ACPR is an acronym that for many years stood for Aberdeen and Churchville Parks and Recreation. In 2010, that program has become incorporated in it’s own right and has become a separate recreation council under the Harford County Parks and Recreation department. The acronym, ACPR, now stands for All County Parks and Recreation Gymnastics, Inc. It is significant that this program now has the status of a Harford County Parks and Recreation Council and that ACPR now has representation at county wide Recreation Council Presidents meetings.
This not-for-profit program was started by Inge Frank, a former Austrian National Gymnastics Team member. She started in 1967 with one mat and a handful of aspiring gymnasts. In 1978, the team program was started, making it the first Harford County gymnastics program and one of the oldest ongoing gymnastics programs in the state of Maryland. Today, close to 2400 students are taught recreational gymnastics yearly in Aberdeen and Churchville and the team program has over 100 gymnasts.
In 1983, ACPR began fundraising for the dream of a permanent facility. At that time, the program was housed primarily in Churchville Elementary school and in the current small Aberdeen facility. Due to the growth in the population in Harford County that began around that time, everyone knew that a permanent home for ACPR would soon be a necessity. Through candy sales, art auctions, yard sales, wreath sales, and a tremendous amount of hard volunteer work, the program raised $113,000.00. It was given to Harford County to put towards the construction of Churchville Recreation Center. An additional $65,000.00 was raised to put towards equipment. The center was finally completed in September of 1992 and has been the base of the operation for ACPR ever since. In 1994, ACPR Gymnastics was honored to receive the Innovative Program Award by the Maryland Recreation and Parks Association for their efforts in this area.
ACPR offers training to aspiring competitive gymnasts from beginning levels (Levels 1-3) through USA Junior Olympic (J.O.) level 10 and above. ACPR competitive team gymnasts have won numerous individual awards and state individual and team championships over the last 29 years. Teams and individuals have competed in Europe, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Texas, Florida, Nevada, and numerous other states. From placing first in the team competition in the Class 111 C&O Maryland State Championships in 1981, to the level 6 Team Maryland State champions in 2003 with numerous Maryland State Championship teams and individuals in between, ACPR has always strived for excellence. A number of ACPR “graduates” have performed on Division 1 NCAA College Teams such as Maryland, West Virginia, Towson State, and U. Penn. ACPR has had two girls compete for 4 full seasons on Cornell University’s Division 1 Gymnastics team, one as the team captain. In 2007, we had one former ACPR gymnast competing on a Division 1 College Team (U. of Maryland) with a full gymnastics scholarship. She was co-captain of the team. One ACPR graduate earned her doctorate in Biomechanical Engineering (directly relating to gymnastics) at U.C. Davis, and has had the honor of presenting her research at the UGA Gymnastics National Congress in 2003.
ACPR Gymnastics is always striving for the future, to improve our programs, our staff, and provide the best possible training environment for our athletes. As such, ACPR has hosted many State level or Regional level gymnastics competitions as well as other fundraising events. Because of our facility, dedicated staff and strong parents’ organization, ACPR is well recognized as one of the premier meet hosts in Maryland and the region. Each season, ACPR is rewarded by the State of Maryland USA Gymnastics with the privilege of hosting Maryland State Championship meets, from Level 4 through Level 9&10. In 1998 and in 2010, ACPR was selected to host the Region 7, Level 8 Regional Gymnastics Championships. These championships were for the states of Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia. This meet and all the meets ACPR hosts are challenging and rewarding experiences for all. In 2007, we hosted the Maryland Level 5 State Championships and in 2011 we hosted the levels 8,9, and 10 State championships. This past season, ACPR also was honored to win the Level 4 Team State Championship title and many other individual state titles.
The staff of ACPR is on of its greatest assets. ACPR has a great recreational staff that teaches dozens of classes year round from pre-school age through high school, offering fun and rewarding gymnastics experiences to thousands of Harford county children over the years. At least 4 of the competitive team staff have taught gymnastics for well over 20 years, while others have 10 or more years of experience. All ACPR staff is Safety Certified, CPR and first-aid trained, and ASEP certified. All team staff are professional members of USA Gymnastics and also Skill Evaluator Certified. The staff of around fifteen includes several junior staff members who bring their youth as well as their recent competitive experiences to their coaching. The Head Coach (Dr. Steve Cornelison) and Recreational Director (Dana Appleby) are currently elected members of the Maryland USA Gymnastics Board that governs gymnastics in the state of Maryland. Several ACPR team staff members were formerly USAG Junior Olympic judges and one is currently a NAWGJ active member (judge). ACPR’s great volunteer parent organization supports the gymnasts and the staff through fundraising efforts and overseeing certain financial aspects of the program. They are an indispensable part of ACPR’s past and present.
ACPR is a USA Gymnastics member club, and the head coach is a member of the Elite coaches Association. We have participated in the USA Gymnastics elite program through our TOP’s participation, where several girls have made national testing and camps in recent years. One ACPR TOP’s athlete qualified for three successive years to the National Gymastics Training center in Houston Texas to TOP’s camps. Another two girls qualified as 9 and 10 year-olds to the A or B camps and had great experiences and are presently working at level 9 or higher. They all had the honor of working with the National team coaches in the week long camps. The staff also has a great learning experience by attending the National Training Center camps several times with the gymnasts to assist in their training.
At ACPR, we pride ourselves on our great facility, with state of the art AAI equipment. Although it isn’t the largest gymnastics facility in Maryland, with just aver 8000 square feet, our training facility is packed with new, state of the art gymnastics equipment. With three overhead spotting rigs, numerous trampolines, and a new Palmer Spring floor athletes can train any level that their desire and skill will take them to. There is no limit! We continually grow as the sport of gymnastics grows and changes, and look forward to the next generation of great young aspiring athletes growing up in our wonderful sport. ACPR Gymnastics has been an active, growing program for 44 years in Harford County. We will continue in that tradition and look forward to the next 44 years of excellence.