December 27, 2017
One day, while 12-year-old Laney Anderson was browsing YouTube videos, a new one popped up in her sidebar. The video featured gymnastics techniques: how to stretch, do different flips, handstands and kickovers, and perform routines.
Laney was hooked.
“Gymnastics is just a fun way to get active and it teaches you how your body can move and you can get flexible,” she said.
Gymnastics was something she was already doing at home, Laney’s mother, Katie, added.
“She’s always trying to do the splits and cartwheels or flips or back bends,” Katie said.
About the same time, Laney noticed a flyer for a gymnastics class at the Sanford Health Thief River Falls Wellness Center. She signed up as soon as she could.
“I thought that gymnastics class was amazing,” Laney said.
In class, instructor Kjelsy Stueber said students learned the basics of gymnastics on the floor and beam through fun, interactive games.
Laney learned all those moves and more. She loved Stueber and every minute of class.
“I got more flexible,” Laney said. “I wasn’t able to do any of my splits before, but now I can do my lefts and can just about do my middles. I still can’t do my rights, but I’ll get there some day.”
Stueber noticed her enthusiasm, too.
“You could tell Laney had a lot of love for the sport,” Stueber said. “She continuously challenged herself to perfect her skills and was always eager to learn new skills.”
Gymnastics classes at the Wellness Center start again in September. Laney is even more excited about it because this year, they’ll be held in the newly renovated space. What was once a clinic lobby area is now the new separate gymnastics room, with trampoline and foam pit, uneven bars, vault, climbing walls and ninja warrior obstacles. There are also windows for parents to watch their little ones tumble and flip around the room.
“It’s been neat to see it come together,” Katie said. “You can’t even tell it was once a clinic.”
Thanks to generous support for the Unite and Fight campaign, the renovated center is a new and improved destination for kids and young adults like Laney to have fun and get fit. Funds raised helped fill the facility with kid-friendly fitness and recreation equipment to encourage all ages to explore new activities, including gymnastics, and develop healthy, active habits that will last a lifetime.
To learn more about the Thief River Falls Wellness Center and how you can make a gift to the Youth Health and Wellness Fund, please call (218) 683-4105.