time he joined the exercise and gymnastics classes at Concordia as a boy. Upon returning
from serving in the Army during World War II, Ted competed in the 1948 National Festival held in Saint Louis. He continued to
participate in National Festivals through the 2003 Festival held in Aurora, Illinois. He was active in gymnastics, track and field,
bowling and volleyball.
Through the years at Concordia, Ted held offices in various classes and served on the Board of Directors. He served in the
positions of Treasurer, Vice-President and President of Concordia. He represented Concordia on the St. Louis District Council for
many years and served as District President. He represented the St. Louis District at many National Conventions. Ted served on
the National Council of the American Turners. He also served as a Trustee of the National Endowment Trust Fund.
Ted was a proud recipient of the American Turners National Honor Key. He is survived by his wife, Jean Wiethop, and sons Ted
Wiethop and Chuck Wiethop, all of whom remain active in the Turners.
Hope Foster Bridges
Long time member of Concordia Turners, Hope Bridges, passed away last December at the age of 90. Hope came up through
Concordia in the kids classes. While at Concordia she studied ballet under Otto Eckl. At the age of 16, she became a
professional dancer and toured extensively throughout the United States. After World War II she returned to an active life
at Concordia and began volunteer teaching several classes. She is most remembered for over 25 years of teaching Saturday
morning tumbling classes. She competed in many District and National competitions including many National Festivals. In
1974 Concordia honored her with its Honorary Lifetime Membership in recognition for her contributions to the organization.
She is survived by her niece, Diane Wallace, and nephew, Jimmy Jordan, and their families.
2008 AMERICAN TURNERS TOPICS SCHEDULE
All copy to Craig Sniezek by October 24
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