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    CYS gymnastics class teaches youngsters physical, social skills


    Photo By Chuck Cannon | One of the benefits of the Fort Polk Child and Youth Service’s gymnastics classes,...... read more read more



    Story by Chuck Cannon 

    Fort Polk Public Affairs Office

    FORT POLK, La. — Every four years, sports-minded patriotic Americans turn their eyes — and often, their hearts — toward the Olympic games. One of the more popular events — and the favorite of little girls and boys all across the country — is gymnastics.
    With their gazes glued to the television watching the tiny tumblers twisting and turning in hopes of earning elusive gold, these young fans often dream of the day when they might take their places on the podium and listen to “The Star Spangled Banner” as a medal is placed around their neck with its promise of fortune and glory.
    For most, realism eventually sets in and only a few reach the Olympic pinnacle. But that doesn’t stop the mighty mites from giving it a shot.
    Fort Polk’s Directorate of Family Morale, Welfare and Recreation’s Child and Youth Sports Program offers those who want to try their hand at gymnastics a variety of classes where participants can burn off a little energy while giving their moms a short break, and maybe, find out they have the skills to compete.
    Kayla Walker, program associate and gymnastics instructor for CYS, said gymnastics is a great way to help youngsters stay active.
    “It works on their coordination, agility and developmental skills,” she said. “It’s also a safe place to explore and take risks without getting hurt.”
    Walker explained.
    “If a child was to jump off of a chair or make a tumbling run at home, they might hurt themselves,” she said. “Here we have padded floors and supervision, and no sharp corners which means less chance of getting hurt.”
    Walker said she’s noticed those who participate in gymnastics seem to have more confidence in their physical abilities.
    “Their bodies are stronger and they usually have fewer injuries,” she said. “We offer them organized chaos.”
    Sgt. 1st Class Dennis and Mindi Bolelli have their daughter, Madison, 3, enrolled in the ages 3-5 gymnastic class. Mindi said the class has helped Madison with her socializing skills.
    “This has been a great experience for Madison,” she said. “They are being taught skills while having fun. They don’t even realize they are learning.”
    Mindi said she’s noticed improvement in Madison’s hand-eye coordination.
    “She’s ahead in her development,” she said. “As long as she likes it, we’ll keep her in it.”
    Capt. Richard and Savanna Nicholson have enrolled their daughter, Evelyn, 3, in the same class.
    “I homeschool our kids so this is her activity,” Savanna said. “Her sisters have their physical education activities, and this is Evelyn’s.”
    Savanna said Evelyn enjoys the class.
    “She’s always excited when I tell her it’s class time,” Savanna said. “It’s helped with her physical development and increased her strength. She climbs everything at home like a little monkey.”
    Layla Whiddon, 4, is another regular in the 3-5 year old class. Her mom, Leah, said this is just Layla’s second week of class.
    “I’m a stay-at-home mom, so this gives her an environment where she can work on physical development and social skills,” said Leah, whose spouse is Maj. Josh Whiddon.
    Leah said there are a couple of additional benefits to the class.
    “The gym is air conditioned which beats the summer heat, and Layla always takes a good nap afterwards,” she said.
    The CYS gymnastic schedule is as follows:
    • Parent and child gymnastics, ages 12 months to 3 years, Mondays at 10, 10:30 and 11 a.m., and Fridays at 5:30 p.m., $25 a month.
    • Preschool gymnastics, ages 3-5 years, Monday, Tuesday and Friday 4:30 p.m., and Wednesday 11 a.m., $35 a month.
    • School age gymnastics, ages 6-9 years, Mondays at 5:30 p.m. and Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m., $45 a month.
    • School age gymnastics, ages 10 and up, Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m., $55 a month.
    Classes are held in the Youth Gym, bldg 2070. Children must be registered with CYS. For more information call 531-6004.



    Date Taken: 04.12.2019
    Date Posted: 04.12.2019 09:56
    Story ID: 317882
    Location: FORT POLK, LA, US 

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