AU Gymnics Reveal The Bigger Picture Behind Acrofest
In 1991, Andrews University Gymnics Coach Robert Kalua and Andrews University hosted the first Acrofest, a national sports acrobatic clinic for Seventh-day Adventist high schools and institutions of higher education. From then on, Acrofest has been hosted every year by a different Seventh-day Adventist university. Andrews University hosts the event every five years, welcoming Adventist gymnastic teams from all over North America.
Acrofest this year began on Thursday, Nov. 20 at 7 a.m. with breakfast for all the gymnastics teams. From Thursday to Friday, teams cycled through ten rotations, and on Saturday the event ended with Worship and then a Grand Finale.
Many of the students on the Andrews University (AU) Gymnics Team commented that they enjoyed themselves during the event.
Asia Amodeo (sophomore, biomedicine, pre-medicine), a tumbler for AU Gymnics, said that she enjoyed “the breaks we took between rotations.” Amodeo explained that, “While people ate their lunch some teammates would go on the mats and start tumbling or showing new skills and we were able to learn a lot of new tricks during that time.”
Besides specific events of Acrofest, other gymnasts commended the attitude of Acrofest. According to Andrews University alumna Xiara Mercado (BS, ’16), the attitude of Acrofest is best shown during the Grand Finale.
Mercado said, “This is where we all get to come together at the end and see what everybody has to do or offer. And despite how well you do, everyone cheers loudly after each team performs. All of the friends that you’ve connected with through the week support you with 100 percent of their being, not just from our own team but from all of the visiting teams as well.”
This opinion was shared by gymnasts from other schools in attendance.
Ayleen Parra (freshman, nursing), who is studying at Southern Adventist University, said her favorite part of Acrofest is “how supportive the teams are of each other.” Parra said, “No matter what move is going on or what falls down, everyone is still excited for the next move. The sportsmanship shown at Acrofest this week made it a very fun experience.”
The AU Gymnics are also “to be given credit for the amount of fun that was had“ stated Southwestern Adventist University (SWAU) student Michael Sauder (sophomore, fire science). Sauder said, “he Gymnics were really outgoing with us and (were) very willing to help us with new skills we were learning. They kept open hearts and had smiles on their faces the whole time.”
Also, according to SWAU student Liz Bautista (senior, biology), The Gymnics also, “did a great job taking charge of church and vespers.” Bautista, who had been to six Acrofests prior to this year’s event, added, “For other Acrofests, we just go to their church and have a service. But AU Gymnics really took it all into their own hands and made it really interactive.”
Members of AU Gymnics affirmed that Acrofest is beyond just an acrobatic clinic. Alicia Dooks (senior, French studies) said that Acrofest is “not just a gymnastic convention, it’s also a spiritual drive to push our message to other teams that, we’re doing what love and we’re also taking on the important task of spreading God’s word and the message of Christ.”
Amodeo affirmed Dooks, adding that, “People might think that Acrofest for mainly for gymnastics, but we want to get people involved with spreading the word in a fresh, new way. This is bigger than Andrews University, gymnastics, or all our efforts. All of this revolves around God.”