BY SUSANA MARTINEZ
September 16th was National Gymnastics Day and El Centro’s Firestorm Gymnastics Training Center was abuzz with young gymnasts who were eager to spend their day learning new tricks with parents and playing with friends. The celebration also coincided with the center’s grand opening of their Ninja gymnastics course, a new addition to the gymnastic center that is sure to attract more young ones to the sport.
Firestorm Gymnastics has been in the Imperial Valley for more than 20 years, albeit under different names and different management in those previous years. It initially began when Imperial High School had a gymnastics team; the team eventually lost funding, but the coach opened the center in order to continue to teach gymnastics. Currently, Firestorm is under the ownership of Heather Cutlip, whose daughter Audrey is also a part of the program. Cutlip noticed how much her child enjoyed the sport, and when the time came when someone needed to take ownership of the facility, Cutlip rose to the occasion. She has been maintaining leadership over Firestorm for the past three years.
National Gymnastics Day at Firestorm is an every year event and has no shortage of participants when the time comes. Cutlip likes events like those the best because they’re not as structured as a typical class would be and the kids have a fun time run
ning around and playing with the equipment.
Kids are a major fan of the goings on at Firestorm, but adults get enjoy it too. The coaches, all USA Gym certified, have a great time working with the kids, as do the parents. This particular event encouraged parents to participate with their children in a few hands on exercises that got everyone up and moving, adhering to the purpose of National Gymnastics Day which is to encourage a healthy and active lifestyle through the sport. Saturday’s event included a class on how to learn how to do a cartwheel, an introduction to gymnastics class, an obstacle course race, and a handstand contest.
The event also coincided with the opening of Firestorm’s Ninja gymnastics program. The 4 month project was realized last Saturday. The Ninja gymnastics program is a new addition to the Firestorm curriculum that comes with new equipment that is sure to attract more patrons. The new equipment is molded after the obstacle courses seen on the hit television show American Ninja Warrior. Firestorm’s course was designed by American Ninja Warrior veteran Drew Drechsel, who had also signed the signature “Warp Wall”. The equipment is safety tested and suitable for child use.
The purpose of the new Ninja classes and equipment is to attract more boys to gymnastics. However, girls will be able to participate as well. Classes on the new equipment will begin on the 1st of October. As of now, there is a waiting list for the class, and only 30 children will be admitted, so be sure to sign up right away.