Saturday, October 22, 2005

Gymnastics lesson for Caleigh tomorrow morning

Man am I in the wrong business.

Caliegh just turned 4 in September. Since last year, she was taking gymnastics lessons at a place in Claremont. It seems like all of the girls in this area did the same, all of them that we have talked to loved it.

It's quite a racket. There is a $25 annual registration fee, a $58 monthly tuition (for two lessons weekly) and that's just the beginning.

Since the Tuesday night class is "Kinderteam" they are practicing for a team of miniature gymnasts to go to competitions. This means they have to all get this year's "team leotard" for an additional $50, they are encouraged but not required to get the official team sweatsuit for an additional $90 (yes, that says NINETY DOLLARS, and no, Caleigh isn't getting one). Supposedly, this is a good deal because it means that they won't have to purchase a costume for the gymnastics show in June.

And yes, even the parents have to BUY tickets to see the gymnastics show. The programs are available for an additional fee, as are group photos and an allegedly "proffessionally" made DVD of the show, since you aren't allowed to videotape it. My assumption is that you aren't allowed to tape it so you have to buy the DVD.

Now that Caleigh is on Kinderteam, she will be going to meets (at an additional fee).

Having a kid in gymnastics lessons is kind of like owning a boat. You just keep pouring money into it, only with a boat, you get to go fishing now and again.

At least Caleigh is enjoying it. She's only four for crying out loud! When I was a kid we didn't do anything like that, but maybe it's different for little girls. Maybe I'm just a cheap Yankee or a cranky middle aged guy. The whole thing seems to be a scheme to come up with new ways to pay into the school. Let's examine it in detail:

$25 annual registration fee - you fill out a xeroxed form and hand it in with your check. In other words, no service rendered for the fee, it's just $25 profit to the school.

$58 monthly tuition - OK, this one has some merit, but is still bloody expensive for a FOUR YEAR OLD to learn to do sommersaults. There is one paid instructor in the class with maybe 10 kids. There are also student-instructors who are older girls that working off their own tuition. Let's assume there are four weeks in the month, that means eight lessons for $58 or $7.25 per lesson per child. That's what you'd pay for a movie ticket, not too bad. The school is still aming out pretty good, as that means $70-$80 per lesson and I'm sure they aren't paying the lone instructor all that much. Yeah, I know there are costs involved in renting the facilities, but there are at least four classes going on at once so the rent load is spread pretty thin. The building is old and decrepit, so the rent shouldn't be all that high for that matter.

$50 team leotard - Come on now, you can get a leotard at Wal-Mart for $12. The arguement can be made that you are buying a better quality one that is built for the stresses of competition. I can make the counter arguement that SHE IS FOUR and no article of clothing for a four year old should cost $50.

$90 team sweatsuit - No excuses for this one, pure price gouging. What possible excuse could there be for a sweatsuit for little girls to cost $90? At least NONE of this girls have them.

I am pretty offended at the idea of having to pay all year long, and then have to BUY a ticket to see the recital in June. It also annoys me that I can't use my own camera to film it and have to buy the halfass DVD that you buy through the school. I've had video production training, this overpriced DVD is just plain ameture material. Bad production work, bad camera work. Again, Caleigh loves her video of the show, she's convinced she's a movie star now.

I have no idea what the fees will be for the competitions, but I'm sure it will be more than necessary. Did I mention that she's only four?

When I find out what the competition fees are, I'm sure I'll have something to say about it here. Stay tuned....


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