Facility filled need for local gymnasts without a gym
After Glenwood Gymnastics Academy closed down in December, area gymnasts were stranded, left without a place to continue training. The options were simple. Travel to Grand Junction, like many of the gymnasts already did, or quit. That’s when Heidi Koch came to the rescue.”There was nothing going on after the Glenwood Gymnastics Academy closed, there was nothing for these kids, absolutely nothing,” Koch said. “If we weren’t here right now, they wouldn’t have a gym and so we just looked at it as an opportunity. We knew one would be closing down and the community wants it and there is obviously a need for it.”Glenwood Gymnastics Academy, which was located behind the old True Value building, was forced to close when the Re-1 School District proceeded with its expansion.Although it has only been open seven months, KidzPlex is now home to more than 150 gymnasts.Whether they are on the competitive team or just youngsters perfecting somersaults, KidzPlex has become a popular attraction for kids age 15 months to 18 years.”Not all of the kids in our program are going to grow up to be competitive gymnasts. Our goal is to offer a positive experience to every kid who does this sport,” Koch said. “If they do it for eight weeks and have a great time, then I have done my job. I have given them a positive experience and exposed them in a delightful way to the sport that I love and that I happen to think is the greatest sport in the world.” At any given time, the gym is home to several different activities. There are little kids on the bars at the same time the team competitors are practicing their floor routines. “To have a place like this when I was growing up -Oh, my God, I would have been in heaven. It’s like a dream,” Koch said. “It would have been perfect.”KidzPlex is also home to Kids Kamp, an 1112-hour-per-day, five-day-a-week child care program for kids 212 to 6, and a preschool. There are also four groups of kids that come in each week to recreationally learn the basics of gymnastics. A total of 35 kids make up both the preschool and camp while seven full-time employees staff all the facilities programs, in addition to a handful of help from high school gymnasts and Koch’s former gymnasts.Koch has experienced a lot of success in the past seven months, but for her, instructing local gymnasts and giving them a place to train is the best part.”It’s a good life and I get to do what I love,” Koch said. “I worked at a job where I didn’t love what I did and I wouldn’t trade this for anything.”
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