Kilynne Jordan, 5, of Parris Island, practices balancing on a beam during her gymnastics class on Tuesday, Aug. 30, at Sports Academy Gymnastics in Beaufort. Jordan has been attending classes at the gym for almost a year and has really loved learning how to do hand stands. The gym will be hosting a Family Fun Day for the community from noon to 3 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 17, which also happens to be National Gymnastics Day. Delayna Earley/The Island News

Trying to bring community together


Sports Academy puts together event for kids

By Mike McCombs

The Sports Academy, a place where gymnasts of all ages and skill levels have trained for 27 years, since the gym opened in 1995, is hosting a Family Fun Day on Saturday, Sept. 17 from noon to 3 p.m.

And believe it or not, the fact the event falls on National Gymnastics Day wasn’t intentional.

“We were just thinking about how after COVID, we couldn’t get the community together for anything …” Sports Academy Administrative Director and coach Madison Hoffer said. “We said, ‘let’s get everybody together regardless of experience or interest in gymnastics. We have the space for it and nobody really knows we’re out here.’ … We really just thought of something to get people together after COVID and with school starting. … It’s just a way to get people together and to let them know that we’re here.”

The event will feature food trucks (Mother Smokin’ Good and Sassy Sweets), games, exhibition performances, bouncy houses, raffles, a dunk tank and more.

The event is free to attend and many activities are free, but some, like the dunk tank require tickets, which are $1 each.

There will be contests for adults, as well, like a handstand competition. And there will be additional vendors.

The Sports Academy has more than 300 kids enrolled in classes – gymnastics, recreational or competitive, and gym warriors, which is more focused on boys and entails a bit of martial arts. In addition, the business also offers birthday parties and Parents Night Out, a popular child care option from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturdays that gives parents some free time while their kids, 5 and older, can watch movies, play volleyball, play hide and seek, run obstacle courses, eat pizza and play games.

“It’s not gymastics,” Hoffer said, “and the kids don’t have to be members.”

Sports Academy’s owner and head coach, David Kirkwood, said times were a little tough during the peak of the pandemic, especially given social distancing rules, but they stuck it out and are again thriving and retained just about all of their staff.

In addition to Kirkwood and Hoffer, Brooke Henderson, also a competitive coach, make up the competitive gymnastics staff. In addition, the Academy has seven more coaches and three or four junior coaches, former or current competitive gymnasts younger than 18 who are training to be coaches.

When asked what it would take for her to consider Family Fun Day a success, Hoffer said, “participation and no rain.”

“This is just something to get the community together,  something fun for kids,” Hoffer said. “Because everybody knows in Beaufort, there’s not a lot to do for kids.”

Video: For a brief video from the Sports Academy, visit https://youtu.be/o51hOE8mqys

Want to go?

What: Sports Academy’s Family Fun Day

When: Noon to 3 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 17

Where: Sports Academy, 20 Maxine Lane, Beaufort.

More information: Featuring games, activities, performances, bounce houses and more on National Gymnastics Day. Food trucks Mother Smokin’ Good and Sassy Sweets will be there. Visit www.sportsacademygym.com for more information.

Mike McCombs is the Editor of The Island News and can be reached at TheIslandNews@gmail.com.

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