Cheer It Up

Cheer It Up's summer campers practice with vault bars, beams and tumbling tracks while building athletic and social skills. Participants include, front row from left: Caden Ryals, Bella Young, Kasen Parnell, Grayson Eaton, Kaelee Parnell, and Adalyn Lighthizer. Back row: Ava Davis, Willow Willis, Stella Bovos, Adley Rozell, Kynlee Nelson, Hayden Hendricks, and Jaelyn Warren

This week, Cheer It Up invited area youngsters to get active with its gymnastics summer camp.

The camp is designed to get newcomers interested in fully pursuing gymnastics and to keep more experienced students practicing throughout the summer.

"These summer camps are more fun than regular classes," said Alli Bracken, assistant manager. "It's important that they keep practicing over the summer because in gymnastics, we train all year round."

Bracken came to Cheer It Up during her time in college and has stayed for five years.

"I love seeing how the kids improve," said Bracken. "They get so excited when they accomplish something they haven't been able to."

Campers learn gymnastics with vault bars, beams and on tumbling tracks, building both athletic and social skills.

Stella Bovos, 8, has trained with Cheer It Up since age 3. According to Bracken, the young gymnast has "really come out of her shell."

"My favorite thing about gymnastics is having fun with the other girls on the team," said Bovos. "My goal is to be able to do backhand spacing all by myself."

This year, Cheer It Up's gymnastics team competed in Tulsa. Out of nine athletes, six placed in the top three, with two becoming all-around state champions.

"A lot of people don't know that we compete at state-level competitions," said Kimberly Eaton-Anderson, gymnastics coach. "Next year, we compete in the Amateur Athletic Union, which follows USA Gymnastics national rules."

The advanced team plans to increase training to 10 hours per week to prepare for the AAU competition in January. They compete in four categories: bars, beams, floor and vault.

Despite the upcoming competition, Cheer It Up encourages newcomers to try gymnastics.

"Our students develop life lessons and learn that if they fall down, then get up," said Eaton-Anderson. "It's also very good for their body development and building a healthy lifestyle."

The camp comes to an end on June 13, but both gymnastics and all-star cheer classes are available for preschool to advanced levels until Aug. 3.