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By: Skyler Memmel, Central Michigan University Gymnast
As a child, I always had the dream of becoming a collegiate gymnast and I’m proud to say that my dream came true. I am a senior on the gymnastics team at Central Michigan University and I am so thankful to have had this opportunity. I have learned many life skills through the sport of gymnastics which have heightened since the time I became a freshman at CMU. Aside from the many benefits that come along with being a student athlete, the gymnastics team does a little something extra. We have a gymnastics school program that gives our team the opportunity to become coaches to kids around the Mount Pleasant area.
Central Michigan University runs a program called Gymnastics School that is available for kids from ages four to thirteen. As a member of the CMU gymnastics team, I am one of the coaches along with each and every one of my teammates. Over the years, the program continued to grow so much that there became a demand to hire coaches beyond the gymnastics team. It has been an amazing way to get the community of Mount Pleasant involved, especially in the sport of gymnastics. I believe that there is no better sport than gymnastics that teaches fundamentals, spatial awareness, strength, coordination, flexibility, and many other skills along with having fun.
Classes run two hours a night, Monday through Thursday for both semesters of the academic school year. Teaching Gym School has been a great experience and it has brought me back to the days when I was just a little gymnast who fell in love with the sport of gymnastics. I remember one day, I was looking up to the big girls and wanted to be just like them, and now roles have switched and I am that big girl.
Teaching these young girls and boys every week allows us to take a step back and remember why we fell in love with the sport in the first place, and that is my favorite part about it. Knowing that these kids are our biggest fans and come to every home meet we have at CMU to cheer us on, is such a rewarding feeling. It also allows a sense of self evaluation about if we are being the role models we intend to be for these kids.
This program has allowed us coaches to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. It has been exciting to see the kids grow through the years in the program as well as experience the excitement of new kids enrolled on their first day of gymnastics class.