Craig resident opens school for gymnasts

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Kelly Davidson watched and learned as her daughter Heather worked her way through six skill levels of gymnastics in six years. Now she hopes to teach other youth in Craig the sport at which her daughter has excelled.

"I've been a coach for lots of summer recreation spo-rts," she said. "When the gymnastics team in Craig had to stop I wanted to provide it here and started looking for equipment and a building."

In December she found a place for a gym in one of her childhood hangouts -- the old skating rink. She named the gym, Gymstar Fun 'n Fit Gymnastics.

"The open floor from the skating rink is a great design for what we need," she said. "There's lots of room to expand, too, because right now were only using half the rink."

Expanding in numbers is also what Davidson would like to see happen. While she's happy with the enrollment of more than 50 after four months, growth is a priority.

"I would like to see our enrollment triple by this time next year," she said.

But growth isn't the top priority for the Gymstar program. In the fliers available for each class, there is at least one paragraph about the benefits of gymnastics for growing youth.

"Our specialty right now is the Tumble Bear program for the younger children (15-months-old to kindergarten)," Davidson said. "It is designed to help develop motor skills that will help them the rest of their lives."

With the help of Amanda Cutler, a Moffat County High School sophomore who has a background in gymnastics, Davidson is also developing a competitive team.

On March 6, members of the gym had their first showcase with the performances ranging from the Tumble Bears showing off somersaults to the more experienced gymnasts going through full routines.

"The most fulfilling thing for me so far has been watching the improvement of everybody," Davidson said.

Davidson is certified to coach through USA-Gymnastics, the Professional Development Program, and has her Kinder Accreditation for Teachers from USAG. But even with her certifications, Davidson knows with her minimal personal gymnastics experience, there are some limits for the business owner and coach.

"I've been involved for six years watching Heather," she said. "I am looking for an upper-level coach, though, because it would be nice to keep all levels here in Craig instead of having to go somewhere else once you get to a certain ability."

Currently she takes her daughter, Heather Jenkins, a level 7 gymnast (the levels go up to 10) to Steamboat Springs once a week to practice.

Other dreams Davidson has for Gymstar is to provide dancing, ballet and jazz opportunities.

"Craig has a lot of involvement in youth programs for boys," Davidson said. "I think there is enough interest here for a program that girls, as well as boys, can be a part of."

Enrollment for the gym is all year round. For more information call Davidson at 824-2282.

David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or dpressgrove@craigdailypress.com.

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