By Rochelle Karina
Gymnastics have always been a popular activity, providing children with discipline and athletic training. In summer 2008, Severna Park Gymnastics was born. A local gym had closed, and the kids were missing their gymnastics classes. Then the folks at Patterson Physical Therapy saw an opportunity to provide a fun, enjoyable program. Courtney Parfitt, Director of Wellness at Patterson, took up the reins as Director of Severna Park Gymnastics.
The popular programs run out of the Community Center. The center was a huge portion of why we got started, explained Parfitt. They came to us and offered help. They were instrumental in getting the word out and everything. Classes are available for children as young as 12 months, and continue up to 18 years. They strive to keep a low student-to-teacher ratio and offer a variety of different programs, including a parent/child class where parents help spot, lead and encourage their tots to swing, tumble and balance. Other classes include grade-level groups designed to build skills in a fun environment and team classes designed to challenge children to master routines and improve artistic performance without the pressure of formal competition. There are even classes just for boys.
The point is to provide one-on-one attention, said Parfitt. All of our programming is individualized. We took the Patterson quality and applied it to the gymnastics program. Each child is an individual. Programs are balanced to provide interest to those just looking for a fun experience, to those striving for competition. Our teachers are passionate about what they do. Theyre excited about the kids.
But its not just about physical fitness and fun. We use gynmnastics as a medium to teach life skills, explained Parfitt. Kids gain confidence and inspiration to stay on track. They learn discipline, and how to be in a class environment and gain a team attitude.
Severna Park Gymnastics is no stranger to the community; they have close ties with the Arthritis Foundation, and in 2009, took several students to a foundation fund raiser where the speaker was Olympic Gymnast Mary Lou Retton. They also support local school fund raisers and events.
The thing I love about this community is that they are willing to give, says Parfitt. The parents want to help. They ask if they can take cards and spread the word, raise money for equipment. Severna Park is one of the most giving communities I have ever been a part of.
The most exciting news, of course, is their new location.
Thanks to the support of the community, and the center, we are opening a second location in Arnold this fall, Parfitt explained. Were taking our three days of programming per week to six!
The instructor roster at SP Gymnastics is an impressive list, led by Broadneck High graduate Parfitt, it includes a former level 10 gymnast and a former Docksiders competitive gymnast. Registration for fall sessions is currently open and more information can be found on their website at www.severnaparkgymnastics.com, or by emailing Parfitt at Courtney@severnaparkgymnastics.com.