We are the American Turners
A Sound Mind in a Sound Body
Turner is simply the German word for gymnast. More than two hundred years ago, on a field outside Berlin, Germany, Frederick Ludwig Jahn established the first system of gymnasiums for physical training, based the ancient principle of a sound mind and a sound body. Turner is simply the German word for gymnast. Jahn became known as the “Father of Modern Gymnastics” — introducing the parallel bars, vault, rings, high bar, and a precursor to the balance beam in competition. His students opened the first gymnasiums in the United States in the 1830s, while other American Turners helped to introduce physical education classes into the public schools in the late nineteenth century.
Today, the American Turners continue to promote that same principle. Although its roots are German, its membership is now diverse. With fifty societies in eleven districts, you’re likely to find a location close to you. Each society is unique and run by their own volunteer board of directors. They offer a wide array of sports programs — not just gymnastics, but softball, volleyball, dance, bowling, golf, and more. Social activities are important, too, and some clubs have restaurants and bars where members gather to share stories and the latest news.
As a national organization, we are here to offer assistance to these local clubs. We provide support through grants. We also host national competitions between Turner clubs, including our National Festival, one of America’s oldest continuing athletic events.
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