A perfect 10: Strong enrollment leads to new studio

April 2012 Posted in Community, School

By Omie DrawhornGymnastics instructor Megan Bonham works with students on the mats to increase flexibility.

When Megan Bonham and her husband Douglas Bonham started Silverton Gymnastics three months ago, they had a goal of enrolling 90 students in the first year. They did it in the first two weeks.

With their mobile gymnastics program, the Bonhams rent space in local schools and the Silverton Community Center to teach three different levels of gymnastics to students from 18 months old to teenagers.

Current sites include St. Mary’s School, Bethany Charter School, Victor Point Elementary, Central Howell School, Community Roots Charter School, Bright Beginnings Child Development Center, Providence Benedictine Childcare Center, Abiqua Childcare Center and Silverton Christian School.

Now the two are opening up their own studio space at 303 S. James Street behind Almquist Studios in Silverton. The facility will open April 3 with an opening celebration set for April 14, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Alica Sjolander, 11 and Haven Seltmann, 11, showed up to class early at the Silverton Community Center recently to practice and hang out before class started.

Silverton Gymnastics
303 S. James St.
Opening celebration
Saturday, April 14
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The two had been practicing on their own before enrolling in their first gymnastics class. They haven’t looked back since.

Sjolander said class is challenging, but with practice, anything is attainable.

“If you practice, then you can do it,” she said.

She said she was recently able to do a back walk over her grandfather’s couch.

Sjolander, Seltmann and other students bounce around on the mats before class starts, working on splits and backbends.

Bella Jensen, 11, said she started gymnastics to improve stretching and flexibility and to try something new.

Once the studio opens, Bonham says 70 percent of classes will move over to the studio and four more classes will be added.

Classes include an all-boys class. She has also started working on tumbling with the Silverton High School Cheer Team and is going through developmental training to work with gymnasts, preparing them for competition.

Bonham’s passion for gymnastics started at the age of 7 or 8. She had to quit for a while but returned as a coach in high school and college.

“I learned the business side of it and I really loved it,” she said. “I love getting to know the kids, excitement and fire when they develop skill; it’s neat to see that drive that comes from that.”

She said judging from the interest in the classes she currently offers, many parents will be happy to know that there is a gymnastics studio in Silverton.

“The last gymnastics studio was in Silverton over 20 years ago,” she said.

Many parents have driven their children to classes in Salem, but it’s such a drive many have had to quit, Bonham said.

Bonham said she recommends gymnastics for “anybody and everybody.”

“You can flip over your head and you won’t get in trouble from your mom or dad,” she said.

It also is a way to improve flexibility, physical fitness, coordination, and gross motor skills required for the wide range of movements.

Students can also meet new people and develop new friendships. Bonham said her classes have become really cohesive and encouraging, and students cheer each other on.

The Bonhams are originally from California and moved to Silverton two years ago. Doug is a fifth and sixth grade teacher, as well as basketball coach at Bethany Charter School.

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