Jump Start Gymnastics teaches agility, strength and gymnastics
By Mary Flenner
Jump Start Gymnastics offers a variety of gymnastics classes for everyone from toddler ages to adult drop-in classes. “We have a pretty strong preschool program,” owner Maureen Eppich shares. “When the gym first opened, we focused on the ‘Mom and Me’ and preschool program and have expanded almost every year since.”
Maureen first opened Jump Start Gymnastics in 2004 at a location across the street from the current gym on Mercantile Road in Beachwood. She relocated to her current, larger space in 2014, where she almost doubled the number of students. She estimates that the peak enrollment was around 500–600 students.
“Gymnastics is such a broad base — you’ve got strength, flexibility, and coordination. It gives kids listening skills and social interaction. It’s a one stop place for all of that,” she says.
Her goal when starting Jump Start was to really focus on gymnastics that wasn’t diluted in dance or karate, and to build those skills that would help students no matter what other sports they played or where they went in life.
“I was really adamant about taking away labels like beginner, intermediate and advanced. Kids are labeled from the time they enter preschool and so it was important to me not to label them. I also didn’t want to test kids to see all the things they can do and how many checks they got. It’s as much for the students and for the parents.
When a new student comes for class, we assess them and place them by age and skillset level so that wherever they are starting from they are properly challenged.”
Today they have grown to also offer private lessons, open gyms, clinics, camps and more. Jump Start also has a competitive gymnastics team that goes up to level 8.
This spring they will introduce specialty clinics that focus on certain skills and areas such as handsprings, walkovers, acrobatics, and cheerleading tryout prep. Their new drop-in class options also offer a great choice to try out the gym and see how your child likes the class with no long-term commitment.
Jump Start adapted their protocols in 2020 to be as safe as possible. This includes required masks for gymnasts and coaches, temperature checks, parent drop-offs (for children over age 4), handwashing before, midway and after class and weekly deep cleanings of the gym.
Gymnasts also practice social distancing through the expansive 14,000 square-foot gym.
For example, if there are five gymnasts on floor, they are spaced out doing five different drills or activities, Eppich explained. They also cap each group size around eight gymnasts. “We have eight sets of bars, eight high beams, three medium beams and multiple low and floor beams, so there is plenty of space to spread out.”
“Parents last year were fabulous. If they even thought their kids may have a sniffle or allergies, they kept their kids home. Since June 1, 2020 we have only had one child who had to be asked to be taken home. The kindness and consideration from our parents has been great,” says Eppich.
“We haven’t had anyone that contracted COVID-19 here at the gym or who has been at the gym while they were contagious that we’ve been informed about,” she continues.
This summer, they will bring back their gymnastics camp which is available to kids ages 4–16 and runs from June 7 to August 13. Before- and after-care is also available.
“I love coaching because it’s not a job. I get to have fun all day long. I get to cheer for people. I’m always dealing with some type of success whether it’s a kid learning a new skill or learning a routine. It’s great to see what happens to these kids afterward. Watch them grow.”