IM this article to a friend!

November 25, 2002

Gym is swinging sensation

From: Oakland County Press, MI - 25 Nov 2002

By LARA MOSSA , Of The Oakland Press

November 25, 2002
The Stars & Stripes Gymnastics Academy is rolling with nearly 700 students at the new business on Gateway Park Drive. Owners Cassie Nelson and Becky Foster opened the gymnastics clinic Sept. 9. The business offers programs for preschool through advanced gymnasts as well as competitive classes and individual lessons.

Since Foster has a degree in sign language, the clinic also offers training for deaf students.

Nelson and Foster met working at another gym and brought their ideas together to form the new academy.

Foster, 23, of Waterford Township trained as a gymnast through the eighth grade and has 10 years of coaching experience. She has a degree in sign language from Madonna University and coaches the Special Olympics gymnastics team in Waterford Township. Her husband, Brian, helps with the business.

Nelson, 20, of Waterford Township competed as a gymnast at Waterford Kettering High School and has five years of coaching experience. She has taken a break from classes at Oakland University to run the business.

Expecting to open with 80 students, Stars & Stripes enrolled close to 700 gymnasts since June. Four deaf students participate in the program.

"I want them to have the same opportunities as everybody else," Nelson said.

With 49 classes a week and private lessons on Sundays, the clinic has seven coaches. Children as young as 2 years old are eligible if parents come along for the Parent Tot class.

Other classes are broken into groups by ability and age levels for 31/2- to 5-year-old students, 41/2- to 7-year-old students and 8- to 14-year-old students. Students try out for pre-team, which is a training ground for competition, and the competitive team, which participates in five or six contests a year. The clinic also works with local high school teams and cheerleaders.

The sport builds strength, flexibility and self esteem, Foster said, adding that she enjoys teaching students new skills.

"We see their progression over the eight weeks. It's really nice to see that they're learning something," she said.

Stars & Stripes operates out of a new 6,500-square-foot gym with office space, a parents viewing room and activity area for birthday parties. Classes are broken into five, eight-week sessions and a six-week summer session. Prices range from $80 to $121 for eight weeks.

Name: Stars & Stripes Gymnastics Academy

Business: Gymnastics lessons

Owners: Cassie Nelson and Becky Foster

Address: 7152 Gateway Park Drive, Clarkston

Phone: (248) 625-FLIP (3547)


E-mail: Through Website

Office hours: 9:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Mondays-Fridays and 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays; Sundays by appointment.

©The Oakland Press 2002