instructor Marti Gangnes, who coaches about 10 to 12 girls in each of
her three classes.
Gangnes likes to use a technique she calls "teaching with
success." She breaks things down into little pieces so the girls can
succeed while they're learning.
There are many different reasons to join this class.
"Lily wanted to learn how to do cartwheels because her friends
were doing them and she didn't know how to so I signed her up for the
class," said Moujan Walkow, mother of 6-year-old Lily Walkow.
Mandy Tapfer and Callie Spooner, both 6, are best friends and
started taking the class when they were 4.
"Gymnastics is cool," Spooner said, while Tapfer added, "and it's
The girls start out learning the basics, like cartwheels and
flamingos across the low and high balance beams. They also learn to
perform bridges on the floor.
When they master the fundamentals the young gymnasts start
learning more advanced moves like cartwheels off the balance beam,
one-handed cartwheels, monkeys off the uneven parallel bars and
bridges into backhand springs.
At the end of the day the girls huddle in a circle with Gangnes,
close their eyes and picture what their favorite thing was that they
did during the day. After that they give themselves a big round of
applause for their success during the class.
Seven-year-old Kristen Wilder has been taking classes with Gangnes
for about a year now.
"I like it because it's fun and I learn a lot of stuff," Wilder
Gangnes teaches her students not only the fundamentals of
gymnastics, but also confidence and respect for one another.
"Coach Marti is really great with self-esteem," said Leslie
McInally, mother of 7-year-old Abby McInally.
Gangnes also has a mentoring program for the girls who have been
with her for a while. Annabel Pidgeon, 11, has been taking classes
with Gangnes for many years. Now she assists Gangnes in teaching the
classes for the 5- through 8-year-old girls.
Three classes are held every Thursday at Lincoln. There is a class
every 45 minutes starting at 1 p.m. Classes start at a beginning
level and increase in age and level as the day goes on.
Gangnes does wonders for these girls' self-image and even teaches
them some gymnastics along the way.
"Coach Marti is awesome," Moujan Walkow said.