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Toddlers to teens learning sport at Douglas gym
by E. Marcel Pourtout
mpourtout@neighbornewspapers.com
July 23, 2014 05:16 PM | 1097 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Samantha M. Shal<br>Douglasville Gymnastics instructor Nikki Banks helps Jordan Griffin, 3, with his cartwheel.
Staff / Samantha M. Shal
Douglasville Gymnastics instructor Nikki Banks helps Jordan Griffin, 3, with his cartwheel.
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Staff / Samantha M. Shal<br>
Bri Cleary, 10, a level 8 competitive gymnast, works on her routine on the uneven bars at Douglasville Gymnastics.
Staff / Samantha M. Shal
Bri Cleary, 10, a level 8 competitive gymnast, works on her routine on the uneven bars at Douglasville Gymnastics.
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Staff / Samantha M. Shal<br>
Douglasville Gymnastics Preschool Director Ivy Lee helps Ellie Morris, 4, in the preschool class.
Staff / Samantha M. Shal
Douglasville Gymnastics Preschool Director Ivy Lee helps Ellie Morris, 4, in the preschool class.
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Staff / Samantha M. Shal<br>
Douglasville Gymnastics Recreational Program Director Allison Kimbro works with Hayden Glaze, 5, on her back handspring.
Staff / Samantha M. Shal
Douglasville Gymnastics Recreational Program Director Allison Kimbro works with Hayden Glaze, 5, on her back handspring.
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Staff / Samantha M. Shal<br>
Douglasville Gymnastics Preschool Director Ivy Lee works with Chengji Huff, 4,  in the preschool class.
Staff / Samantha M. Shal
Douglasville Gymnastics Preschool Director Ivy Lee works with Chengji Huff, 4, in the preschool class.
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Staff / Samantha M. Shal<br>
Douglasville Gymnastics Preschool Director Ivy Lee works with Jasmine Crowder, 3, in the preschool class.
Staff / Samantha M. Shal
Douglasville Gymnastics Preschool Director Ivy Lee works with Jasmine Crowder, 3, in the preschool class.
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Founded in 1987 by Paige Ethridge, Douglasville Gymnastics has been a center for young athletes in Douglas County to practice their crafts in various sports such as gymnastics, tumbling and competitive cheerleading.

The gym has nearly 1,000 athletes enrolled in programs ranging from 18-month old toddlers in classes with parents to elite teenage gymnasts up to the age of 18.

“The majority of people in our All-Star and competitive programs have come from our recreational classes which is the biggest part of the gym,” said recreational program director Allison Kimbro. “If we see talent or potential for an athlete to be on a competitive team, that’s what will be recommended.”

The gym, in addition to hosting competitive gymnasts, also has a cheerleading squad called Cheer Stars that competes throughout the state.

“Cheer Stars allows any cheerleader to come as they are,” said cheerleading coach Pam Bearden. “We invite all skill levels and different walks of life. Our classes are based on age and everyone should be work together no matter what the skill level is because it’s a team.”

Kimbro added that before anyone is allowed to participate in any activities, the athlete is evaluated and placed in an appropriate class.

The summer time has brought an increase in day camps which include training along with field trips for the younger campers. Competitive gymnasts will spend up to 18 hours a week at the gym during the summer period as well.

The facility, located off Bright Star Road, is over 13,000 square feet and has state-of-the-art equipment such as ground trampolines, loose foam and in-ground resin pits along with other amenities.

The coaches are also certified by USA Gymnastics and are a close-knit group of Douglas County natives such as Kimbro, who has been with the gym for 12 years, and Bearden, who enters her fifth year. Both are alumni of Alexander High School and are former students at the gym.

“Our gym is a family-oriented place where girls gain self confidence to do things they didn’t think was possible,” said Bearden. “They learn to work with others, [develop] leadership and apply those skills into life.”

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