I wanted to take a few moments to explain how the sport of gymnastics helped me become the person I am today. Everyone knows about gymnastics but not everyone fully understands the benefits of it. I started in it when I was 3 years old. To begin with, it was something my parents wanted me to do because it burned off some of my energy and helped improve my coordination, confidence and strength.

One of my youngest memories was at a park and I was either 6 or 7 years old and someone started yelling at me because I was climbing up high in a tree. You know, being the monkey I was at gymnastics. I then remember this lady starting to yelling at my mom. My mom’s confidence in me and my ability and confidence to climb the tree was because of gymnastics – which was not this other person’s experience.

Another story that my Grandma, Naomi, would tell me was when we went for a family bike trip. I was only 4 or 5 years old at the time and I was in one of these bike carriages that is towed behind the bike. We hit some soft sand going full speed, my grandma at the helm. She yelled, “we are going to crash.” We went over the edge of the trail and down a hill and both flew into the air. I was told by my mom that she watched me and my grandma fly and then do a forward roll and we both stood up. No injuries at all and we were able to just keep going. To this day, my grandma is convinced the only reason neither of us were injured was because I was taught to roll out of crashes, at gymnastics, and then taught her to do the same.

Over time, I moved passed the recreational gymnastics classes and started to do competitive gymnastics. I can’t tell you the number of times I crashed or failed to do something, just to get back up and do it again. The determination, mental toughness and perseverance that taught me, I have used my whole life. From school, to other sports, to opening Kids First Gymnastics.

Sometimes I wish everything would go right the first time but that isn’t how life works. We try something, learn what didn’t work or how to improve it and try again. I learned to take responsibility for my own actions, not to have excuses or to just give up when things don’t work right the 1st, 2nd, or 100th time, but there are so many times I wanted to.

Beyond just the mental side of what gymnastics did for me, it made me strong and coordinated. Once I retired from the sport, I quickly picked up competitive diving and competitive baseball. While I didn’t have the experience as some of the other people on the team, my physical and mental training from gymnastics allowed me to quickly be one of the top athletes on the team. Until the coaches I worked with, didn’t monitor or handle injuries, specifically from overuse. Ending my athletic carrier until I became an adult and got into body building.

The reason I wanted to share some of these life experiences with you is because of how much gymnastics positively impacted me and my family. This is why I love the sport of gymnastics and use it as the medium to help develop kids for the future. Those are the reasons I opened Kids First and regardless of where your kids may do gymnastics, just having them in the sport is enough for me. If you haven’t looked into getting your kids into gymnastics, please check out your local gymnastics places and try it out!