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History of origin

The foundation of U-turn, Utrecht’s Gymnastics Association for Students

U-turn was founded in 2006 by Annette Wensink, Vera van der Sterren and Tjeerd Raijmakers. They formed the founding board and fulfilled the roles of president, secretary and treasurer respectively. The idea of creating a gymnastics association for students in Utrecht started in the spring of 2006, after which a couple of get-togethers were held in September to draw in potential members.

Fifteen people signed soon after the unofficial start of U-turn, which meant that the board had enough motivation to continue with their idea of founding their own association.

The main struggle during the initial startup period was attracting enough new members. To achieve this, a lot of fun activities and extra trainings were held (in addition to the now-cancelled hourly classes in Sportcentrum Olympos). The next issue was getting every bit of administration in order to actually set everything in motion. The cherry on top was finishing the official paperwork with the submission of the statutes on april 5th 2007. This day is remembered as the Dies Natalis of U-turn. After reaching a stable number of 25 members in the spring of 2007, U-turn was considered an association with an average member-count.

The first year was full of fun and excitement with lots of social activities. We also started to compete with the NSTB (Nederlandse Studenten Turn Bond) competitions. The number of members kept grewing in the fall of 2007, which meant that the organizing skills of the board improved. During spring 2008, U-turn was finally able to organize their first big national activity, the Funastics. This event full of workshops of many different sports and activities went smoothly and U-turn managed to get their own weekly training by the end of fall in 2008. Afterwards, the first U-turn camping trip was organized to celebrate the association with its members.

2010 was a special year for U-turn, as we managed to organize and host our first student gymnastics competition. After that, we also got to train in the, then newly created, gymnastics hall on the Grebbenberglaan near the city center. That gymnastics hall is still one of the nicest in all of the Netherlands at this very moment, and in 2012 we used it to organize and host our second student competition.

In the meantime, U-turn has grown to exceed 100 members and the number of trainings has been increased to three times a week. Each year we celebrate our birthday and we recently passed our 10-year-milestone in April of 2017.

In all of the great years that U-turn has existed, we have always had our loyal mascot at our sides. Everyone at U-turn knows her as Slettie Bettie (slutty Bettie). But where did our pink friend actually come from? Mignon explains it for us (roughly translated from dutch):

“The story begins in Limburg. The sister of U-tur member Anja gave gymnastics lessons at the time. One day the introduction of the pigs was made: “Every time you stick a perfect landing, you deserve a pig (you know, one of those Katja candy bags with the shape of a pig)

Anja and I moved to Utrecht, and of course we continued this tradition and it was met with a lot of enthusiasm. At every NSTC and NSK we made sure there were always enough bags of this delicious candy.. and you could sometimes also earn one even when your landing wasn’t as great. These pigs spread across the hall, across many different gymnastics associations, which eventually led to our mascot which the board of U-turn gave a gender and a name.”

U-turn me on!