Flipping into summer
Flipping and field trips are both a part of Isothermal Gymnastics Academy's (IGA) annual summer camp.
The academy offers the camp every day during the summer for children ages 5-12. Perry Hughes, co-owner of the gym, says the camp is flexible and dynamic.
"It's a good service to the community. A big reason why we started it is because we know people need a fun, dynamic, healthy place for kids to be during the summer," Hughes said. "We love keeping kids active and fit."
Hughes said some children only come once or twice a week and some parents use the camp as childcare five days a week. The gym is open for the camp from 7:45 a.m.- 6 p.m.
"We've been doing camp for about six years and we started with eight kids. This year our average is 28 kids each day," Hughes said. "We know that not everybody needs five day a week care. So the more flexible we can be, the more we can offer the community."
Cost for camp is $27 a day, $35 for field trip days or $141 for a whole week. There is a $20 sibling discount if parents sign the children up for a week-long camp.
On Mondays, the children go to Rumbling Bald Resort for swimming and on Wednesdays they go on field trips to different places in the region. Trips have included Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park in Marion, the Western North Carolina Nature Center, Potbelly Acres Pig Rescue, Lucky Strike Gold and Gem Mine and Camp Lurecrest.
"The best part is the field trips," said camper Nathan Hoyle. "I liked the gem mining we did because I got to keep minerals and crystals."
On other days of the week, the campers do arts and crafts, play games and work puzzles, read books, learn basic gymnastics skills and have free time in the gym.
"They really love gym time," Hughes said. "They build forts and make obstacle courses. It's really high activity."
Academy staff split the campers into groups to play games and work on skills with bars, flips and rolls in the gym.
"I like all of camp. I get all of my energy out and my parents won't yell at me for doing flips in front of the television," camper Jennie Conner said.
"It's a time I can spend doing flips in the gym," camper Christine Thomas, said. "I get to do new skills and I like showing it to my parents. I like to do the bars and I can do pullovers and back hip circles."
Hughes said some of the youth who attend summer camp are already enrolled in gymnastics classes at the gym but others just come for the camp. Matthew Malone, 14, is a former camper who now volunteers as a camp leader.
"It's always been fun and I've always wanted to work here," Malone said. "I needed the volunteer hours and the kids seem to really like me."
The campers also love the other instructors and Hughes says it's because he encourages his staff to get involved with the children and engage with them during the day.
"We want them building relationships with the kids," Hughs said. "I think that kids long for adults to be involved with them and play and have fun. We have the adults right in the mix with the kids. I think that's why they (kids) have so much fun here."
Hughes said he only has three rules for his summer camp kids and the kids in his gymnastics classes; be safe, be kind and be respectful.
"We believe in having fun and being rowdy and we also believe kids need to have high expectations and a level of respect and discipline," Hughes said.
For more information about summer camp or IGA Center gymnastics classes visit http://igaadventurecenter.com or call 828-288-3547.